Canada Competition Bureau

CRTC Devises New Plan To Create, Connect, And Protect

April 6, 2016 - Written By Cory McNutt

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an “administrative tribunal within the Government of Canada that is responsible for regulating and supervising Canada’s communication system in the public interest.”  They developed this new rolling three-year plan to provide Canadians and businesses with information on what to prepare for down the road. The CRTC is well aware that the communications environment is constantly changing and are prepared to modify their plan if the need arises.  The real heart of their mandate is to serve the public interest by putting Canadians first in their decisions concerning communication issues – they are the ‘watchdog’ so to speak.  Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman, CRTC said in the posting, “The CRTC wants to put Canadians at the center of their communication system. And that means making their voices heard and their opinions known.”

Their three principal objects for creating content on a variety of platforms are – Quality Canadian Content, Diverse Canadian Content, and Compelling Canadian Content.  Another main concern of the CRTC is that all Canadians can have the choice to connect to an innovative, quality, and affordable communications service provider.  They monitor and protect the users by protecting them from unsolicited calls, and they promote and enforce laws and regulations.  The CRTC is constantly developing new policies, approving mergers or changes in ownership, renewing broadcast licensing and resolving disputes.  They also reach out to inform Canadians about their rights and respond to inquiries and complaints.  They monitor and report on the state of the Canadian communication’s industry and ensure that legislation, regulations, and policies are being adhered to and handle corrective actions.

One of their most important endeavors is the CRTC Wireless Code of Conduct (WCOC), created in 2013 to allow customers to be more informed concerning their rights and obligations found in their contracts. The WCOC has since mandated industry-wide changes, such as the requirement to inform a subscriber if they are starting to incur extra fees for roaming or data usage or going over $50 in extra fees.  A recent Marketplace study showed that even though overall complaints are decreasing, it also discovered that minors or non-account users were able to okay the text for added fees.  The CRTC does not specifically address that issue in this plan – however, it plans to issue a new, updated Wireless Code in the next year to address concerns of the consumers. Digital privacy and the Wireless Public Alerting System are other concerns that should be addressed in the upcoming Code.