Departmental Results Report 2019-20
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage
Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, 2020
Catalogue No. BC9-27E-PDF
- Minister’s message
- Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer’s message
- Results at a glance and operating context
- Results: what we achieved
- Analysis of trends in spending and human resources
- Additional information
- Appendix 1: definitions
- Appendix 2: Report on Accessibility
In 2019–20, the organizations in the Canadian Heritage Portfolio—including the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)—realized a number of important accomplishments in the fields of broadcasting and telecommunications. By promoting innovation, talent, diversity and inclusion for everyone in our society, they enrich our lives considerably. They also highlight our linguistic duality as well as Indigenous languages and cultures, which are an invaluable treasure.
Over the course of the year, the CRTC completed the first review phase of its Indigenous Broadcasting Policy by inviting Indigenous broadcasters, content creators and artists from Canada’s Indigenous broadcasting community to participate in national engagement sessions.
A notice of proceeding to review the commercial radio policy framework was also published. As Canada marks 100 years of radio this year, it is important to continue to ensure that the broadcasting system serves the needs and interests of Canadians while also reflecting their circumstances.
Various measures were also taken in 2019–20 to continue protecting Canadian communications services consumers. Notably, as a follow-up to the Report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Retail Sales Practices, published in 2018, the commission launched a pilot secret shopper program to better understand how service providers’ front-line employees sell services and the customer’s experience in the sales process.
Finally, work to bridge the digital divide under the Broadband Fund has been initiated. With this project, the Commission is helping to ensure that all Canadian households, particularly those in rural and remote areas, have adequate access to high-speed Internet services.
As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I invite you to have a look at the 2019–20 Departmental Results Report for the CRTC. You will see that this organization has spared no effort throughout the year to achieve its mission. I would like to thank the entire team at the CRTC for pursuing their efforts despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and for facing unprecedented challenges in order to serve Canadians.
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer’s message
I am pleased to submit the CRTC’s 2019–2020 Departmental Results Report. Again this year, despite world events, we have continued our efforts to ensure that Canadians have access to a world-class communications system.
As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, our communications system is playing an essential role in the life of Canadians more than ever before. In this context, we are paying special attention to industry efforts to support consumers in these difficult times.
The Universal Broadband Fund will go a long way to bridge the digital divide. Two calls for applications have been issued this year: one for northern and satellite-dependent communities, and a second one to improve broadband Internet access services across Canada. In August 2020, we announced the first five projects selected in the first call for applications to improve Internet access services for more than 10,100 households in 51 northern communities. With regard to the second call, the Commission has started to evaluate the projects submitted and those selected will be announced as soon as possible.
In February 2020, the Commission also held a public hearing on the mobile wireless review. The objective of this process is to ensure that the regulatory framework promotes sustainable competition that will lead to lower prices, innovative services and continued investment in high-quality networks across the country. We will publish our decision in the coming year.
At the end of 2019, we launched a public consultation as part of CBC/Radio-Canada’s licence renewal process. The Commission asked Canadians to consider how CBC/Radio-Canada’s content is made available to them on various platforms, among other things. To facilitate participation, in addition to using our usual channels, we organized a consultation on Facebook. The next step in this process will be a public hearing in January 2021.
In 2019–2020, the Commission also continued its efforts to better protect Canadians. In December 2019, telecommunications service providers implemented a call blocking system to better protect their subscribers from unsolicited calls. In addition, the CRTC expects providers to implement new standards called STIR/SHAKEN. These standards verify and authenticate a caller’s identity. Finally, the Internet Services Code came into effect in January 2020, providing Canadians with new safeguards when subscribing to Internet services.
I am proud of what we have accomplished over the past fiscal year. Despite the uncertainty of recent months, and given the growing importance of our communications system in the circumstances, we will continue to deliver our mandate and pursue our regulatory efforts in the public interest.
Results at a glance and operating context
The CRTC’s operating context is the global communications landscape, which is subject to continual, rapid technological advancement.
Canadians now rely on high-quality broadband Internet access service that has transformed everyday activities, such as civic participation, and the creation and consumption of audio-visual content, to name a few.
In 2018, the Government of Canada announced a review of the Telecommunications Act (1993) and the Broadcasting Act (1991) by an expert review panelEndnote i in order to modernize the legislative framework that applies to Canadian communications.
In January 2020, the review panel presented its final report, Canada's Communications Future: Time to ActEndnote ii to the Government of Canada. The report made specific recommendations that touched on the following main themes:
- Reducing barriers to access by all Canadians to advanced telecommunications networks;
- Supporting the creation, production and discoverability of Canadian content;
- Improving the rights of the digital consumer; and
- Renewing the institutional framework for the communications sector.
Changes from that review are still pending.
In addition, the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into force in July 2019. The ACA aims to facilitate the creation of a barrier-free Canada where all persons have access to full and equal participation in society, and to ensure that laws, policies, programs, services and structures take into account the perspectives of people of all abilities. These goals extend to the CRTC and the industries it regulates.
The ACA amended the CRTC Act, requiring the CRTC to report annually on specific accessibility indicators. Beginning in 2020, the CRTC must submit an annual report, to be tabled in Parliament, on the number of formal inquiries, inspections, notices of violation or orders it has conducted or issued regarding accessibility matters. This year’s annual report, for the period from July 2019 to March 2020, can be found in Appendix 2 to this document.
In this context, the CRTC achieved the following key results for 2019-20:
- Launched calls for applications for the Broadband Fund, requesting applications first to improve broadband access in the Canadian territories and satellite-dependent communities, then for projects in Canada’s underserved regions.
- Established a mandatory code of conduct for Internet service providers that addresses contract clarity, reduces barriers to switching service providers and will help resolve consumers’ problems with bill shock.
- Addressed caller ID spoofingFootnote 1 by requiring telecommunications service providers (TSPs) to implement universal network-level call blocking within their networks and by expecting them to authenticate the origins of calls by implementing the STIR/SHAKENFootnote 2 technical standard.
- Protected Bell Canada subscribers from losing access to the TVA Sports signal by imposing a mandatory order requiring TVA Group to comply with the Commission’s regulations after urgently calling it to appear at a public hearing to explain its decision to block the signal for Bell Canada subscribers.
The CRTC’s total actual spending in 2019-20 was $69,549,121 and its total number of actual full-time equivalents was 499.
For more information on the CRTC’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.
What funds were used?
Who was involved?
Results: what we achieved
Regulate and Supervise Canada’s Communications System
The CRTC is an administrative tribunal that is responsible for regulating and supervising Canada’s communications system in the public interest.
Established to develop, implement and enforce regulatory policies on the Canadian communications system, the CRTC performs a wide range of functions, including rule making and policy development. It has the quasi-judicial powers of a superior court with respect to the production and examination of evidence and the enforcement of its decisions. As an administrative tribunal it operates at arm’s length from the federal government.
The CRTC develops regulatory policies for Canada’s communication system; approves mergers, acquisitions and changes of ownership of broadcasting distribution undertakings; approves tariffs and agreements for certain telecommunication services; issues, renews and amends licenses for broadcasting distribution and programming undertakings; and resolves competitive disputes. The CRTC intervenes specifically in situations where market forces alone cannot achieve the policy objectives set out within its legislative mandate.
Departmental Results 1 and 4: “Canadian content is created” as a result of processes that are efficient and fair
The CRTC met its results with respect to its role in creating Canadian content. The total investment in Canadian TV programming production for 2019-20 exceeded the minimum target of $4 billion at $4.16 billion.
To fulfil its commitments set out in the 2019–20 Departmental Plan, the CRTC:
- Protected Bell Canada subscribers from losing access to the TVA Sports signal by imposing a mandatory orderEndnote iii requiring TVA Group to comply with the Commission’s regulations after urgently calling it to appear at a public hearingEndnote iv to explain its decision to block the signal for Bell Canada subscribers;
- ApprovedEndnote v a licence for Rogers’ OMNI Regional service following the issuance of a competitive call for applicationsEndnote vi for a new multilingual and multi-ethnic television service to receive mandatory distribution. The new licence takes effect on September 1, 2020, and will enhance the television broadcasting content, including news and information, available to Canada’s ethnically diverse communities;
- Initiated a public consultation, which will include a public hearing in January 2021, to renew the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada’s broadcasting licences;
- Launched several public consultation processes to:
- co-develop a new policy for Indigenous broadcastingEndnote vii
in Canada with Indigenous Peoples;
- review the commercial radio policy frameworkEndnote viii,
which includes policies on diversity of ownership, Canadian content levels, local news, French vocal music requirements and Canadian content development; and
- update its policy on Canadian programming expendituresEndnote ix
with a view of ensuring that broadcasters are effectively supporting the production of Canadian content;
- co-develop a new policy for Indigenous broadcastingEndnote vii
- Established a new quality standard for the accuracy of closed captioning for live English-language television programming based on a proposal by a working group composed of closed captioning users and providers, a captioning school and broadcasters;
- Began monitoring metrics related to women in key creative positions in Canadian productions and to programming produced by Indigenous producers through a new annual Production Report filed by the large French- and English-language ownership groups;
- Began developing a digital system for monitoring programming compliance in the radio market, which will also improve business processes and data analytics, and will be accompanied by a music database available to the public;
- Conducted a proceeding to begin gathering new information from Canadian broadcasters on their digital media activities through an annual digital media survey to gain a better understanding of how those activities are related to their traditional services and how all of their services are changing in an increasingly digital environment.
Departmental Results 2 and 4: “Canadians are connected to world-class communications services” as a result of processes that are efficient and fair
The CRTC is on track to meet its targets for connecting Canadians to world-class communications services. In 2019-20, 87.3% of households have access to fixed broadband 50/10 Internet access services with the option of an unlimited data plan: on track to meet the 90% target by December 2021. The percentage of households that have access to the latest mobile wireless technology (LTE) is 99.48%: on track to meet the 100% target by December 2026. Finally, Canada had a 6.4 percentage point lead on the OECD average of total high capacity fixed broadband subscriptions. Although the target of a 7.9 percentage point lead was not met, Canada registered its largest increase in subscriptions to high capacity broadband connections in 2019Footnote 3. The lower 2019 percentage point result can therefore be attributed to other OECD countries registering faster take-up for these connections, and especially fibre connections, than in previous years. It can also be attributed in part to the continued, albeit slowly decreasing, reliance by Canadian households on digital subscriber line (DSL) connections, which are not considered high capacity broadband connections.
