New CRTC Chair’s Leadership Will Help Shape the Future of Canada’s Communication System

Backgrounder

OTTAWA, September 28, 2017

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today sent a welcome letter to Ian Scott, recently appointed Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The Government of Canada would like to congratulate the new Chair of the CRTC and to inform him of the Government’s vision and priorities with respect to Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications system.

Here is the full text of the Government of Canada’s welcome letter.

Mr. Ian Scott
Chairperson
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2


Dear Mr. Scott:

            We would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Chairperson of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The rapid growth of digital technologies is providing unprecedented opportunities for creativity, culture, innovation and economic growth. Therefore, you begin this role at an important time and we are confident that your wealth of experience and knowledge will be put to good use during your term. We would like to take this opportunity to inform you of what will be, in our view, important issues in fulfilling your mandate going forward.

The Government of Canada is committed to a regulator that is independent and operates at an arm’s-length. This ensures that the Canadian communications system is supervised and regulated in an impartial manner by an expert body, which is essential in a free and democratic society. While respecting our roles and responsibilities, we nevertheless believe that we can work together on shared objectives such the creation of quality Canadian content and improving broadband availability.

Canada’s communications system is critical to this country’s future. It is a fundamental platform for Canadian society and economy, supporting political participation, culture, economic growth, inclusion, education and public safety. Over the course of your term, many changes in this system are expected to continue to occur both in the development of technologies and the ways Canadians use them. Your leadership and that of the CRTC will be critical to ensuring that these changes are leveraged to benefit all Canadian people.

The broadcasting system plays a crucial role in providing trusted, accurate and quality information. The vitality of our democracy, as well as our culture and creativity, is the necessary starting point for considering its future. Through its news and information programming on both radio and television, the Canadian broadcasting system plays a fundamental role in supporting Canadians as citizens. As you lead the CRTC over the coming years, we trust that you will consider ways in which the CRTC can take measures to ensure that the Canadian broadcasting system continues to play this essential role.

With respect to our culture and identity, the digital shift has led to an environment of seemingly infinite choice. Standing out requires Canadian content in both official languages that can compete with the best of the world and distribution strategies ensuring that quality Canadian content, in both English and French, is discovered in our country as well as around the world. Global success will not be achieved without a diverse and strong domestic market that acts as a launch pad for homegrown talent.

Moreover, without our extremely talented actors, producers, directors, musicians, screenwriters and other creators of programming, the Canadian broadcasting system would not be as vibrant or as reflective of Canadians’ stories and experiences. Recognizing and supporting the perspectives of creators in CRTC deliberations as well as the key role they play will be important to the success of the Canadian broadcasting system. It will also be important for Canadians to continue to have affordable access to Canadian content.

With respect to telecommunications, digital technologies and the networks that support them are increasingly necessary for all Canadians to work, learn and be active participants in the digital economy. The Government’s objectives are to improve the quality, coverage, and price of services. All Canadians and Canadian businesses deserve high quality telecommunications services at affordable prices. The prosperity of Canadians depends on their access to affordable Internet and wireless services. These services are no longer luxuries. Broad-reaching coverage is needed so Canadians can connect wherever they live and work, including in rural and remote areas. We are pleased that the CRTC has already identified this and taken steps with the announcement of its $750 million fund to help bridge the digital divide.

Increased competition is an important tool for advancing these goals. At a time when middle-class Canadians are concerned about the rising cost of these services, the Government will encourage more private sector competition and investment in services that have become essential in a digital economy. As a Government, we want to drive disruptive competition and investment in innovative network services.

The Government believes in an open Internet, which respects the principle of net neutrality and enables cultural diversity, where Canadians have the power to freely innovate, communicate and create, and where their privacy is protected. Every day, we are seeing the development of new tools and business models that lead to economic growth, showcase Canadian creativity and improve wellbeing for Canadians. The Government is always looking for opportunities to help promote innovation throughout society; this includes being innovators ourselves in terms of how we serve Canadians.

We wish you all the best as you assume these new responsibilities.

Sincerely,


The Honourable Mélanie Joly, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development


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