Ian Scott to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology
July 25, 2022
Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
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Good afternoon, everyone.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, esteemed members, for inviting us to appear before your committee today, here on traditional unceded Algonquin territory, to speak about Rogers’ national outage.
With me today are:
Fiona Gilfillan, Executive Director, Telecommunications, and
Michel Murray, Director, Dispute Resolution & Regulatory Implementation, Telecommunications
This widespread network outage disrupted millions of Canadians and Canadian businesses across the country. Most importantly, it prevented access to services such as 9-1-1, emergency alerting, as well as other critical infrastructure services. That is unacceptable.
Canadians rely on wireless and internet services in their day to day lives: they depend on them to be productive at work and school, and to remain connected to their families and essential services.
The CRTC takes the safety, security, and wellness of Canadians very seriously and one of our key objectives is that Canadians have access at all times to a reliable and efficient communications system.
The stability and resiliency of telecommunications networks have and continue to be a major focus of the CRTC. Our focus must be on protecting networks by having contingency plans in place.
It’s also important to make it clear that the outage was not a result of a cyber attack. As stated by Rogers, it was caused by a fault in a maintenance upgrade. Rogers must take the necessary steps to help prevent another crisis like this one from happening.
As noted by Minister Champagne, Rogers’ communication during the outage was unacceptable – communications with the government, with other organizations, but also and more importantly, communications with the public. Rogers said that they will do better. The CRTC will make sure they do.
As the regulator what have we done so far?
Our first step, on July 12, was to request a detailed account from Rogers as to “why” and “how” this happened, and more importantly what measures Rogers is putting in place to prevent future outages.
We received Roger’s response on Friday and immediately began reviewing the information to ensure completeness and adequacy. We are now in the process of determining next steps. We will act quickly.
We will also continue working with ISED, and the Canadian Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (CSTAC) in order to implement the three objectives set out by Minister Champagne.
Additionally, we will be cooperating with other government organizations and the industry to address any outstanding technical issues that have been identified. This will include work done by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee’s Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG) as the effective delivery of 9-1-1 calls is crucial.
We believe in the need to be transparent. We will ensure that Rogers share everything Canadians need to know about the outage and the measures subsequently put in place.
This is not just about Rogers. Network convergence and climate change events are increasingly putting our networks at risk. That is why, in addition to addressing this outage along the initial strong actions announced by Minister Champagne, we will be taking longer-term action to ensure all telecommunications providers better protect Canadians.
The resiliency of the national communications network is a top priority for the CRTC. We all know it is instrumental to the country’s safety, security, and economic integrity.
Mr. Chair, esteemed members, thank you again for the opportunity to speak on this very important issue today. My colleagues and I would be pleased to answer your questions.
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