Opening remarks at the public hearing to consider Rogers Communications’ application to acquire Shaw Communications’ cable and satellite services
By Ian Scott
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
November 22, 2021
(Check against delivery)
Good morning and welcome to this public hearing.
Before we begin, I wish to acknowledge that the lands on which we are gathered are part of the traditional unceded Algonquin territory. I would like to thank the Anishnaabeg people and pay respect to their Elders. I also recognize that many participants joining the hearing virtually are located in different places and therefore may be situated in a different Indigenous traditional territory. I encourage you to take a moment to think about this.
Over the course of this hearing, we will consider Rogers Communications’ application to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Shaw Communications with respect only to its broadcasting assets, which include:
- Shaw’s current ownership interest in CPAC
- cable television services in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
- the national satellite television service, Shaw Direct
- the national satellite relay distribution service, Shaw Broadcast Services, and
- Shaw Pay-Per-View.
This proposed transaction is of considerable scope and would impact Canadians, producers, broadcasters and the industry as a whole. Over two million Canadians subscribe to Shaw’s cable and satellite television services. Many Canadians stay connected to their communities through Shaw’s community channels. Broadcasters and producers rely on funding contributed by Shaw for the creation of local news, community programming and independent productions.
As with all ownership transactions, we consider the merits of the application under the existing regulatory framework, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that a transaction is in the public interest. In this case, Rogers bears the burden of proof.
As I have mentioned it previously, this application, and by extension, this hearing, strictly deals with the broadcasting component of the overall transaction announced by Rogers and Shaw.
We understand that the transaction also involves Shaw’s other business lines, including telephone, wireless and Internet services. However, we will not be reviewing any telecommunications-related matters during this hearing as the companies do not require prior approval from the Commission. These elements will be subject to review by the Competition Bureau and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Therefore, I would ask interveners to focus on matters of concern to the application before us.
The Commission will take into account the intangible benefits that could result from this transaction, as well as the tangible benefits in the form of the financial contributions that would be made to the broadcasting system.
As this transaction impacts the ownership structure and governance of CPAC, it has been granted the opportunity to appear in its own right to answer questions pertaining to these issues and its operations.
Finally, I would like to assure all parties that the application will be assessed on its own merits. As always, the Commission will base its decision on the evidence on the public record and presented as part of this hearing.
Before we begin, allow me to introduce my colleagues. The panel consists of:
- Claire Anderson, Commissioner representing British Columbia and Yukon
- Nirmala Naidoo, Commissioner representing Alberta and the Northwest Territories
- Monique Lafontaine, Commissioner representing the Ontario region
- Ellen Desmond, Commissioner representing the Atlantic Region and Nunavut
- and myself, Ian Scott, Chairperson.
The Commission staff members assisting us include:
- Cédrick Lelièvre, Hearing Manager
- Christina Maheux and Matthew Welch, Legal Counsel, and
- Jade Roy, Hearing Secretary.
I would now like to invite Ms. Roy to explain the procedure we will be following.
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