ARCHIVED - Telecom Commission Letter - 8661-C12-200608672

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Ottawa, 23 November 2006

File Nos:   8661-C12-200608672

To:   Interested Parties to Continued need for the regulatory constraints applicable to toll and toll-free services , Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2006-10, 7 July 2006 (Public Notice 2006-10)

Re:   Public Notice 2006-10 - Requests for further responses to interrogatories and for disclosure of information

This letter addresses requests by the Consumer Groups for further responses to their interrogatories and for disclosure of information for which a claim for confidentiality has been asserted.

As noted in its letter dated 30 October 2006 , the Commission intends to issue further interrogatories in this proceeding.   As indicated in that letter, at that time the dates set out at paragraphs 28, 29 and 30 of Public Notice 2006-10 will be revised.

The Commission received responses to interrogatories in the proceeding initiated by Public Notice 2006-10 between 22 September 2006 and 9 November 2006.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), on behalf of the Consumer's Association of Canada, the National Anti-Poverty Organization and l'Union des consommateurs (collectively, the Consumer Groups), filed a letter on 29 September 2006, requesting further responses to interrogatories and the disclosure of information filed in confidence in the above-noted proceeding.

The Consumer Groups' requests were addressed to Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership (Bell Aliant), Bell Canada , SaskTel Telecommunications (SaskTel) and TELUS Communications Company (TCC).

Responses to the requests were received, on 6 October 2006 , from Bell Aliant, Bell Canada , SaskTel and TCC.

Part I - Requests for Disclosure

Requests for disclosure of information for which confidentiality has been claimed are assessed in light of sections 38 and 39 of the Telecommunications Act and section 19 of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules).   In evaluating a request, an assessment is made as to whether there is any specific direct harm likely to result from disclosure of the information in question.   Further, in order to justify a claim of confidence, any such harm must be sufficient as to outweigh the public interest in disclosure.   In making this evaluation, a number of factors are taken into consideration, including the following.

The degree of competition that exists in a particular market is an important consideration in assessing requests for disclosure.   All things being equal, the greater the degree of actual or expected competition in a particular market, the greater the specific direct harm that could be expected to result from disclosure.

Another factor in assessing the extent of harm is the expected usefulness of the information at issue to parties in furthering their competitive positions.   In this regard, an important consideration is the degree to which the information at issue is disaggregated.   Generally speaking, the more aggregated the information, the less likelihood that harm will flow from its disclosure.

The expectation that specific direct harm might result from disclosure is not, by itself, sufficient to justify a claim of confidentiality.   In certain circumstances, substantial harm from disclosure may still be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure of the material.

Finally, the treatment of confidentiality requests should not be taken as an indication of the manner in which such matters would be dealt with in the future, under different circumstances .

Having regard to all of the above considerations, the Consumers Groups' requests for disclosure of information filed with the Commission under a claim of confidentiality, with the exception of the information detailed below, has been denied.

Part II - Requests for Further Responses

With regard to requests for further responses, the requirements of subsection 18(2) of the Rules apply.   The general principles enunciated by the Commission in past proceedings include the following.

The major consideration is the relevance of the information requested to the matter at issue.

The availability of the information requested is also a factor, which is balanced against the relevance of the information.   If the provision of the information sought would require an effort disproportionate to the probative value of the information itself, further responses will not be required.

Another factor considered is the extent to which an answer is responsive to the interrogatory as originally asked.   Generally, parties are not required to provide further responses to requests for further information from a party that did not ask the original interrogatory.

Having regard to all of the above considerations, the parties are not required to provide any further responses to the Consumer Groups, with the exception of the information detailed below.

Part III - Interrogatory Bell Canada (Consumer Groups)1Sep06-6 PN 2006-10

Commission staff notes the request by the Consumer Groups to have the answer to interrogatory Bell Canada (Consumer Groups)1Sep06-6 PN 2006-10 [1] filed in confidence with the Commission and with the Consumer Groups only, upon the exchange of a non-disclosure agreement with Bell Canada .

In response, Bell Canada indicated that the Consumer Groups' request applied to two categories of information:   i) demographic information about Bell Canada's long distance subscribers; and ii) studies of Canadian consumers' use of and attitudes toward the Internet. In terms of the second category of information, Bell Canada noted that it subscribes to two publications that track Canadians' use of, and attitudes towards, the Internet, the latest editions of which contained data current to the second quarter of 2006:   The Canadian Interactive Reid Report, published by Ipsos Reid and Cybertrends, published by ComQuest Research, both of which are copyrighted and contain proprietary market research data that is only available to subscribers on payment of subscription fees (the Two Publications).

With respect to the latter category of information, Bell Canada agreed to the Consumer Groups' request on condition that the information would be provided, in confidence and upon execution of an appropriate non-disclosure agreement between PIAC's and Bell Canada's counsel, solely to counsel for PIAC and solely for the purpose of this proceeding and the copy would be returnable to counsel for Bell Canada at the conclusion of this proceeding.   No other party objected to this arrangement.

