ARCHIVED - Letter
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Ottawa, 14 March 2012
File Nos. 8622-C193-201201110
Canadian Independent Distributors Group
447 Gondola Point Road
Quispamsis, New Brunswick E2E 1E1
Senior Manager - Regulatory Affairs
299 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2Z3
RE : Applications by: (a) CIDG for dispute resolution, by way of an expedited hearing and subsequent final offer arbitration, with respect to a dispute with Bell Media; and (b) Bell Media for final offer arbitration with respect to a dispute with Cogeco – Confidentiality of documents
Dear Sir and Madame:
On 21 February 2012, the Commission received a detailed response by Bell Media Inc. (Bell Media) to the Canadian Independent Distributors Group’s (CIDG) application referenced above. The Commission notes that abridged and unabridged versions of the response, including exhibits, were provided. In its submission, Bell Media stated that the information it had designated as confidential is highly commercially sensitive and would be damaging to Bell Media if disclosed.
On 24 February 2012, the Commission received a response letter from CIDG in which CIDG argued that Bell Media had inappropriately claimed confidentiality with respect to a significant portion of its submissions. CIDG submitted that, rather than the additional materials being placed on the public record, it should be given access to the evidence, which it requires to meet the case presented by Bell Media. CIDG further argued that the public interest in disclosure outweighed the potential for specific direct harm that may result from disclosure.
Bell Media replied to CIDG on 29 February 2012. In that letter, Bell Media agreed to disclose some additional information to CIDG only, but not on the public record of the proceeding. Bell Media argued that disclosure of all the materials requested by CIDG would be highly prejudicial to Bell Media and would provide CIDG an undue advantage in the resolution of the dispute. In addition, Bell Media submitted that CIDG should not be able to access information as part of a regulatory process that it would not be able to obtain through a market-based negotiation.
On 6 March 2012 and 7 March 2012, the Commission received responses from both Bell Media and CIDG to requests for information sent by Commission staff. The Commission notes that Bell Media designated one portion of its response to Question 1 as confidential, and that both parties filed various exhibits that they designated as confidential. Abridged versions were filed for the public record. In its letter dated 7 March 2012, CIDG requested disclosure of Bell Media’s exhibit detailing average rate increases for each Bell Media service.
Final determinations on the matters discussed above
In light of the foregoing, and after weighing the public interest in disclosure against the potential harm to Bell Media from such disclosure, the Commission determines the following:
- The minimum penetration requirements for Category C specialty services, set out in paragraph 18 of Bell Media’s response dated 21 February 2012 will not be placed on the public record. As proposed by Bell Media, it will disclose this information to CIDG;
- Exhibits A, C, and F, and paragraph 25 of Bell Media’s response dated 21 February 2012, will be kept confidential. The abridged versions already provided by Bell Media will be placed on the public record;
- The national penetration rates provided in Exhibit D of Bell Media’s response dated 21 February 2012 will be placed on the public record. As proposed by Bell Media, it will disclose TELUS’ penetration rates (also set out in that exhibit) to CIDG as a whole upon receipt of TELUS’ consent;
- The penetration-based rate card for Discovery Channel in Exhibit G of Bell Media’s response dated 21 February 2012 will not be placed on the public record. As proposed by Bell Media, it will disclose this information to CIDG;
- Bell Media’s interrogatory response to Question 1 dated 6 March 2012 will be added to the public record; and
- All other information, including exhibits, designated as confidential in the parties’ interrogatory responses and replies dated 6 March 2012 and 7 March 2012 will be kept confidential.
cc: Norm Bolen, CMPA
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