Panel recommends new powers, roles for CRTC as part of sweeping review

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission would get sweeping new powers and responsibilities if the federal government adopts recommendations in an expert panel’s review of key laws.

In total, the panel’s 235-page report makes 97 recommendations after more than 18 months of consultations and research under the leadership of Janet Yale, a former telecommunications executive and CRTC commissioner.

The Trudeau government assigned the panel to consider a vast array of issues — from the role of foreign streaming services like Netflix, to mobile phone and internet services, to the future of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Many of the recommendations are directed at the CRTC, which is currently the key federal agency responsible for upholding Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications acts.

Among other things, the panel recommends that the commission get explicit jurisdiction over all entities offering electronic communications services in Canada, even if they don’t have a place of business in Canada.

It also recommends that the federal government immediately require foreign media content suppliers to collect the goods and services tax on subscriptions in order to eliminate a disadvantage faced by their Canadian competitors.

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