OTTAWA — Canada’s minister for telecommunications is proposing a new policy direction for the CRTC, which will be required to consider affordability and consumer interests as high priorities when it makes future regulatory decisions.
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains says his new policy directive will require the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to consider “competition, affordability, consumer interests, and innovation.”
It wasn’t immediately clear how the Trudeau government’s directive will be interpreted by the CRTC, consumers or industry players, such as the country’s providers of mobile, internet, cable and phone services.
Competition is already one of the CRTC’s long-standing criteria, as are consumer interests and innovation.
The CRTC is a semi-autonomous federal commission responsible for overseeing the Broadcasting and Telecommunications acts, which are under review by the Liberal government.
However, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have used policy directives to indicate the CRTC’s chief priorities, which are at times at odds with each other.
In a statement, Bains said Tuesday the government aims to improve telecommunications services for Canadians — a promise that has been made by successive Liberal and Conservative cabinet ministers over the years.
“Our government is focused on improving the quality, coverage, and most importantly, the price of telecommunications services for Canadians – no matter where they live,” Bains said.
“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.”