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Federal Government Kicks-Off Review of Broadcasting and Telecom Polices

Federal Government Kicks-Off Review of Broadcasting and Telecom Polices

June 5, 2018

The federal government today launched a review of the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act.

The review will update and modernize the legislative framework in a balanced way that takes into account the realities of Canadian consumers and businesses, and our artists, artisans and broadcasters without increasing the cost of services to Canadians.

The review will also address how to best promote competition and affordability for internet and mobile wireless.

It will examine how to best support the creation, production and distribution of Canadian content in both French and English—and focus on updating and modernizing the broadcasting system by exploring how all players are reflected within it and can contribute to it.

The panel of external experts includes:

  • Janet Yale (President and CEO of The Arthritis Society)
  • Peter S. Grant (Counsel and past Chair of the Technology, Communications and Intellectual Property Group at law firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP)
  • Hank Intven (Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria)
  • Marina Pavlovic (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law and member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa)
  • Monique Simard (Chair of the Board of the Quebecor Fund)
  • Monica Song (head of Denton’s Communications Law group)
  • Pierre Trudel (law professor at the Université de Montréal)

Some priorities and questions to be addressed by the review include:

1. Universal Access and Deployment

1.1 Are the right legislative tools in place to further the objective of affordable high quality access for all Canadians, including those in rural, remote and Indigenous communities?

1.2 Given the importance of passive infrastructure for network deployment and the expected growth of 5G wireless, are the right provisions in place for governance of these assets?

2.Competition, Innovation, and Affordability

2.1 Are legislative changes warranted to better promote competition, innovation, and affordability?

3. Net Neutrality

3.1 Are current legislative provisions well-positioned to protect net neutrality principles in the future?

4. Consumer Protection, Rights, and Accessibility

4.1 Are further improvements pertaining to consumer protection, rights, and accessibility required in legislation?

5. Safety, security and privacy

5.1 Keeping in mind the broader legislative framework, to what extent should the concepts of safety and security be included in the Telecommunications Act/Radiocommunication Act?

6. Effective Spectrum Regulation

6.1 Are the right legislative tools in place to balance the need for flexibility to rapidly introduce new wireless technologies with the need to ensure devices can be used safely, securely, and free of interference?

7. Governance and Effective Administration

7.1 Is the current allocation of responsibilities among the CRTC and other government departments appropriate in the modern context and able to support competition in the telecommunications market?

7.2 Does the legislation strike the right balance between enabling government to set overall policy direction while maintaining regulatory independence in an efficient and effective way?

8. Broadcasting definitions

8.1 How can the concept of broadcasting remain relevant in an open and shifting communications landscape?

8.2 How can legislation promote access to Canadian voices on the Internet, in both official languages, and on all platforms?

9. Broadcasting Policy Objectives

9.1 How can the objectives of the Broadcasting Act be adapted to ensure that they are relevant in today’s more open, global, and competitive environment?

9.2 Should certain objectives be prioritized? If so, which ones? What should be added?

9.3 What might a new approach to achieving the Act’s policy objectives in a modern legislative context look like?

10. Support for Canadian Content and Creative Industries

10.1 How can we ensure that Canadian and non-Canadian online players play a role in supporting the creation, production, and distribution of Canadian content?

10.2 How can the CRTC be empowered to implement and regulate according to a modernized Broadcasting Act in order to protect, support, and promote our culture in both official languages?

10.3 How should legislative tools ensure the availability of Canadian content on the different types of platforms and devices that Canadians use to access content?

11. Democracy, News, and Citizenship

11.1 Are current legislative provisions sufficient to ensure the provision of trusted, accurate, and quality news and information?

11.2 Are there specific changes that should be made to legislation to ensure the continuing viability of local news?

12. Cultural Diversity

12.1 How can the principle of cultural diversity be addressed in a modern legislative context

13. National Public Broadcaster

13.1 How should the mandate of the national public broadcaster be updated in light of the more open, global, and competitive communications environment?

13.2 Through what mechanisms can government enhance the independence and stability of CBC/Radio-Canada?

13.3 How can CBC/Radio-Canada play a role as a leader among cultural and news organizations and in showcasing Canadian content, including local news?

13.4 How can CBC/Radio-Canada promote Canadian culture and voices to the world, including on the Internet?

13.5 How can CBC/Radio-Canada contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and the telling of Indigenous stories by Indigenous Peoples?

13.6 How can CBC/Radio-Canada support and protect the vitality of Canada’s official languages and official language minority communities?

14. Governance and Effective Administration

14.1 Does the Broadcasting Act strike the right balance between enabling government to set overall policy direction while maintaining regulatory independence in an efficient and effective way?

14.2 What is the appropriate level of government oversight of CRTC broadcasting licencing and policy decisions?

14.3 How can a modernized Broadcasting Act improve the functioning and efficiency of the CRTC and the regulatory framework?

14.4 Are there tools that the CRTC does not have in the Broadcasting Act that it should?

14.5 How can accountability and transparency in the availability and discovery of digital cultural content be enabled, notably with access to local content?

