ARCHIVED -  Letter

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Ottawa, 4 June 2012

By email

Kevin Goldstein
Vice President - Regulatory Affairs
Bell Media
299 Queen Street West
Toronto Ontario M5V 2Z3

Jennifer Salmon
VP Contracts
Canadian Independent Distributors Group
447 Gondola Point Road
Quispamsis New Brunswick E2E 1E1

Anne Mainville-Neeson,
Director of Broadcast Regulation
8th Floor, 215 Slater Street,
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 0A6

Re:  Application for Final Offer Arbitration by Bell Media. Inc with respect to a dispute relating to the renewal of affiliation agreements between: (1) Bell Media Inc. and CIDG; and (2) Bell Media Inc. and TELUS -  CRTC file # 8622-B80-201205716

Dear Sir and Madame:

This letter is to advise parties that the request by Bell Media Inc. (Bell Media) for additional process in the form of a written reply following the exchange of final offers is granted. 

The Request

In a letter dated 30 May 2012, Bell Media submitted that it believed that an opportunity for each party to file a written reply as envisioned in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2009-38, Practices and procedures for staff-assisted mediation, final offer arbitration, and expedited hearings (Information Bulletin 2009-38), would be constructive as it would help to identify and narrow the issues in advance of both the mandatory mediation and oral hearing phases of the proceedings. Bell Media suggested that reply comments be due on 18 June 2012, in accordance with the timeline contemplated by Information Bulletin 2009-38.

In separate letters dated 30 May 2012, TELUS Communications Company (TELUS) and Canadian Independent Communications Group (CIDG) agreed with the proposal put forward by Bell Media for additional process.

TELUS considered that a written reply phase would allow the Commission to better understand the positions of the parties with respect to their own offer and the offer of the other party in the arbitration.

CIDG considered that each party should have the opportunity to respond to the case presented by the other party, particularly as the June 29th hearing is intended to permit the Commission to question the parties rather than to provide the parties with an opportunity for rebuttal.  It further submitted that the Commission should not permit the written replies to supersede or vary the process otherwise outlined in the May 24th process letter.

Commission Determination

The Commission notes that the parties have already had multiple opportunities to present their positions on the issues and on the positions of the other parties, notably through the expedited hearing held as a precursor to this final offer arbitration. However, the Commission also notes that all parties to the proceeding have expressed a need for the opportunity to file reply comments following the exchange of final offers, as a means of clarifying their positions with respect to their own offers and the offers received.

Accordingly, the Commission grants Bell Media’s request that each party be given an opportunity to comment on the other party’s offer. These commenting documents may be no longer than 10 pages and must be filed with the Commission by 18 June 2012. The Commission reminds the parties that they are not permitted to change their offers.

In light of this additional opportunity for parties to present their positions on the issues in dispute, parties will not be permitted to make opening or closing remarks during the oral hearing on 29 June 2012. The Commission reiterates that the sole purpose of the oral component will be for parties to respond to questions and requests for clarification from Commission Panel members.


Original Signed By

John Traversy
Secretary General

cc.:  Pauline Jessome, MTS
              Natalie Macdonald, EastLink
              Yves Mayrand, Cogeco

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