The 2019–20 Departmental Plan stated that the CRTC would continue to ensure that Canadians are connected to world-class communications services. In fulfilment of these commitments, the CRTC:
- Launched the firstEndnote x and second calls for applicationsEndnote xi for the Broadband Fund. The first call requested applications for funding for projects to build or upgrade access and transport broadband infrastructure or mobile wireless networks in the Canadian territories and satellite-dependent communities (decision published August 12, 2020). The second call requested applications for all eligible projects to improve broadband access in all regions of Canada;
- Set final rates for wholesale high-speed access services, which will facilitate greater competition and promote innovative broadband services and more affordable prices for consumers. Following applications by the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and the cable companies, Telecom Order CRTC 2019-288Endnote xii was stayed after appeals with the Federal Court of Appeal and petitions to the Governor in Council. The Order is also being reviewed following review and vary and stay applications filed with the CRTC by the ILECs and cable companies;
- Held a public hearingEndnote xiii in February 2020 to review the regulatory framework for mobile wireless services in order to explore ways to further improve the choice and affordability of these services for Canadians;
- Completed its review of the price cap and local forbearance regimes to ensure that the interests of consumers continue to be protected in less competitive markets and that the tariffed rates in those areas remain just and reasonable;
- Launched a public consultationEndnote xiv to review the methodology and approach to rate setting for wholesale telecommunications services in order to establish a more transparent and efficient rate-setting process while ensuring that wholesale rates continue to be just and reasonable;
- Launched a public consultation to address barriers to the extension of competitive broadband-capable networks into underserved areas in order to improve access to high-quality voice services and broadband Internet access services;
- Commissioned public opinion research through online qualitative interviews with video relay serviceFootnote 4 (VRS) customers as an initial step for the review of the regulatory framework for VRS. The findings will provide a better understanding of the lived experiences of VRS users as input to the upcoming proceeding;
- Launched a second phase in the Measuring Broadband Canada project, which tests the speeds of home wireline broadband Internet services across Canada. The results of this project will provide Canadians with insight into the performance of their broadband services, including whether participating Internet service providers (ISPs) are delivering speeds as advertised, while helping ISPs improve their networks to better serve Canadian consumers;
- Established an exemption to the telecommunications services resellers’ registration obligations. This exemption prevents placing an unnecessary burden on the Commission, carriers and resellers, while it enhances and protects the rights of consumers and enables innovation of telecommunications services.
Departmental Results 3 and 4: Canadians are protected within the communications system as a result of processes that are efficient and fair
The CRTC met two of its three results targets for protecting Canadians within the communications system: 100% of facilities-based telecommunications service providers (TSPs) were in compliance with 9-1-1 requirements (target of 100%); and 100% of organizations remained compliantFootnote 5 after enforcement action was taken on unsolicited commercial communications, surpassing the target of 80%. However, 87.5% of broadcasters and wireless service providers (WSPs) participated in the National Public Alerting System (NPAS), missing the target of 90% participation. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CRTC was unable to obtain accurate results from all WSPs regarding their public alerting services. The current result is therefore based on broadcasters’ results only. Furthermore, the current indicator measures the compliance rate of entities. It measures entities with multiple large undertakings serving major urban centers on an equal footing with entities with only a single community, Indigenous or other independent broadcaster serving a small community. The majority of non-compliant entities are small and have ongoing financial and personnel challenges that have prevented them from meeting their public alerting commitments, whereas the large entities have fully met their commitments towards public alerting. Accordingly, the current result does not reflect the actual rate of public alerting services available to Canadians. Two new indicators, which can be found in the 2020-21 Departmental PlanEndnote xv, will better measure the availability of public alerting services in Canada.
The 2019–20 Departmental Plan stated that the CRTC would help protect Canadians within the communications system. It fulfilled this commitment in the following ways:
- Established a mandatory code of conduct for Internet service providersEndnote xvi. The Code applies to individual retail consumers of the large Internet service providers (ISPs). It addresses contract clarity, reduces barriers to switching service providers and helps resolve consumers’ problems with bill shock;
- Identified malicious websites associated with the COVID-19 pandemicFootnote 6 and worked with partners to have them shut down as quickly as possible;
- Used its social media platforms to advise Canadians on how to report and stay vigilant against emerging scams related to COVID-19;
- Continued to implement and monitor its activities to address issues identified in the February 2019 Report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Sales PracticesEndnote xvii, including:
- Initiated a show cause proceedingEndnote xix in August 2019 to consider whether cellphone financing plans, including those with terms longer than 24 months, are compliant with the Wireless Code;
- Co-created the Council of Federal Accessibility AgenciesEndnote xx to allow organizations responsible for enforcing the Accessible Canada Act to work collaboratively to refer federal accessibility complaints to the right organization and to foster complementary policies and practices;
- Initiated a public proceedingEndnote xxi in March 2020 to obtain a better understanding of whether and in what circumstances Canadians should receive paper or electronic bills as many communications service providers transition from paper to electronic billing;
- Supported the development and implementation of additional technical solutions to restore trust in caller ID information by:
- requiring telecommunications service providers (TSPs) to implement universal network-level call blocking within their networks by December 2019;
- assigning the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Network Working Group to examine and report on measures that could be implemented to reduce caller ID spoofing and to determine the origins of nuisance calls; and
- issuing a call for comments on its proposal to require Canadian carriers and other TSPs to implement the STIR/SHAKEN technical standard to further combat caller ID spoofing and authenticate the origins of nuisance calls, as a condition of offering and providing telecommunications services;
- Continued to promote and enforce compliance with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (UTRs), the Voter Contact Registry, and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL);
- Issued a total amount of $943,330 in administrative monetary penalties for alleged violations under either the UTRs or CASL;
- Issued a $100,000 administrative monetary penalty on an individual, for the first time, for violations of CASL committed by a corporationEndnote xxii.
