The federal broadcast regulator says cable and satellite companies must give their customers the option of subscribing to any Canadian news service they want, either in bundles or a la carte, no later than next spring.
Thursday's announcement by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission means upstart news services such as Sun News Network must be available to all cable and satellite subscribers by May 18, 2014.
The move comes after the CRTC last summer rejected Sun News Network's bid for mandatory-carriage status, which would have forced cable and satellite companies to carry it on all basic digital and analog services.
However, in doing so the regulator acknowledged there are significant obstacles facing newly launched news services.
The CRTC also said at the time that it would review the framework for national news services in the same category as Sun News Network, including CBC News Network and CTV News Channel.
Sun News had described mandatory carriage as do-or-die for the news channel owned by media giant Quebecor.