January 29, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario
Today, the federal Broadcasting & Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel (BTLRP) released Canada’s Communications Future: Time to Act, its final report and recommendations to government.
Created in June 2018, by the Ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Canadian Heritage, the six-member Panel reviewed Canada’s decades-old Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Radiocommunication Acts and made recommendations for modernizing the legislation and regulatory framework.
“Advanced technology is transforming the ways we communicate, entertain and inform ourselves as well as driving economic opportunities and new business models that enhance competitiveness domestically and internationally. These unprecedented opportunities also expose us to significant risks including the growing – and global – threat of privacy breaches, the spread of harmful content and the impact of Big Data on all dimensions of our lives,” said Janet Yale, Chair of the Broadcasting & Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel. “A Canada, where everyone benefits from the social, creative and economic potential this new world presents, requires a legislative framework that responds to the challenges of today, while also being flexible enough to address the unknown challenges of tomorrow. Our recommendations for reform are practical and actionable providing the legislative powers and regulatory tools necessary to seize the opportunities and address the risks of the digital age.”
“The legislation we were asked to review is foundational to our ability as a country to ensure that, in a world of endless choices and voices, there is space for Canadian culture, stories and perspectives including the ability to showcase our diversity,” said BTLR Panelist Monique Simard. “Our recommendations enshrine the right to a free and open Internet while creating an appropriate framework for the support and promotion of Canadian content.”
The Panel’s work was informed by a diverse range of people and organizations from across the country, in addition to a series of original research. In response to the Panel’s Call for Comments on how the country’s legislative framework for communications should be updated, more than 2,000 letters and written submissions were received, many of which included concrete recommendations which have been incorporated into the final report. The Panel also held in-person meetings across the country.
“By engaging with such a diverse range of industry players, creators, Indigenous and official language minority communities, public interest and accessibility groups we gained the insights needed to provide government with practical recommendations that will be adaptable to change in an increasingly borderless digital world,” added Yale.
Canada’s Communications Future: Time to Act contains 97 specific recommendations touching on four themes:
- Reducing barriers to access by all Canadians to advanced telecommunications networks;
- Supporting the creation, production and discoverability of Canadian content;
- Improving the rights of the digital consumer; and
- Renewing the institutional framework for the communications sector.
The submission of Canada’s Communications Future: Time to Act fulfills the Panel’s mandate and brings to a close its work for the federal government. The Panel thanks the government for the opportunity to put its experience and expertise in the service of Canadians on these increasingly important matters.