Government of Canada proposes new CRTC direction to put Canadians at the forefront of future decisions

News release

The proposed order aims to improve the affordability of Internet and cellphone services for Canadians

February 26, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Good and affordable access to telecommunications services is increasingly important for Canadians to participate and thrive in a digital economy and society. Canadians are concerned about the cost of their Internet and cellphone plans and are looking for lower-cost options and innovative services.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a proposed policy directive that would require the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to consider competition, affordability, consumer interests and innovation in its telecommunications decisions and demonstrate to Canadians that it has done so.

Competition is the best way to bring down prices of telecommunications services, including cellphone plans. In regions with strong competition, wireless data plans are up to 32% cheaper than the national average.

As Canada’s telecommunications landscape continues to evolve, the Government of Canada will closely monitor market dynamics and actively promote competition. 


“Our government is focused on improving the quality, coverage and, most importantly, the price of telecommunications services for Canadians—no matter where they live. We are giving clear direction to the CRTC that Canadian consumers must be at the forefront of all future decisions. We are ensuring that telecommunications policy will be made through a consumer-first lens to ensure Canadians have access to quality services at more affordable prices.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • In Budget 2016, the Government of Canada introduced the Connect to Innovate program, which is connecting over 900 communities to high-speed Internet—more than three times the original target of 300 communities. Of these, 168 are Indigenous communities.

  • In May 2016, the Government denied Bell’s petition to overturn the CRTC’s decision to extend wholesale regulation to fibre-to-the-home Internet services. This decision supported increased retail competition for higher speed Internet services.

  • In 2018, the Government partnered with Canada’s largest telecom corporations to launch the Connecting Families initiative to provide affordable Internet access to low-income families.

  • In the coming months, new lower-cost data-only wireless plans are expected to enter the market and will create more choice for Canadians.

  • To further promote competition in the telecom sector, the Government of Canada will set aside 43% of spectrum for regional providers in the upcoming 600 MHz spectrum auction.

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Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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