Commission staff considers that this information is likely to be relevant and, as the two parties are in agreement to the proposed arrangement and no party objected to it, Bell Canada is to file by 8 December 2006 in confidence with the Commission the [s1] Two Publications.   In addition, Bell Canada is to provide to PIAC's legal counsel and any expert retained by it in the context of this proceeding, upon the exchange of a mutually agreed upon non-disclosure agreement between PIAC's legal counsel and/or expert and Bell Canada's legal counsel, by no later than 8 December 2006, the Two Publications.   Commission staff notes that this requirement is on condition that the Two Publications are to be used by PIAC's legal counsel and/or expert solely for the purpose of this proceeding and that they are returnable to counsel for Bell Canada at the conclusion of this proceeding.   In addition, Bell Canada and PIAC's legal counsel and/or expert are required to file with the Commission by 1 December 2006 their mutually agreed upon and signed non-disclosure agreement(s).   If the parties are unable to agree on the terms of the non-disclosure agreement, they are to submit to the Commission by 1 December 2006, a request for a determination on the terms under the dispute.

With respect to the first category of information, Commission staff considers that the information is likely to be relevant but considers that the specific direct harm to Bell Canada that might result from its disclosure outweighs the public interest in disclosure of the material.   Further Commission staff notes that there is no agreement by Bell Canada to file the information in confidence with PIAC.   In the circumstances, Bell Canada is to file with the Commission, in confidence if it so wishes, any other surveys, studies, figures or other documents in its possession profiling the demographics of Bell Canada's basic toll subscribers by 8 December 2006 [s2] .

Yours sincerely,

'Original signed by N. Froese' (for)

Suzanne Bédard
Senior Manager, Tariffs

cc :   Nora Froese, CRTC (819) 997-4654

[1]         Bell Canada (Consumer Groups)1Sep06-6 PN 2006-10:   Please provide any surveys, studies, figures or any other document profiling the demographics of Bell Canada basic toll subscribers.

Distribution List

Bell Canada
110 O'Connor Street
7th Floor
Ottawa , ON   K1P 1H1

David Palmer
Director, Regulatory Matters  


MTS Allstream Inc. 45 O'Connor Street
Suite 1400
Ottawa , ON   K1P 1A4

Teresa Griffin-Muir
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs


The Consumer Groups
1204 - ONE Nicholas Street
Ottawa , ON   K1N 7B7

Michael Janigan

TEL:613-562-4002 x26

555 Oak Street East
North Bay , ON   P1B 8L3

Amedeo Bernardi
Director, Regulatory Matters, Carrier Relations

TEL:705-472-4500 x343


TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI)
10020 - 100 Street NW
21st Floor
Edmonton , AB   T5J 0N5

Willie Grieve
Vice President, Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs



Télébec, Société en commandite Télébec, Limited Partnership
25 Paget Street , Box 4000
New Liskeard , ON   P0J 1P0

Molly Slywchuk
Manager, Regulatory Affairs



Saskatchewan Telecommunications
2121 Saskatchewan Drive - 12th Floor
Regina , SK   S4P 3Y2

W.N. (Bill) Beckman
General Manager, Regulatory Affairs



Yak Communications ( Canada ) Inc.
300 Consilium Place
Suite 500
Toronto , ON   M1H 3G2

Benjamin Rovet
Senior Regulatory Counsel



Aliant Telecom Inc. Telecommunications Aliant inc.
Fort William Building
P.O. Box 2110
St. John's , NL  A1C 5H6

David Hennessey
Manager - Regulatory Matters



Sogetel Inc.
111,rue du 12-novembre

Louise Bégin



Ministere de la Culture et des Communications
Gouvernement du Quebec, 225, Grande Allee Est Bloc C 3etage
Quebec , QC   G1R 5G5

Andre Labrie



17 Geddy Street
Whitby , ON   L1P 1P8

Marty Gobin



Canada Deaf Wireless Ad Hoc Committee
PO Box 24092
Kelowna , BC   V1Y 9H2

Robert Gray

Greater Vancouver Association of the Deaf
2125 West 7th Avenue
BC  V6K 1X9

Rosalind Ho
Program Coordinator



Beauhinea Press
1209 Madison Avenue
BC  V5C 4Y4

Rosalind Ho
Program Coordinator



View Communications Inc.
1668 Valentine Gdn.
Missisauga , ON   L5J 1H5

David McKeown



Lemay-Yates Associates Inc.
2075, University Street
Suite 1000
Montreal , QC   H3A 2L1

Johanne Lemay



David Stinson Consulting Inc.
207 Melrose Avenue
Ottawa , ON   K1Y 1V3

David Stinson



Wall Communications Inc.
114 First Avenue
Ottawa , ON   K1S 2G4

Bernie Lefebvre



ARCH (A Legal Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities
425 Bloor Street East
Suite 110
Toronto , ON   M4W 3R5

Phyllis Gordon



Cybersurf Corp.
71 Bank Street
2rd Floor
Ottawa , ON   K1P 5N2

Christian Tacit

TEL:613-565-4646 x623


Union des consommateurs
6226 Saint-Hubert
Montréal , QC   H2S 2M2

Geneviève Duchesne

TEL:514-521-6820 x240


Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.
5343 Dundas Street West
Suite 400
Toronto , ON   M9B 6K5

Jonathan Holmes
Director, Regulatory Affairs



Canadian Association of the Deaf Association des Sourds du Canada
203 - 251 Bank Street
Ottawa , ON   K2P 1X3

James Roots
Executive Director



Quebecor Média inc. Quebecor Media Inc.
465, rue McGill, 5ième étage
Montréal , QC   H2Y 4A6

Dennis Béland
Director, Regulatory Affairs



Public Interest Advocacy Centre PIAC / Le Centre pour la défence de l'intéret public
1 Nicholas Street
Suite 1204
Ottawa , ON   K1N 7B7

John Lawford

TEL:613-562-4002 x25


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Date Modified: 2006-11-23
Date modified: