ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2001-60

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Corrected version of Public Notice CRTC 2001-60 will be issued on 31 May 2001


Public Notice CRTC 2001-60


Ottawa, 29 May 2001


CRTC seeks public input on the confidentiality provisions of Canadian carriers


Reference: 8665-C12-14/01


The CRTC is seeking public input for its review of the confidentiality provisions applicable to most Canadian telecom carriers.


This public notice invites Canadians to comment on how well the current rules meet their privacy needs and if any changes are required. Among other things, the Commission seeks comment on whether the written consent of customers should continue to be required in order to allow carriers and their affiliates to share customer information.


One of the policy objectives in section 7 of the Telecommunications Act is "to contribute to the protection of the privacy of persons." Currently, Canadian carriers, including cellular and personal communications services (PCS) providers (with the exception of all other mobile wireless providers, such as pager service providers), are restricted from providing confidential customer information to third parties without the written consent of the customer. This was established in Review of the general regulations of the federally regulated terrestrial telecommunications common carriers, Telecom Decision CRTC 86-7, dated 26 March 1986, and amended in Telecom Order CRTC 86-593. This provision can be found in the Terms of Service for incumbent local exchange carriers, which can be found at or near the beginning of their telephone directories.


In November 2000, Bell Canada sent a request to the Commission on behalf of itself, Bell Mobility, Bell Nexxia, Island Telecom Inc., Maritime Tel & Tel Limited, MT&T Mobility Inc., MTS Communications Inc. NBTel Inc., NewTel Communications Inc. and NewTel Mobility Limited (the companies). The companies asked the Commission to modify Article 11 of their Terms of Service in order to allow their affiliated companies to share confidential customer information without having to obtain written consent from the customer.


The companies took the position that the requirements of Article 11 are more stringent than required by the new Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S.C. 2000, c. 5 ("PIPED Act"), which came into force in January 2001. The companies stated that the requirement to obtain written consent inhibits their ability to efficiently respond to customers' needs. In addition, cable companies that also offer bundled services do not have similar Article 11 confidentiality requirements. Therefore, the companies believe that, when they market the services of affiliates, the companies are at a competitive disadvantage compared to cable companies.


Comments on this proposal by the companies were received from TELUS Communications Inc. and AXXENT Corp. in conjunction with AT&T Canada Ltd. TELUS supported the proposed changes, while AXXENT and AT&T Canada opposed the proposed changes. AXXENT and AT&T Canada noted that the issue should be subject to a broader public review process. These comments are on the public record of this proceeding.


Almost all Canadian carriers have the same provision as the companies for the protection of confidential customer records. Therefore, the Commission has determined that the issue raised by the companies should be examined in the context of a proceeding that encompasses all such other Canadian carriers.


Accordingly, the Commission invites comments on the current written consent rule for disclosure of confidential customer information.


Consent and disclosure issues


The Commission invites responses to the following questions, as well as any other points that a party or parties may wish to raise:


a) Does the current written consent rule place Canadian carriers at a competitive disadvantage compared to competitors such as cable companies? How should the Commission balance privacy concerns with the issue of competitive equity?


b) Should a Canadian carrier be permitted to disclose confidential customer information to an affiliated company without the written consent of the subscriber?


c) If such disclosure is permitted, should it be subject to any restrictions? For example, would such disclosure only be permitted for the purpose of allowing the affiliated company to market or provide its products and services to the subscriber?


d) If written consent is not required:


i) What type of consent (e.g. express or implied) would be sufficient to allow a Canadian carrier to disclose to an affiliated company confidential subscriber information?


ii) Assuming express consent is required, what measures would be adequate for obtaining express consent for such use and disclosure?


iii) What are the circumstances that would indicate implied customer consent to allow a carrier to disclose the customer's confidential information to affiliated companies?


e) In the approved tariffs of incumbent and local telephone companies, the term "affiliate" is defined as any person controlling or controlled by the same person that controls the company and includes a related person. Is this definition sufficient for the current purposes and, if not, what would be a sufficient definition of an affiliate?


f) Information stored in a centralized database:


i) If confidential customer information shared among affiliated companies is stored in and accessed from a centralized database, does that raise any particular privacy issues?


ii) Should there be any restrictions on the collection and storage in this manner of confidential customer information? If so, what should they be?


iii) Should access to such database be subject to any conditions? If so, what should they be?




All Canadian carriers, including cellular and PCS providers (with the exception of all other mobile wireless providers, such as pager service providers) are all made parties to this proceeding.


Other parties wishing to participate fully in this proceeding must notify the Commission of their intention to do so by 28 June 2001. These parties should contact the Secretary General, by mail at CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2; by fax at (819) 953-0975; or by email at  They are to indicate in the notice their email address, where available. If parties do not have access to the Internet, they are to indicate in their notice whether they wish to receive disk versions of hard copy filings. The Commission will issue, as soon as possible after the registration date, a complete list of interested parties and their mailing address (including their email address, if available), identifying those parties who wish to receive disk versions.


The Canadian carriers and interested parties are to file with the Commission, serving copies on all parties, their submissions commenting on the questions set out in paragraph 7. All such material is to be filed with the Commission and served on all parties by 30 July 2001. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.


This proceeding will have an interrogatory process whereby any interested party that filed comments may address questions to any other interested party that filed comments. Any such interrogatories must be filed with the Commission and served on the interested party or parties in question by 29 August 2001.


Responses to all interrogatories are to be filed with the Commission and served on all parties by 28 September 2001.


Requests by parties for further responses to their interrogatories, specifying in each case why a further response is both relevant and necessary, and requests for public disclosure of information for which confidentiality has been claimed, setting out in each case the reasons for disclosure, must
be filed with the Commission and served on all parties by 15 October 2001.


Written responses to requests for further responses to interrogatories and for public disclosure must be filed with the Commission and served on all parties by 30 October 2001.


A determination will be issued with respect to requests for further information and public disclosure as soon as possible, and it is expected that any information to be provided pursuant to that determination will be filed with the Commission and served on all parties by
29 November 2001.


Interested parties may file reply comments with the Commission, serving a copy on all other parties by 19 December 2001. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.


Any person who wishes merely to file written comments in this proceeding, without receiving copies of the various submissions, may do so by writing to the Commission at the address noted in paragraph 9by 19 December 2001. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary.


Where a document is to be filed or served by a specific date, the document must be actually received, not merely sent, by that date.


Parties wishing to file electronic versions of their comments can do so by email at the address shown above, or on diskette


The electronic version should be in the HTML format. As an alternative, those making submissions may use "Microsoft Word" for text and "Microsoft Excel" for spreadsheets.


Please number each paragraph of your submission. In addition, please enter the line ***End of Document*** following the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during transmission.


The Commission will make submissions filed in electronic form available on its web site at in the official language and format in which they are submitted. This will make it easier for members of the public to consult the documents.


The Commission also encourages interested parties to monitor the public examination file (and/or the Commission's web site) for additional information that they may find useful when preparing their submissions.


Submissions may be examined or will be made available promptly upon request at the Commission offices during normal business hours:


Central Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage, Room G-5
Hull, Quebec K1A 0N2
Tel: (819) 997-2429 - TDD: 994-0423
Fax: (819) 994-0218


Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Suite 1007
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997 - TDD: 426-6997
Fax: (902) 426-2721


405 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East
2nd Floor, Suite B2300
Montréal, Quebec H2L 4J5
Tel: (514) 283-6607 - TDD: 283-8316
Fax: (514) 283-3689


55 St. Clair Avenue East
Suite 624
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1M2
Tel: (416) 952-9096
Fax: (416) 954-6343


Kensington Building
275 Portage Avenue
Suite 1810
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
Tel: (204) 983-6306 - TDD: 983-8274
Fax: (204) 983-6317


Cornwall Professional Building
2125 - 11th Avenue
Room 103
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3X3
Tel: (306) 780-3422
Fax: (306) 780-3319


Suite 520 - 10405 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3N4
Tel: (780) 495-3224
Fax: (780) 495-3214


530-580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111 - TDD: 666-0778
Fax: (604) 666-8322


Secretary General


This document is available in alternative format upon request and may also be examined at the following Internet site: 


Date modified: