Canada’s communications future: Time to act

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Letter to the Honourable Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Honourable Minister of Canadian Heritage

January 29, 2020

Dear Minister Bains and Minister Guilbeault,

On behalf of the members of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel, I am pleased to submit to you our final Report with recommendations on modernizing the legislation governing Canada’s communications sector.

This Report is the product of a review of Canada’s communications laws including the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act, and the Radiocommunication Act. This is the first time that the three statutes are reviewed together in a comprehensive and integrated fashion. Therefore, Canadians can be confident that the legislative framework is a unified whole, relevant in the digital age.

As an independent panel, we were given the freedom to think broadly and openly about how best to build communications legislation for the future, and we are grateful to the government for this opportunity.

Our Panel knew that we had to think big and consider what would serve Canadians today and years into the future. We feel strongly that, while our laws need to respond to the issues of today, a lasting legislative framework must be resilient, flexible, and adaptable to the unforeseen but inescapable changes of tomorrow. We believe that our recommendations will provide policymakers and regulators with the legislative framework and regulatory tools necessary to realize the promise of communications technologies.

The single most important message to convey on behalf of Canadians is one of urgency. I encourage your government to move promptly to consider this Report and engage with Canadians to implement the necessary changes to ensure that Canada is positioned for success.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have travelled across the country and met with a wide range of stakeholders, governments, experts, and members of the public. They hosted us in their communities and territories, and we appreciate this. This Report has been greatly influenced by their views and the perspective of those who responded to our Call for Comments on how legislation should be updated to reflect the rapidly changing environment. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation process.

I would like to recognize and thank my fellow panelists Peter Grant, Marina Pavlović, Monique Simard, Monica Song, and Pierre Trudel for their expertise, their passion and their unwavering determination and commitment to address the issues and questions posed in our Terms of Reference. Hank Intven also brought his in-depth expertise and experience to our work during his time as a panelist, and I would like to extend my appreciation for his contribution. I would also like to thank the distinguished team of advisors who assisted the Panel in this process and whose wise counsel and advice was appreciated and considered.

The Panel was fortunate to have received the support of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Secretariat. They are an extraordinary team of public servants whose contributions enriched the development of the Report and ensured its successful completion. They were aided along the way by a team of enthusiastic and bright students. I would like to highlight the leadership of Helen C. Kennedy and James Nicholson in their role as co-leads as well as Special Advisor Kelly Beaton and thank them for their invaluable efforts, encouragement, and support throughout this process.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank you for your confidence in my leadership. It has been an honour to serve Canadians on this critically important matter.


Janet Yale
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel

Ebook of the final report