- Monitored the implementation of its 2017 directiveEndnote xxiii to telephone and mobile wireless service companies to update their networks to support next-generation 9-1-1 services in Canada in 2020. This included the achievement of various milestones, including the completion, in September 2019, of a first successful test call placed over the Bell Canada next-generation 9-1-1 network to a 9-1-1 call centre in the Centrale des Appels d’Urgence Chaudière-Appalaches in Quebec;
- Monitored the participation of Canadian broadcasters and wireless service providers in the National Public Alerting System (NPAS)Endnote xxiv. This system ensures that Canadians receive emergency alert messages at times of imminent or unfolding hazards to life and property, which includes amber alerts and natural or environmental disasters, for example.
The CRTC continued to experiment with new approaches and instill a culture of measurement, evaluation and innovation in program and policy design. However, no specific experimentation activities and no additional financial or human resources were planned for activities in 2019-20.
|Departmental results||Performance indicators||Target||Date to achieve target||2017–18 Actual results||2018–19 Actual results||2019–20 Actual results|
|Canadian content is created||Total investment in Canadian television programming production||Between $4.0 and $4.5B||March 2020||4.11 B||4.21 B||4.16 B|
|Canadians are connected to world-class communications services||% of households that have access to fixed broadband Internet access servicesFootnote 7||At least 90%||December 2021||84.1%||85.7%||87.3%Footnote 9|
|100%||December 2036Footnote 8|
|% of households that have access to the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technologyFootnote 10||100%||December 2026||99%||99.2%||99.48%Footnote 11|
|% of total fixed broadband subscriptions that are high capacity network connectionsFootnote 12 compared to the OECD average||At least a 7.9 percentage point leadFootnote 13||December 2020||Not available||7.6||6.4Footnote 14|
|Canadians are protected within the communications system||% of organizations that remain compliant within 12 months after compliance / enforcement action is taken on unsolicited commercial communications||At least 80%||March 2020||100%||100%||100%|
|% of broadcasters and wireless service providers participating in public alerting system||At least 90%||March 2020||Not available||83.4%Footnote 15||87.5%Footnote 16|
|% of facilities-based telecommunications service providers in compliance with 911 requirements||100%||March 2020||100%||100%||100%|
|Proceedings related to the regulation of the communications system are efficient and fair||% of decisions on telecom and broadcasting applications (Part 1) issued within four months of the close of record||At least 75%||March 2020||74%||81%||64%|
|Number of decisions overturned on judicial appeal related to procedural fairness||0||March 2020||Not available||0||0|
Note: Some data in the table above are not available because the departmental result indicators were new and the CRTC hadn’t started reporting data on these indicators.
|2019–20 Main Estimates||2019–20 Planned spending||2019–20 Total authorities available for use||2019–20 Actual spending (authorities used)||2019–20 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)|
|2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents||2019–20 Actual full-time equivalents||2019–20 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)|
Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:
- Acquisition Management Services
- Communication Services
- Financial Management Services
- Human Resources Management Services
- Information Management Services
- Information Technology Services
- Legal Services
- Material Management Services
- Management and Oversight Services
- Real Property Management Services
In 2019-20, the CRTC continued to transform the organization into one that is “digital by design” through the following actions:
- Ensured that all employees could concurrently and securely access the CRTC network and collaborate with their colleagues from anywhere at any time by:
- Equipping all employees with mobile devices, including tablets, laptops and smartphones;
- Adopting Commission-wide instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing functionality; and
- Increasing overall Internet bandwidth and VPN access;
- Reviewed and automated several new and legacy business processes; and
- Improved the usability and accuracy of the external search engine to allow Canadians to more easily find information on the CRTC website.
The CRTC also committed to implement the Government of Canada Financial and Materiel Management solution in 2019-20. However, given that the project is currently a year behind schedule, the CRTC will implement the solution April 1, 2022.
In 2019-20, the CRTC prepared to implement its responsibilities under the Accessible Canada Act through numerous activities and educational events, such as the following:
- development of an internal briefing to outline the CRTC's mandate and internal responsibilities in regards to accessibility;
- participation in all Spotlight on ACCESSibility Series sessions and in the February 2020 virtual town hall discussion on accessibility in the public service; and
- creation of an accessibility practices inventory to document existing Commission practices and identify gaps.
The CRTC also participated in the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) pre-engagement consultations on proposed regulations under the Accessible Canada Act.
Finally, to ensure a healthy and respectful workplace, in September 2019, the CRTC entered into a memorandum of understanding with Health Canada to access their Ombuds services for all employees. This supported the implementation of the CRTC harassment action plan (updated in 2020), and included information sessions and the launch of tools to help employees and managers navigate through the various services available to them in regards to workplace harassment, violence, conflict resolution and wellness (EAP). The CRTC also launched the second edition of its new internal survey entitled Introspect, which allowed for a deeper analysis of questions related to workplace issues.
|2019–20 Main Estimates||2019–20 Planned spending||2019–20 Total authorities available for use||2019–20 Actual spending (authorities used)*||2019–20 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)|
|2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents||2019–20 Actual full-time equivalents||2019–20 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)|
Analysis of trends in spending and human resources
The following graph presents planned (voted and statutory spending) over time.
|Voted and Vote-netted revenue||57,370,528||55,140,036||62,246,188||63,354,699||63,435,791||64,355,308|
Total spending pertains to expenditures incurred by the CRTC in relation to all funding authorities approved during the fiscal year. Funding authorities include all parliamentary appropriations and revenue sources: Main Estimates, Supplementary Estimates, Treasury Board Vote transfers (including the operating budget carry forward), and revenues from broadcasting licence fees (Part I), telecommunications fees and unsolicited telecommunications fees.
