While at the turn of the century much BBC programming was already available in Canada on both over-the-air and specialty channels, there remained a substantial catalogue of attractive programming in the BBC inventory that was not being seen here. In November 2000, Alliance Atlantis was licensed by the CRTC to launch BBC Canada, which it did in 2001. The channel was to be restricted to BBC material not already under licence in Canada, there were to be no newscasts (BBC World already being available in Canada), and a further condition was that some Canadian material had to be included in the schedule. This was defined in the CRTC’s decision as “complementary Canadian programs that explore or are informed by Canada’s relationship to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth”.
CanWest Media Networks acquired Alliance Atlantis in December 2007, and with it ownership of BBC Canada.
New seasons for returning series for 2009-2010 included Robin Hood, Hustle, Hotel Babylon and Ashes to Ashes.
On October 27, 2010, Shaw Communications took control of Canwest Global Communications Corp. This followed the bankruptcy of Canwest Global in 2009. In early April of 2016, Corus Entertainment completed its $2.65 billion acquisition of Shaw Media. Corus now had 45 specialty TV services, 15 conventional TV channels, 39 radio stations, a global content business, and a portfolio of digital assets.
BBC Canada began airing in HD in October of 2016. Much of the programming on the channel was from the BBC, but not all of it.
Because BBC World News was widely available in this country, BBC Canada did not carry any BBC News programming. Ownership of the channel had Corus holding 80% with BBC Studios holding the other 20%.
On December 31, 2020, BBC Canada ceased operation. Blue Ant Media’s HIFI channel was rebranded March 16, 2021 as BBC First. It picked up a number of programs that had aired on BBC Canada.