CRTC
Forecast
2020-2021

CRTC Forecast 2020-2021

The CRTC Forecast 2020-2021 supplements the CRTC Departmental Plan 2019-2020. Together, these publications are designed to help foster a predictable regulatory environment by providing advance public notice of the CRTC’s activities over the next two fiscal years (each running from 1 April to 31 March).

The CRTC will adjust its plans as needed, particularly given that proceedings may be initiated at any time by an application filed by a stakeholder or a member of the public (a “Part 1 proceeding”), a request from the Government of Canada, or on the CRTC’s own initiative, given that its broader operating environment is subject to change.

Highlights

Telecommunications

Improve broadband internet access service across Canada

The CRTC’s Broadband Fund will provide up to $750 million over its first five years to support projects that will improve broadband Internet access services to underserved Canadians. This funding will help ensure that Canadians, particularly those in rural and remote areas of Canada, can access affordable, high-quality fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services. In 2019, the CRTC will issue its first call for applications and begin the competitive process to evaluate and select projects.

In 2020-2021, the CRTC will assess the applications submitted by applicants to identify high-quality projects to be selected for broadband funding. Following approval of the statement of work for each project, the CRTC will distribute funding to chosen recipients who will begin implementing their broadband projects.

Despite the financial support to be received from the Broadband Fund or public funding, Internet Service Providers may face other challenges and obstacles which could limit their ability to provide improved broadband Internet access services in rural and remote areas. Therefore, in 2020-2021, the CRTC intends to examine other factors, such as the availability of transport services and access to support structures, which are essential for the full deployment of broadband Internet access services, and will initiate consultation proceedings as appropriate.

Implement the regulatory framework for mobile wireless services

Given the importance of mobile wireless services to Canadians and to the success of the digital economy, the Commission launched a comprehensive review of the regulatory framework for the mobile wireless market on 28 February 2019. The objective of the review is to determine how the CRTC can further improve competition, reduce barriers to entry, and address any concerns about affordability and service adoption in this market. A hearing is currently scheduled for January 2020.

In 2020-2021, the CRTC will oversee the implementation of its regulatory framework for mobile wireless services, and initiate follow-up proceedings, as required.

Determine configurations and rates for disaggregated wholesale high-speed access services

In 2020-2021, the CRTC plans to finalize the tariffs for disaggregated wholesale high-speed access services for incumbent carriers operating across Canada (other than Ontario and Quebec for Bell Canada, Cogeco, Rogers and Vidéotron), where appropriate.

Review wireline wholesale services & Interconnection

Effective competition requires that service providers interconnect with one another and make various wholesale services available to support residential and business retail markets. As networks modernize, however, the interconnection and wholesale service arrangements required to support retail services are subject to change.

In 2020-2021, the CRTC plans to examine the state of interconnection and various wireline wholesale services to ensure that the associated arrangements are facilitating the development of a competitive Canadian telecommunications market, while balancing the incentives to invest in innovative networks.

Review the CRTC’s approach to setting wholesale service rates

In 2019-2020, the CRTC will initiate a process to explore rate setting for wholesale services with the objective to make the process more transparent and efficient and ensure that the rates that the CRTC sets for wholesale services continue to be just and reasonable.

In 2020-2021, the CRTC plans to set out its determinations on the review of the wholesale service approach to setting rates.

Broadcasting

Review the Indigenous broadcasting policy

In 2019-2020, the CRTC will launch a multistage review of its Indigenous broadcasting policy, which will continue into 2020-2021. The review seeks to modernize the regulatory framework to ensure that it is effective and reflects the realities of radio stations serving Indigenous peoples. A renewed framework should contribute to diversity and inclusiveness by helping ensure that Canadian broadcasting is properly reflective of the cultures, languages, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples across Canada.

Initiate the renewal of the licences of CBC/Radio-Canada

In 2019-2020, the CRTC will initiate a process, including a public hearing, to renew the licences of the radio and TV stations owned by CBC/Radio-Canada. The CRTC plans to complete the process and issue new licences in 2020-2021. The terms of these licences will set the course of the national public broadcaster for the years to follow and position it to best contribute to Canada’s broadcasting policy objectives.

Review the Commercial radio policy

The CRTC will continue the process to modernize its regulatory framework for radio. The existing framework includes policies on diversity of ownership, Canadian content levels, local news, French vocal music requirements, Canadian content development and group-based licensing. A modernized framework will seek to position the radio market to best contribute to Canada’s broadcasting policy objectives.

Implement initiatives set out in “Harnessing Change”

As proposed in “Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada,” the CRTC will consider whether to examine new mechanisms to support television news production and to monitor the digital media environment.

Implement a digital monitoring system for radio

The CRTC will begin to implement a digital system for monitoring compliance in the radio market, which will also improve business processes and data analytics. This system will be accompanied by a database available to the public.

Consumer and public protection

Ensure compliance with the Accessible Canada Act (ACA)

The CRTC will continue to evaluate its internal policies and procedures, including, but not limited to human resources, information technologies and procurement, as well as the regulatory policies for the industry, to advance the objectives of the ACA and to comply with the spirit and letter of the Act.

Protect Canadians against nuisance calls and spam

The CRTC will continue to protect Canadians against nuisance calls and spam, by promoting and enforcing compliance with the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules (which protect Canadians against unwanted telemarketing calls by such means as the National Do Not Call List); Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation; and the Voter Contact Registry.

Measure National Broadband Performance

The CRTC will continue to work with stakeholders to launch the next phase in the measurement and collection of accurate data on broadband delivery and performance across Canada. This data, made public, will help Internet service providers improve their networks to better serve Canadian consumers.

Follow-up on the CRTC’s 2019 report on the retail sales practices of large TSPs

In 2020-2021, the CRTC will report on what activities it has undertaken to address issues identified in the February 2019 Report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Sales Practices and to empower consumers, promote fair treatment, and prevent misleading or aggressive sales practices.

  • CRTC Secret Shopper Program: the CRTC will assess what was accomplished in the first year of developing the CRTC Secret Shopper Program, including whether the program needs to be modified based the experience of the first year, and what the next steps should be.
  • Consolidating the CRTC’s various codes of conduct for service providers: The CRTC will begin preparing to consolidate the CRTC’s various codes of conduct for service providers, which will involve the launching of a CRTC proceeding. The objective will be to ensure customers – regardless of the communications service to which they subscribe – will benefit equitably from the protections put into place by the CRTC.

Evaluate next-generation 9-1-1 services

In June 2017, the CRTC set out the regulatory and policy framework for the implementation of next-generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) services in Canada to meet the evolving expectations of Canadians and new technologically advanced standards. NG9-1-1 voice services are expected by June 30, 2020 and NG9-1-1 text messaging services by December 31, 2020. These services will support new and innovative emergency services and capabilities, thereby enhancing the safety of Canadians.

The CRTC will assess and evaluate the implementation of NG9-1-1 services and will look onwards as to how to best leverage this advanced network to further improve public safety.

Monitor public emergency alerting

The CRTC will monitor the participation of Canadian broadcasters and wireless service providers in the National Public Alerting System (NPAS). This participation ensures that Canadians receive emergency alert messages at times of imminent or unfolding hazards to life, giving them the information they need to make informed decisions.

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