For fiscal years 2017-18 to 2019-20, actual spending represents the actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts of Canada. For the period from 2020-21 to 2022-23, the planned spending reflects approved funding by Treasury Board to support CRTC’s programs, which includes the implementation and the operationalization of the project management function of the Broadband Fund, which started in 2019-20.
|Core responsibilities and Internal Services||2019–20 Main Estimates||2019–20 Planned spending||2020–21 Planned spending||2021–22 Planned spending||2019–20 Total authorities available for use||2019–20 Actual spending (authorities used)||2018–19 Actual spending (authorities used)||2017–18 Actual spending (authorities used)|
|Regulate and Supervise the Communications System||57,103,290||57,103,290||54,504,884||54,732,947||62,767,902||53,718,550||46,767,108||47,332,930|
|Total gross expenditures||74,139,200||74,139,200||71,097,216||71,194,522||80,415,344||69,549,121||61,403,210||63,604,746|
|Revenues netted against expenditures||61,291,806||61,291,806||58,301,542||58,430,072||63,104,797||57,489,023||50,322,766||51,560,113|
|Total net expenditures||12,847,394||12,847,394||12,795,674||12,764,450||17,310,547||12,060,098||11,080,444||12,044,633|
Note: Actual spending reflects gross expenditures, which include respendable revenues.
For fiscal years 2017-18 to 2019-20, actual spending represents the actual expenditures as reported in the Public Accounts of Canada.
The increase in actual spending between 2018-19 and 2019-20 is attributable to the ratification of collective agreements and, more importantly, to an increase in salary and O&M expenditures for the project management function of the Broadband Fund. A number of factors led to a significant underutilization of the CRTC’s authorities in 2019-20, such as the progressive implementation of the project management function of the Broadband Fund, the fact that the CRTC did not access the funding earmarked in Budget 2019 for Protecting Canada's Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats, temporary authorities that were not required in the fiscal year.
The planned spending for the fiscal years 2020-21 to 2021-22 corresponds to the planned spending level approved in the Main Estimates. Other items such as salary adjustments for new collective agreements and carry-forward adjustments are unknown at this time. Therefore, none of these adjustments is reflected. The planned spending for 2020-21 and 2021-22 is slightly lower than for 2019-20 as the CRTC had more spending authorities for the project management function of the Broadband Fund in the implementation year (2019-20) than in the following fiscal years.
|Core responsibilities and Internal Services||2019–20 Actual gross spending*||2019–20 Actual gross spending for specified purpose accounts||2019–20 Actual revenues netted against expenditures||2019–20 Actual net spending (authorities used)|
|Regulate and Supervise the Communications System||53,718,550||0||44,264,578||9,453,972|
CRTC’s revenues come from fees recovered pursuant to fee regulations established under the authority of the Broadcasting ActEndnote xxvi and the Telecommunications ActEndnote xxvii. These fees and the associated regulations are as follows:
- Part I broadcasting licence fees (Broadcasting Licence Fee Regulations, 1997Endnote xxviii);
- Annual telecommunications fees (Telecommunications Fees Regulations, 2010Endnote xxix); and
- Unsolicited telecommunications fees for compliance and enforcement activities related to the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) (Unsolicited Telecommunications Fees Regulations Endnote xxx).
Actual human resources
|Core responsibilities and Internal Services||2017–18 Actual full-time equivalents||2018–19 Actual full-time equivalents||2019–20 Planned full-time equivalents||2019–20 Actual full-time equivalents||2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents||2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents|
|Regulate and Supervise the Communications System||320||330||389||365||394||394|
The increase in full-time equivalents between fiscal years 2018-19 and 2019-20 is attributable to the implementation and the operationalization of the project management function of the Broadband Fund. Due to the progressive implementation of this new activity, the CRTC hired fewer employees than anticipated in 2019-20. The number of full-time equivalents is expected to continue to increase in 2020-21, but it will then stabilize as the project management function of the Broadband Fund is fully implemented and operationalized.
Expenditures by vote
Government of Canada spending and activities
Financial statements and financial statements highlights
Financial statements highlights
|Financial information||2019–20 Planned results||2019–20 Actual results||2018–19 Actual results||Difference (2019–20 Actual results minus 2019–20 Planned results)||Difference (2019–20 Actual results minus 2018–19 Actual results)|
|Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers||22,916,000||20,130,000||18,289,000||-2,786,000||1,841,000|
Note: These figures are net departmental revenues and do not include the revenues collected on behalf of the Government of Canada, which totalled $132.6 million for 2019–20 as compared to $127.1 million for 2018-19.
Revenues collected in 2019-20 totalled $190.1 million ($132.6 million + $57.5 million), a net increase of $12.7 million when compared to the total revenues collected in 2018-19. The increase is mainly attributable to an increase in regulatory fees and Part II broadcasting licence fees.
