Telecom - Commission letter addressed to various parties

Ottawa, 13 January 2021

Our reference: 1011-NOC2020-0367


Jean-François Dumoulin
Vice-President Regulatory and Government Affairs
Iris Technologies Inc. 
675 Cochrane Drive
East Tower, 6th Floor
Markham, ON L3R 0B8

John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
285 McLeod Street, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON K2P 1A1

Sean Mcleish
Assistant Deputy Minister
Information and Communications Technology, Highways and Public Works
Government of Yukon
PO Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6

RE: Call for comments – Review of the Commission’s regulatory framework for Northwestel Inc. and the state of telecommunications services in Canada’s North, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2020-367 (TNC 2020-367) – Procedural requests by Iristel Inc. and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Mr. Dumoulin, Mr. Lawford and Mr. Mcleish,

On 11 December 2020, the Commission received a letter from Northwestel Inc. (Northwestel) requesting an extension of time to file its response to a request for information (RFI) issued by Commission staff on 27 November 2020.

On 16 December 2020, Commission staff responded to Northwestel’s request, granting an extension until 28 January 2021.

Also on 16 December 2020, the Commission received a procedural request from Iristel Inc. (Iristel), which submits that:

On 18 December 2020, the Commission received a related procedural request by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), which notes the request made by Iristel and requests the same procedural changes.

On 5 January 2021, the Commission received a further related procedural request by the Government of Yukon, acknowledging the procedural requests made by Iristel and PIAC, and supporting an amendment to the deadline for filing interventions. The Government of Yukon also refers to the public opinion research (POR) produced on behalf of the Commission, aimed at gathering the opinions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons living in Canada’s North with respect to their telecommunications services, which has yet to be placed on the record of the proceeding. The Government of Yukon notes that an amendment to the intervention deadline would provide further time to evaluate the POR.

With respect to the POR, it has been published on the Commission’s website as of 11 January 2021 and parties will have sufficient time to comment it before the intervention deadline.

Currently, the deadline to file interventions established by TNC 2020-367 is 20 January 2021. Commission staff notes that granting these requests would entail a significant extension of the deadline for parties to submit interventions.

This proceeding raises important issues for Canadians living in the North and must progress in a timely manner. As a result, the intervention deadline of 20 January 2021 will not be extended at this time.

Nonetheless, to ensure a complete and robust record, as well as to afford all parties sufficient opportunity to submit comments regarding information provided by Northwestel in response to the RFI issued on 27 November 2020, the following additional process is set out with respect to that RFI:

Parties will have an opportunity to file additional comments strictly limited to the information provided by Northwestel in its responses to the RFI. Parties will also have the opportunity to file replies to any comments submitted in response to Northwestel’s RFI responses. Commission staff will establish the process and dates by which they must be filed once disclosure requests are resolved.

Requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential are addressed in light of sections 38 and 39 of the Telecommunications Act as well as sections 30 to 34 of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure.

In evaluating a request, an assessment is first made as to whether the information falls into a category of information that can be designated as confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Act. An assessment is then made as to whether disclosure of particular information is in the public interest; regard is generally had to whether the disclosure would result in specific direct harm and whether that harm outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Harm may be more likely to outweigh the public interest where the information is more disaggregated or where the degree of competition is greater. Conversely, the public interest may be more likely to outweigh any harm where the information is more important to the ability of the Commission to obtain a full and complete record on which to make its decision.

Further information regarding the general procedures and the factors considered may be found in Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961, 23 December 2010, as amended by Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961-1, 26 October 2012.

A copy of this letter will be placed on the public record of this proceeding.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Lisanne Legros
Director, Telecommunications Networks Policy
Telecommunications Sector

cc:       Suneil Kanjeekal, CRTC, 613-668-6561,
Nicolas Gatto, CRTC, 873-353-9280,
Simon Wozny, CRTC, 873-455-4630,
Northwestel Inc.,

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