The Governor in Council has responded to petitions, pursuant to subsection 12(1) of the Telecommunications Act, concerning the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)’s Telecom Order CRTC 2019-288.
The official text is available via the Privy Council Office. Below is the unofficial text of the Order in Council for reference:
Whereas, on August 15, 2019, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the “Commission”) rendered a decision in Telecom Order CRTC 2019-288, Follow-up to Telecom Orders 2016-396 and 2016-448 – Final rates for aggregated wholesale high-speed access services (the “decision”);
Whereas subsection 12(1) of the Telecommunications Act (“the Act”) provides that, within one year after a decision by the Commission, the Governor in Council may, on petition in writing presented to the Governor in Council within 90 days after the decision, or on the Governor in Council’s own motion, by order, vary or rescind the decision or refer it back to the Commission for reconsideration of all or a portion of it;
Whereas, on November 13, 2019, Bell Canada, TELUS Communications Inc., and a consortium of cable carriers made up of Bragg Communications Incorporated, Cogeco Communications Inc., Rogers Communications Canada Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., and Videotron Ltd. (the “petitioners”) each presented to the Governor in Council a petition in writing requesting that the Governor in Council vary or refer it back to the Commission for reconsideration (the “petitions”);
Whereas, in accordance with subsection 12(4) of the Act, a notice of receipt of the petitions was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, by the Minister of Industry on December 14, 2019, indicating where the petitions or any other petition or submission made in response to them may be inspected and copies of them obtained;
Whereas, pursuant to section 13 of the Act, the Minister of Industry has provided the provinces with an opportunity for consultation;
Whereas the Governor in Council has considered the petitions together with all of the information and advice received with respect to them;
Whereas the petitioners have also, under section 62 of the Act, made applications to the Commission to review and vary the decision (“the applications”), in response to which the Commission has launched a public proceeding to consider those applications, for which it has not yet rendered a decision.
Whereas the petitioners have submitted in particular, in the petitions and in the applications to the Commission, that the final rates set in the decision will undermine their investment in high-quality networks;
Whereas the Governor in Council acknowledges that the Commission, in its consideration of the applications, is bound by section 47 of the Act to exercise its powers and perform its duties with a view to implementing the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives and in accordance with any orders made by the Governor in Council under section 8;
Whereas the Governor in Council acknowledges that in Order in Council P.C. 2016-332 of May 10, 2016, the Governor in Council noted that a wholesale services framework that achieves improved consumer choice and competition, further investment in high-quality networks, innovative service offerings and reasonable prices for consumers is consistent with Canada’s telecommunications policy objectives set out in section 7 of the Act;
Whereas, in considering the petitions and all of the information and advice received with respect to them, the Governor in Council considers that the final rates set by the decision do not, in all instances, appropriately balance the objectives of the wholesale services framework recognized in Order in Council P.C. 2016-332 of May 10, 2016 and that they will, in some instances, undermine investment in high-quality networks;
Whereas cooperation and participation by interested persons and the provision of full and complete evidence in accordance with Commission decisions and requests for information are necessary for setting just and reasonable rates without delay and the Commission’s ability to make rates retroactive may incentivize such cooperation;
Whereas the Governor in Council considers that exercising the authority under subsection 12(1) of the Act to vary or refer back the decision for reconsideration
at this time is premature pending a decision from the Commission with respect to the applications;
And whereas the Governor in Council will monitor the public proceeding in respect of the applications and await the Commission’s decision;
Therefore, Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry, pursuant to subsection 12(1) of the Telecommunications Act declines to vary, rescind or refer back for reconsideration Telecom Order CRTC 2019-288.