ARCHIVED -  Telecom Public Notice CRTC 95-51

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Telecom Public Notice

Ottawa, 8 December 1995
Telecom Public Notice CRTC 95-51
In a series of decisions over recent years, the Commission has been encouraging increased competitive entry into telecommunications markets. The emergence of competition in these markets has seen the Commission's involvement in competitive matters grow substantially and, as a result, an increasing amount of the Commission's time and resources are required for the resolution of disputes relating to these matters. While the Commission considers that more effective use might be made of existing mechanisms at its disposal, it is also of the view that some competitive issues might be resolved more effectively and efficiently if alternatives existed to the existing formal procedures, which were generally developed prior to the opening of Canadian telecommunications markets to competition.
The Commission has delegated to a sub-committee of the Commission the authority to determine applications regarding competitive issues, subject to certain exceptions, such as applications to review and vary a Commission decision.
In addition, the Commission intends to place greater reliance on the procedural mechanisms set out below. The Commission invites parties to competitive disputes to seek resort to these procedures in circumstances where they consider they would aid in the effective and early resolution of the matters in issue.
Staff Assisted Resolution
The Commission considers that early intervention by Commission staff can, in certain cases, prove beneficial. The Commission views this process, which would typically involve one or more conference calls or meetings chaired by a Commission staff representative, as facilitating timely and efficient settlement of disputes or, at the very least, more effective communication between the parties and more precise definition of the issue(s) in dispute.
This process would not result in the issuance of any formal staff opinion on the issues in dispute, and would not preclude any subsequent application to the Commission for a formal determination.
Staff Mediation
The Commission has found that mediation conducted by Commission staff can be an effective tool in aiding in the resolution of certain disputes.
The type of disputes which would lend themselves to this approach would typically be those where the issues are somewhat more numerous or complex and where the factual record may require clarification.
Following a staff mediation, Commission staff would issue a non-binding opinion. While the opinion would set out Commission staff's views on the particular issue(s) in question, it would continue to be open to any party to make a formal application for a Commission determination.
Appointment of an Inquiry Officer
Section 70 of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) empowers the Commission to appoint a person to inquire and report back on any matter either pending before the Commission or within the Commission's jurisdiction under the Act or any special Act.
The Commission is of the view that the appointment of an Inquiry Officer could prove expeditious in resolving certain more difficult competitive disputes.
Under this approach, the Commission would expect the Inquiry Officer to receive written or oral evidence from the parties and to prepare a summary of that evidence, upon which parties would be permitted to comment. The Inquiry Officer would then submit that evidence and comment, along with his/her recommendations to the Commission for its determination.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
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