Government of Canada launches review of Telecommunications and Broadcasting Acts

OTTAWAJune 5, 2018 – New technology, like streaming services, has changed the way that Canadians connect with each other, do business and discover, access and consume content. Now more than ever, Canadians go online. To keep up with these changes we must modernize our legislative framework so that Canadian artists, artisans, businesses, consumers and broadcasters can adapt and thrive in a changing environment.

As committed to in Budget 2017, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced the launch of a review of the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act. The Radiocommunication Act will also be reviewed.

The review will update and modernize the legislative framework in a balanced way that takes into account the realities of Canadian consumers and businesses, and our artists, artisans and broadcasters without increasing the cost of services to Canadians.

The review will also address how to best promote competition and affordability for internet and mobile wireless.

It will examine how to best support the creation, production and distribution of Canadian content in both French and English—and focus on updating and modernizing the broadcasting system by exploring how all players are reflected within it and can contribute to it.

As a response to a unanimously passed motion in the House of Commons, the review will be guided by the principle of net neutrality and will explore opportunities to further enshrine in legislation the principles of net neutrality in the provision and carriage of all telecommunications services.

The review will be led by a panel of external experts and will be chaired by Janet Yale. Ms. Yale currently serves as president and CEO of The Arthritis Society. She has a long history in the communications sector, having previously served as executive vice president at TELUS and the president and CEO of the Canadian Cable Television Association. Ms. Yale also served as a Director General at the CRTC and as General Counsel at the Consumers Association of Canada. She is recognized as a leader in the not-for-profit sector, and currently serves on the boards of Samara, the Ottawa Art Gallery and Business for the Arts.

The panel is also composed of:

Mr. Peter S. Grant, who is Counsel and past Chair of the Technology, Communications and Intellectual Property Group at law firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto. He is considered a pioneer in the field of communications law in Canada. His practice touches all areas of communications law – broadcasting and cable television, satellite services, copyright, mass media and press law, cultural industries and telecommunications.

Mr. Hank Intven, who is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria in the areas of telecommunications, broadcasting and Internet law. For more than 30 years, he has been recognized as a leading advisor to business, governments and regulators in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries.

MsMarina Pavlovic, who joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in July 2007 as an Assistant Professor. She is a member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the university. She is an expert in dispute resolution, access to justice, conflict of laws, consumer protection, comparative law, and technology regulation and policy.

Ms. Monique Simard, who has a long and distinguished track record in the cultural industries. She was President and CEO of the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) from 2014 to 2018 and was previously Director General of the National Film Board of Canada’s French Program. In April 2018, she was appointed as Chair of the Board of the Quebecor Fund.

Ms. Monica Song, who is the head of Denton’s Communications Law group. She has nearly 20 years of experience as a leading Canadian lawyer in telecommunications and broadcasting, with in-depth knowledge of the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Mr.Pierre Trudel, who is a law professor at the Université de Montréal. He has also been a guest lecturer at Université Laval (Québec City), at Université de Paris II (Panthéon-Assas) and at Université de Namur (Belgium). From 1986 to 1988, he was the research director for the working group commissioned by the federal government to look at broadcasting policies.

The panel is expected to engage with the industry, creators, and Canadians—including those from Indigenous and official-language minority communities—in order to ensure that Canada’s communications legislation takes full advantage of the benefits that the digital age brings to our country. The Government looks forward to receiving the Panel’s final report and recommendations by January 31, 2020.

For more information, see the www.canada.ca/broadcasting-telecom-review for the review. Further updates on process will be available in the coming weeks.

Quotes

“In Budget 2017, we committed to reviewing Canada’s communications legislation. Today we are delivering on that commitment. We want to ensure that our laws keep pace with Canada’s rapidly evolving telecommunications landscape so that Canadians can continue to receive world-class services. The review will consider whether changes need to be made to support affordability and availability. The panel will also examine how to build on Canada’s existing net neutrality framework to ensure that all Canadians continue to benefit from an open and innovative Internet.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“The Broadcasting Act has always been one of the most important tools we have to protect and promote our culture and our diversity. This review will help us fulfill our commitments in Creative Canada to invest in our artists and artisans, promote Canadian content at home and globally, and strengthen our national public broadcaster. The principle guiding this review is clear: if you profit, you contribute—there is no free ride. We look forward to hearing from the panel on how we can best achieve these goals.
– The Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Quick facts

  • The Canadian communications industry generated revenues of $66.6 billion in 2016 ($48.7 billion for telecommunications and $17.9 billion for broadcasting).
  • Canadian households spent an average of $223 every month on communications services in 2016.
  • A 2017 study revealed that cellphone plan rates for Canadians are much more affordable in regions with aggressive competition.
  • In September 2017, the Government announced its vision for Canada’s cultural and creative industries in a digital world, built on three pillars:
    • Invest in our creators and cultural entrepreneurs.
    • Promote discovery and distribution of Canadian content at home and abroad.
    • Strengthen public broadcasting and support local news.

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(Via Canadian Heritage)

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