Expenses in 2019-20 totalled $77.6 million, an increase of $9.0 million when compared to 2018-19 total expenses. The increase is mainly attributable to the implementation of the Broadband Fund project management function and an increase in salaries due to the ratification of collective agreements, including retroactive payments dating back to 2014-15.
|Financial information||2019–20||2018–19||Difference (2019–20 minus 2018–19)|
|Total net liabilities||12,959,000||12,072,000||887,000|
|Total net financial assets||8,098,000||7,807,000||291,000|
|Departmental net debt||4,861,000||4,265,000||596,000|
|Total non-financial assets||3,620,000||3,795,000||-175,000|
|Departmental net financial position||-1,241,000||-470,000||-771,000|
Assets in 2019-20 totalled $11.7 million, which increased slightly ($11.6 million) when compared to 2018-19 total assets.
Liabilities in 2019-20 have increased by $0.9 million when compared to 2018-19 total liabilities. The increase is mainly attributable to an increase in accounts payable and vacation pay.
Appropriate ministers: The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, P.C., M.P.
Institutional head: Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer
Ministerial portfolio: Canadian Heritage
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ActEndnote xxxv
- Bell Canada ActEndnote xxxvi
- Broadcasting ActEndnote xxxvii
- Telecommunications ActEndnote xxxviii
- Canada Elections ActEndnote xxxix
- An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and the Telecommunications Act,Endnote xl referred to as “Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation” or “CASL” in this document.
Year of incorporation / commencement: 1968
Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do
CRTC’s Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory of record for 2019–20 are shown below.
|Departmental Results Framework||Regulate and Supervise Canada’s Communications System||Internal Services|
|Canadian content is created||Total investment in Canadian television programming production|
|Canadians are connected to world-class communications services||% of households that have access to fixed broadband Internet access services|
|% of households that have access to the latest generally deployed mobile wireless technology|
|% of total fixed broadband subscriptions that are high capacity network connections compared to the OECD average|
|Canadians are protected within the communications system||% of organizations that remain compliant within 12 months after compliance / enforcement action is taken on unsolicited commercial communications|
|% of broadcasters and wireless service providers participating in public alerting system|
|% of facilities-based telecommunications service providers in compliance with 911 requirements|
|Proceedings related to the regulation of the communications system are efficient and fair||% of decisions on Part 1 Applications issued within four months of the close of record|
|Number of decisions overturned on judicial appeal related to procedural fairness|
|Program Inventory||Support for Canadian content creation|
|Connection to the communications system|
|Protection within the communications system|
Supporting information on the Program Inventory
Supplementary information tables
The following supplementary information tables are available on the CRTC’s website:
Federal tax expenditures
The tax system can be used to achieve public policy objectives through the application of special measures such as low tax rates, exemptions, deductions, deferrals and credits. The Department of Finance Canada publishes cost estimates and projections for these measures each year in the Report on Federal Tax ExpendituresEndnote xlv. This report also provides detailed background information on tax expenditures, including descriptions, objectives, historical information and references to related federal spending programs. The tax measures presented in this report are the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.
Organizational contact information
CRTC Central Office
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec J8X 4B1
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
Toll-free: 1-877-249-CRTC (2782)
Toll-free TTY line: 1-877-909-CRTC (2782)
TTY line: 819-994-0423
- appropriation (crédit)
- Any authority of Parliament to pay money out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
- budgetary expenditures (dépenses budgétaires)
- Operating and capital expenditures; transfer payments to other levels of government, organizations or individuals; and payments to Crown corporations.
- core responsibility (responsabilité essentielle)
- An enduring function or role performed by a department. The intentions of the department with respect to a core responsibility are reflected in one or more related departmental results that the department seeks to contribute to or influence.
- Departmental Plan (plan ministériel)
- A report on the plans and expected performance of an appropriated department over a 3-year period. Departmental Plans are usually tabled in Parliament each spring.
- departmental priority (priorité)
- A plan or project that a department has chosen to focus and report on during the planning period. Priorities represent the things that are most important or what must be done first to support the achievement of the desired departmental results.
- departmental result (résultat ministériel)
- A consequence or outcome that a department seeks to achieve. A departmental result is often outside departments’ immediate control, but it should be influenced by program-level outcomes.
- departmental result indicator (indicateur de résultat ministériel)
- A quantitative measure of progress on a departmental result.
- departmental results framework (cadre ministériel des résultats)
- A framework that connects the department’s core responsibilities to its departmental results and departmental result indicators.
- Departmental Results Report (rapport sur les résultats ministériels)
- A report on a department’s actual accomplishments against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in the corresponding Departmental Plan.
- experimentation (expérimentation)
- The conducting of activities that seek to first explore, then test and compare the effects and impacts of policies and interventions in order to inform evidence-based decision-making, and improve outcomes for Canadians, by learning what works, for whom and in what circumstances. Experimentation is related to, but distinct from innovation (the trying of new things), because it involves a rigorous comparison of results. For example, using a new website to communicate with Canadians can be an innovation; systematically testing the new website against existing outreach tools or an old website to see which one leads to more engagement, is experimentation.
- full-time equivalent (FTE) (équivalent temps plein (ETP))
- A measure of the extent to which an employee represents a full person-year charge against a departmental budget. For a particular position, the full-time equivalent figure is the ratio of number of hours the person actually works divided by the standard number of hours set out in the person’s collective agreement.
- gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) (analyse comparative entre les sexes plus [ACS+])
- An analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people experience policies, programs and services based on multiple factors including race ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
- government-wide priorities (priorités pangouvernementales)
- For the purpose of the 2019–20 Departmental Results Report, those high-level themes outlining the government’s agenda in the 2019 Speech from the Throne, namely: Fighting climate change; Strengthening the Middle Class; Walking the road of reconciliation; Keeping Canadians safe and healthy; and Positioning Canada for success in an uncertain world.
- horizontal initiative (initiative horizontale)
- An initiative where two or more federal organizations are given funding to pursue a shared outcome, often linked to a government priority.
- non-budgetary expenditures (dépenses non budgétaires)
- Net outlays and receipts related to loans, investments and advances, which change the composition of the financial assets of the Government of Canada.
- performance (rendement)
- What an organization did with its resources to achieve its results, how well those results compare to what the organization intended to achieve, and how well lessons learned have been identified.
- performance indicator (indicateur de rendement)
- A qualitative or quantitative means of measuring an output or outcome, with the intention of gauging the performance of an organization, program, policy or initiative respecting expected results.
- performance reporting (production de rapports sur le rendement)
- The process of communicating evidence-based performance information. Performance reporting supports decision making, accountability and transparency.
- plan (plan)
- The articulation of strategic choices, which provides information on how an organization intends to achieve its priorities and associated results. Generally, a plan will explain the logic behind the strategies chosen and tend to focus on actions that lead to the expected result.
- planned spending (dépenses prévues)
For Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports, planned spending refers to those amounts presented in Main Estimates.
A department is expected to be aware of the authorities that it has sought and received. The determination of planned spending is a departmental responsibility, and departments must be able to defend the expenditure and accrual numbers presented in their Departmental Plans and Departmental Results Reports.
- program (programme)
- Individual or groups of services, activities or combinations thereof that are managed together within the department and focus on a specific set of outputs, outcomes or service levels.
- program inventory (répertoire des programmes)
- Identifies all the department’s programs and describes how resources are organized to contribute to the department’s core responsibilities and results.
- result (résultat)
- A consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Results are not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence.
- statutory expenditures (dépenses législatives)
- Expenditures that Parliament has approved through legislation other than appropriation acts. The legislation sets out the purpose of the expenditures and the terms and conditions under which they may be made.
- target (cible)
- A measurable performance or success level that an organization, program or initiative plans to achieve within a specified time period. Targets can be either quantitative or qualitative.
- voted expenditures (dépenses votées)
- Expenditures that Parliament approves annually through an appropriation act. The vote wording becomes the governing conditions under which these expenditures may be made.
Appendix 2: Report on Accessibility
The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) came into force in July 2019. The ACA aims to facilitate the creation of a barrier-free Canada where all persons have access to full and equal participation in society, and to ensure that laws, policies, programs, services and structures take into account the perspectives of people of all abilities. These goals extend to the CRTC and the industries it regulates.
The ACA amended the CRTC Act, requiring the CRTC to report annually on specific accessibility indicators. These are the results for the CRTC for the 2019-20 fiscal year:
|Measure||Number of Incidences|
|(a) Inquiries conducted under subsection 12(1) of the Broadcasting Act in relation to the identification, prevention and removal of barriers||4|
|(b) Inquiries conducted under subsection 12(1) of the Broadcasting Act in relation to sections 42 to 44 of the Accessible Canada Act||nil|
|(c) Orders made under subsection 12(2) of the Broadcasting Act in relation to the identification, prevention and removal of barriers||nil|
|(d) Orders made under subsection 12(2) of the Broadcasting Act in relation to sections 42 to 44 of the Accessible Canada Act||nil|
|Measure||Number of Incidences|
|(a) Inspections conducted under section 71 of the Telecommunications Act in relation to compliance with decisions made under that Act in relation to the identification, prevention and removal of barriers||nil|
|(b) Inspections conducted under section 71 of the Telecommunications Act in relation to compliance with sections 51 to 53 of the Accessible Canada Act||Not applicable|
|(c) Orders made under section 51 of the Telecommunications Act in relation to the identification, prevention and removal of barriers||nil|
|(d) Orders made under section 51 of the Telecommunications Act in relation to sections 51 to 53 of the Accessible Canada Act||Not applicable|
|(e) Notices of violation issued under section 72.005 of the Telecommunications Act in relation to contraventions of decisions made under that Act in relation to the identification, prevention and removal of barriers||nil|
|(f) Notices of violation issued under section 72.005 of the Telecommunications Act in relation to contraventions of any of subsections 51(1) to (4) and (7), 52(1) to (3) and 53(1) to (3) and (6) of the Accessible Canada Act||Not applicable|
|(g) Inquiries conducted under subsection 48(1) of the Telecommunications Act in relation to the identification, prevention and removal of barriers||4|
|(h) Inquiries conducted under subsection 48(1.1) of the Telecommunications Act||nil|
As set out in the first table above, the Commission conducted four inquiries under subsection 12(1) of the Broadcasting Act:
New closed captioning mandatory quality standards related to English-language live programming
In August 2019, the Commission approved a new accuracy rate and measurement model for closed captioning of English-language live programming (Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2019-308).
Exception to described video requirement for prime-time programming, including regular progress reports
The Commission approved, in December 2019, an exception to the condition of licence for Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. (Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2019-392) that requires prime-time programming to be broadcast with described video (DV). The exception allows these licensees to broadcast U.S. programming received without described video when it is received less than 24 hours prior to broadcast. The evidence indicated that a DV requirement could not reasonably be met in these limited circumstances.
The Commission required licensees to monitor the impact of this decision on their viewers and encouraged these licensees to consult regularly with persons with disabilities to collaboratively develop solutions. The Commission also required these licensees to file progress reports regarding these consultations with the Commission every six months beginning in June 2020.
Conditions of licence and expectations relating to accessibility for Bell TV and Shaw Direct
In the context of the licence renewal proceedings for Bell TV and Shaw Direct (Broadcasting Decisions 2019-387 and 2019-388), the Commission inquired into the licensees’ ability and willingness to comply with certain conditions of licence, requirements and expectations relating to accessibility, including those implementing certain aspects of the Commission’s accessibility policy (Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-430). The licensees agreed to adhere to these. However, both licensees requested an exception to the provision of audio description for news and information programming given that neither service provides such programming. The Commission imposed the standard conditions of licence and expectations relating to accessibility for both services, with the exception of the conditions relating to audio description.
As set out in the second table above, the Commission conducted four inquiries under subsection 48(1) of the Telecommunications Act:
The Commission created and published the Internet Code in July 2019 (Telecom Regulatory Policy 2019-269) to make it easier for Canadians to understand their Internet service contracts, to prevent bill shock from overage fees and price increases, and to make it easier for Canadians to switch Internet service providers. The Code came into force in January 2020 and includes protections for persons with disabilities, such as longer trial periods; providing contracts and critical information summaries in accessible alternative formats; and ensuring data monitoring tools are accessible to customers with disabilities.
Funding for Video Relay Service (VRS)
In December 2019, the Commission approved the Canadian Administrator of VRS (CAV), Inc. (CAV)’s application for $16,032,739 in funding from the National Contribution Fund to enable the CAV to continue to offer video relay service in Canada for 2020 (Telecom Decision 2019-394). This decision will ensure that Canadian VRS is fully funded for 2020 and that, as a result, telecommunications subscribers with disabilities are able to access basic telecommunications services using American Sign Language and Langue des signes québécoise.
Wireless Code compliance reports
As part of the Review of the Wireless Code, the Commission directed wireless service providers to submit annual compliance reports by 31 March of each year. The Wireless Code includes protections for Canadians with disabilities, such as longer trial periods; and providing contracts and critical information summaries in accessible alternative formats. These reports are available on the CRTC website.
VRS public opinion research
The CRTC committed to undertake a comprehensive review of VRS three years after the service becomes operational (Telecom Regulatory Policy 2014-187). As a preliminary step of that review, the CRTC commissioned a third-party company to conduct a qualitative public opinion research study (focus groups) with users of VRS. This research, which was conducted over fall and winter 2019-20, sought objective insights into the views and experiences of Canadians who use VRS in Canada. The overall objective of the research was to collect the user experiences of registered VRS subscribers to help determine what is working well, how VRS should be improved and how the service might be extended. The resulting report will be published by Library and Archives Canada and will be added to the record of the proceeding to review VRS.
In addition to the specific measures reported above, the CRTC also initiated work on its “No Wrong Door” Policy, which responds to the requirement set out in section 122(1) of the Accessible Canada ActFootnote 17. The “No Wrong Door” Policy is a collaboration between the CRTC, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Canadian Transportation Agency, and the Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (and will include the Accessibility Commissioner as soon as one is appointed), which will result in the coordinated handling of accessibility-related complaints. The intent of the Policy is to remove barriers to the complaints process by creating a simplified and seamless experience for Canadians who need to file a complaint.
To complement its work on the “No Wrong Door” Policy, the CRTC has already begun to improve the way it serves Canadians with disabilities. For instance, the CRTC has made internal system upgrades to digitize its teletypewriter (TTY) service. This technical upgrade results in faster response times for Canadians using TTY and ensures that services are not interrupted due to CRTC building closures. As an active participant of the “No Wrong Door” Working Group, the CRTC has also updated its Support Centre webpage to highlight the mandates of the Working Group partner agencies to ensure Canadians are well informed when they file a complaint, thus contributing to a seamless approach to handling accessibility complaints.
In spring 2019, further to the CRTC’s Report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Retail Sales Practices, published in February 2019 in response to Order in Council P.C. 2018-0685, the CRTC contracted a third-party company to conduct a Secret Shopper Program. The Program’s objective is to better understand how consumers, particularly consumers who may be more vulnerable to aggressive or misleading sales practices, which includes Canadians with disabilities, experience the sales process for communications services. The Secret Shopper Program is a multi-year project that will allow the CRTC to continue to monitor Canadians’ experiences when interacting with their communications service providers. The Program will also allow the CRTC to proactively address potential barriers that it identifies. The CRTC will be able to take appropriate follow-up measures in light of the results of the Program; this may include the initiation of further public proceedings.
Based on the results of this annual report, the CRTC provides the following observations:
- Based on the Commission’s analysis and determinations in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2019-392, certain licensees of broadcasting undertakings cannot provide described video (DV) for U.S. programming received without DV less than 24 hours prior to air.
- Canadians with disabilities expressed through the Secret Shopper Program that they continue to face barriers in accessing appropriate communications goods or services that accommodate their needs.
- Video relay service (VRS), a service mandated by the CRTC, is highly valued and enhances the independence of Canadians who are Deaf or who have a speech disability and whose first language is sign language.
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