Opening remarks by Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
At the public hearing in Gatineau
February 11, 2013
Check against delivery
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing.
We are holding this hearing as part of our consultation to establish a new national code for wireless services, such as cellphones and other personal mobile devices.
There are currently more than 27 million wireless subscribers in Canada—a number that keeps growing every year. More and more Canadians are using wireless services to keep in touch with family, friends, customers and co-workers and to connect to the Internet.
Last fall, the CRTC asked Canadians for their help in developing a code to clarify wireless companies’ responsibilities and provide consumers with new tools to better understand their rights. This will ultimately assist them in making informed choices about wireless services. As a result, we are hoping to create a more dynamic marketplace empowered by informed consumers.
Our consultation has attracted a lot of attention right across the country. During the first phase, Canadians posted close to 600 comments on our online discussion forum and sent in over 3,500 written submissions. Among other things, they asked that contracts be written in easy-to-understand language, with no hidden fees.
Two weeks ago, the CRTC published a draft code to stimulate debate at this public hearing. The comments we received helped shape this working document and we have been reading with great interest what Canadians think about it. The working document sets out proposals about the content of the code, to whom it should apply, how it should be enforced and promoted, and how its effectiveness should be assessed and reviewed.
It should be noted that the working document does not necessarily reflect the views of this panel or the final version of the wireless code.
We would like to extend a special welcome to everyone listening to us online. For the first time, you will be able to participate in one of our public hearings by posting comments in real time on the online discussion forum. We will be keeping an eye on your comments as the hearing progresses and look forward to your input. The discussion forum will remain open for comments until 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Friday, February 15.
We would also like to thank everyone who has participated up to now. All comments—whether submitted in writing, posted on the discussion forum or made orally at the hearing—will be taken into consideration as we finalize the wireless code.
Before we begin, I would like to introduce the members of the panel. They are:
- Elizabeth Duncan, Regional Commissioner for the Atlantic and Nunavut
- Candice Molnar, Regional Commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan
- Louise Poirier, National Commissioner
- Stephen Simpson, Regional Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon
- and myself, Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. I will be presiding over this hearing.
The Commission team assisting us includes:
- Celia Millay, Hearing Manager and Manager of Consumer Policy
- Crystal Hulley and Moïra Letourneau, Legal Counsel, and
- Lynda Roy, Hearing Secretary and Supervisor of Public Hearings.
I would now invite the Hearing Secretary, Lynda Roy, to explain the procedures we will be following, as decided by the hearing panel. Madam Secretary …
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