Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on a Renewed Approach to Telecommunications Policy
P.C. 2023-110 2023-02-09
Whereas the Governor in Council, in 2006, issued to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission an order entitled Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on Implementing the Canadian Telecommunications Policy ObjectivesFootnote a (the “2006 Direction”);
Return to footnote aSOR/2006-355
Whereas the Governor in Council, in 2019, issued to that Commission an order entitled Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on Implementing the Canadian Telecommunications Policy Objectives to Promote Competition, Affordability, Consumer Interests and InnovationFootnote b, one of the purposes of which was to guide the Commission on how the 2006 Direction is to be implemented;
Return to footnote bSOR/2019-227
Whereas the telecommunications market and its regulation have changed since 2019 and the Governor in Council is of the opinion that new directions should be issued to the Commission as a result of those changes;
Whereas, under subsection 10(1) of the Telecommunications ActFootnote c, the Minister of Industry had a copy of the proposed Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on a Renewed Approach to Telecommunications Policy, published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on June 4, 2022, substantially in the annexed form, and a reasonable opportunity was given to interested persons to make representations to the Minister with respect to the proposed Order;
Return to footnote cS.C. 1993, c. 38
Whereas, under subsection 10(1) of that Act, the Minister laid the proposed Order before each House of Parliament and 40 sitting days of Parliament have elapsed since the proposed Order was tabled in both Houses;
Whereas, under subsection 10(2) of that Act, the Minister consulted the Commission with respect to the proposed Order before it was published and laid and consulted the Commission again with respect to the proposed order in its definitive form;
And whereas, under section 13 of that Act, the Minister, before making a recommendation to the Governor in Council for the purposes of this Order, notified the minister designated by the government of each province of the Minister’s intention to make the recommendation and provided an opportunity for each of them to consult with the Minister;
Therefore, Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry makes the annexed Order Issuing a Direction to the CRTC on a Renewed Approach to Telecommunications Policy under section 8 of the Telecommunications ActFootnote c.
Direction and Key Objectives
1 In exercising its powers and performing its duties under the Telecommunications Act, the Commission must implement the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives set out in section 7 of that Act in accordance with this Order.
Marginal note:Key objectives
2 The Commission should consider how its decisions would promote competition, affordability, consumer interests and innovation, in particular the extent to which they would
(a) encourage all forms of competition and investment;
(b) foster affordability and lower prices, particularly when telecommunications service providers exercise market power;
(c) ensure that affordable access to high-quality, reliable and resilient telecommunications services is available in all regions of Canada, including rural areas, remote areas and Indigenous communities;
(d) enhance and protect the rights of consumers in their relationships with telecommunications service providers, including rights related to accessibility;
(e) reduce barriers to entry into the market and to competition for telecommunications service providers that are new, regional or smaller than the incumbent national service providers;
(f) enable innovation in telecommunications services, including new technologies and differentiated service offerings; and
(g) stimulate investment in research and development and in other intangible assets that support the offer and provision of telecommunications services.
Principles of Effective Regulation
Marginal note:Transparency, predictability and coherence
3 The Commission should ensure that its proceedings and decisions are transparent, predictable and coherent.
Marginal note:Efficiency and proportionality
4 The Commission should ensure that the measures that it imposes through its decisions are efficient and proportionate to their purpose.
Marginal note:Market monitoring, research and strategic foresight
5 The Commission should further develop strong and timely market monitoring, research and strategic foresight skills and use the results that it obtains from these activities in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties.
Marginal note:Decisions based on sound and recent evidence
6 The Commission should base its decisions on sound and recent evidence and should exercise its powers to obtain necessary evidence.
Marginal note:Timely proceedings and decisions
7 The Commission should conduct proceedings and issue decisions in a timely manner, in recognition of the need for market clarity. The Commission should consider whether adopting new processes or engaging external experts would help reach this objective.
Marginal note:Decisions of an economic nature
8 In making decisions of an economic nature, the Commission should balance, in addition to any other objectives that the Commission considers relevant in the circumstances, the objectives of
(a) fostering competition;
(b) promoting investment in high-quality networks;
(c) improving consumer choice;
(d) supporting the provision of innovative services; and
(e) encouraging the provision of services at reasonable prices for consumers.
Considerations for Fixed Internet Competition
Marginal note:Regulatory framework
9 In order to foster fixed Internet competition that is sufficient to protect the interests of users, the Commission must
(a) maintain a regulatory framework mandating the provision — at just and reasonable rates — of wholesale services for fixed Internet;
(b) monitor the effectiveness of the framework; and
(c) adjust the framework as necessary and in a timely manner, including by making proactive adjustments.
Marginal note:Aggregated wholesale high-speed access service
10 The Commission must mandate the provision of an aggregated wholesale high-speed access service — that is additional to any other types of wholesale high-speed access services that are mandated — until it determines that broad, sustainable and meaningful competition will persist even if the provision of an aggregated service is no longer mandated.
Marginal note:Variety of access speeds and costs
11 The Commission must mandate the provision of wholesale high-speed access services with a variety of speeds, including low-cost options, for the purpose of ensuring affordable options for consumers while allowing for the modernization of networks.
Marginal note:Tariff setting
12 The Commission should set interim and final tariffs expediently, including by reforming the tariff-setting process and considering external expertise or international best practices.
Marginal note:Equitable application of regulatory framework
13 The Commission should ensure that its regulatory framework mandating the provision of wholesale services for fixed Internet applies equitably to carriers that are subject to the framework.
Considerations for Mobile Wireless Competition
Marginal note:Mobile wireless competition
14 In order to foster mobile wireless competition that is sufficient to protect the interests of users, the Commission must
(a) maintain a regulatory framework mandating access — at just and reasonable rates — to wholesale roaming services;
(b) monitor and assess the effectiveness of its approach to a mandated wholesale facilities-based mobile virtual network operator access service, considering factors such as the specific characteristics of lower-density or remote regions and how these characteristics affect the time needed to deploy wireless networks; and
(c) adjust the facilities-based approach referred to in paragraph (b), including by extending the duration of the mandate to provide the service, if the Commission determines that it is necessary.
Marginal note:Revision to approach
15 The Commission should revise its approach to encourage broader service-based competition if the effectiveness of the approach in fostering mobile wireless competition is lessened due to changes in the mobile wireless market structure or circumstances of competition.
Marginal note:Periodic review and adjustments
16 The Commission should
(a) periodically review the effectiveness of its mobile wireless services regulatory framework in meeting its objectives and, in doing so, consider factors that could harm competition, such as coordinated conduct between carriers; and
(b) make any necessary adjustments to the framework.
Approach to Consumer Matters
Marginal note:Consumer rights
17 The Commission must enhance and protect the rights of consumers in telecommunications markets by
(a) strengthening the ability of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services to better fulfill its mandate, including by
(i) increasing its operational capacity,
(ii) ensuring that the perspectives of consumer and civil-society groups are better reflected in its governance,
(iii) improving compliance with its rules, and
(iv) increasing public awareness of its complaint-resolution process;
(b) strengthening the position of consumers in their relationships with service providers, including by
(i) taking additional measures to protect consumers from unacceptable sales practices, such as the measures identified in the Commission’s Report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Retail Sales Practices,
(ii) adjusting its consumer codes by harmonizing the provisions of its codes if doing so would be advantageous to consumers and providing for consumer protection measures in the event of a service outage or disruption,
(iii) taking measures to promote clarity and transparency of pricing information and service plan characteristics in service providers’ marketing materials, and
(iv) taking measures to ensure that consumers can promptly, affordably and easily cancel, downgrade, transfer or otherwise change their services;
(c) proactively identifying, removing and preventing barriers relating to telecommunications services, in particular for persons with disabilities; and
(d) regularly collecting, reporting publicly and making available to consumers information relating to mobile wireless coverage and fixed Internet services, including service quality metrics during peak periods and any other information that the Commission considers to be in the public interest, by
(i) requiring that service providers participate in the testing of the performance of their fixed Internet services, including services based on commonly used technologies in rural areas, and
(ii) developing and implementing a standardized and robust approach for reporting mobile wireless coverage.
Measures Supporting Deployment and Universal Access
Marginal note:Universal access
18 The Commission should continue to take measures, in concert with other government measures, to support the objective of universal access to high-quality, reliable and resilient fixed Internet and mobile wireless services, including the following measures:
(a) continuing to administer a funding mechanism, making any adjustments that the Commission determines are necessary; and
(b) mandating improved access to support structures, such as telephone poles and conduits, as well as identifying and addressing other barriers to timely deployment of telecommunications networks, such as exclusionary practices and unreasonable administrative practices.
Marginal note:Funding mechanism
19 The Commission must, when it reviews its funding mechanism, consider whether to prioritize funding for mobile wireless services and operating costs of telecommunications networks in order to foster
(a) improved access to, and more affordable prices for, retail telecommunications services in underserved areas; and
(b) better coordination of public funding.
20 For the purposes of sections 18 and 19, the Commission must take into account evolving
(b) service-performance needs and user needs; and
(c) gaps in telecommunications network services.
Effect of Order
21 This Order is binding on the Commission beginning on the day on which it comes into force and applies in respect of matters pending before the Commission on that day.
22 The following Orders are repealed:
Return to footnote 1SOR/2006-355
Return to footnote 2SOR/2019-227
Coming into Force
23 This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.
- Date modified: