CRTC Forecast 2019-20

The CRTC Forecast 2019-20 supplements the CRTC Departmental Plan 2018-19. Together, these publications 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).

Key results delivered in 2017-18 are reported in the CRTC Departmental Results Report 2017-18, which was published in November 2018.

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



Implement the broadband funding regime

In 2017, the CRTC initiated a public consultation on the implementation of its broadband funding regime (Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2017-112), and a decision will be published in 2018. The decision will establish the policy for the implementation of the regime, including the governance structure for the Broadband Fund and the process to select projects for funding.

The CRTC plans to issue its first call for applications in 2019, followed by the assessment of the applications.

Review the regulatory framework for mobile wireless services

In 2018, the Commission noted that there had been positive signs in the competitiveness of the mobile wireless market but indicated that it planned to launch a review in 2019 to determine whether additional regulatory measures were necessary to further support the competitiveness of the market. Such measures could include mandating a wholesale service such as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) access service or developing policies that facilitate the sharing or deployment of wireless facilities.

Issue determinations in the review of the price cap and local forbearance regimes

Price cap regulation, which applies only to the incumbent telephone companies’ tariffed services, including local telephone service, generally places upward constraints on rates that phone companies can charge for telecommunications services.

The local forbearance regimes set out the criteria that the incumbent telephone companies are required to meet before the Commission will forbear from the rate regulation of certain local telephone services.

In 2019-20, the CRTC plans to release its determinations on its review of certain elements of the price cap and local forbearance regimes, including whether 1) changes to the pricing constraints for residential local telephone services are appropriate, 2) some form of compensation for the incumbent telephone companies is necessary as a result of the elimination of local service subsidy, and 3) any changes are required to the forbearance regimes for residential and business local telephone services.

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

The CRTC plans to issue a decision regarding the configurations 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).

The CRTC also plans to set 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 the CRTC’s approach to setting wholesale service rates

Telecommunications wholesale services rates set by the CRTC are generally supported by cost studies that include assumptions about various costing elements. In 2019, the CRTC plans to 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. This process will explore initiatives associated with rate setting, which will include reviewing alternative costing approaches, reviewing the feasibility of using a common economic model by wholesale service carriers to establish wholesale rates and reviewing certain costing rate-setting elements such as the cost of capital.


Consider applications for a new multi-ethnic TV channel

The CRTC will consider applications for a new multi-ethnic service with mandatory distribution.

Review the Indigenous radio policy

The CRTC will launch a review to ensure that the Indigenous broadcasting policy framework is effective and reflects the realities of radio stations serving Indigenous peoples (Public Notice CRTC 1990-89).

Renew broadcast licences for CBC/Radio-Canada

The CRTC will consider the applications for renewing the licences for CBC/Radio Canada.

Implement new initiatives set out in “Harnessing Change”

The CRTC’s May 2018 report, “Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada,” identifies a number of possible initiatives to address some of the issues that are discussed in the report. The CRTC may consider doing the following:

  • Re-examining its regulatory approach to radio – including, for example, the common ownership policy, Canadian content levels, French vocal music requirements, Canadian content development and group-based approaches;
  • Examining ways to support television news production through increased access to subscription revenues;
  • Re-examining the role and effectiveness of the existing regulatory approach to broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDU), including the BDU exemption order;
  • Implementing group-based approaches to BDUs, similar to those used for television programming services;
  • Implementing new approaches and technologies for content identification and tracking to provide improved data analytics and remove the need for traditional logs and monitoring requirements for television and radio programming services; and
  • Updating its definition of “Canadian programming expenditures” in the context of the digital environment.

Consumer and public protection

Establish a new quality standard for closed captioning of live English-language TV

The CRTC’s closed-captioning policy framework requires broadcasters to caption (i.e. subtitle) 100% of their programming for the benefit of people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Broadcasters are also required to meet certain quality standards for the accuracy of the closed captioning they provide, including for live programming. In 2016, the CRTC set out its decision to establish a new quality standard for the accuracy of closed captioning for live English-language TV programming (Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-435). In the same decision, it also approved a two-year trial period for a working group of broadcasters, captioning users and captioning companies to pilot a new standard.

The CRTC plans to launch a public proceeding to review the working group’s final recommendation in 2018-19, and it intends to issue its decision on the new standard and start monitoring implementation in 2019-20.

Implement measures to help protect Canadians against nuisance calls

To help Canadians better protect themselves against nuisance calls, the CRTC determined the following in January 2018 (Compliance and Enforcement and Telecom Decision CRTC 2018-32):

  • Canadian telecommunications service providers (TSPs) should implement measures to authenticate and verify caller idinformation for Internet Protocol (IP) voice calls by no later than 31 March 2019;
  • The telecommunications industry should establish a Canadian administrator to issue certificates for the authentication and verification of IP-based voice calls; and
  • Canadian TSPs are to develop a call traceback process and, by October 2018, file a report for Commission review and approval of the proposed process.

In 2019-20, the CRTC will review progress in these areas and will take further action if it becomes clear that the telecommunications industry is not taking sufficient measures to protect Canadians against nuisance calls.

Review the regulatory framework for video relay service

Video relay service (VRS) is a basic telecommunications service that enables people with hearing or speech disabilities who use sign language to communicate with voice telephone users.

The CRTC plans to initiate a review of the regulatory framework for VRS in 2019-20. Its preparation for this review will take into account the annual report submitted by the administrator of VRS for Canada, the administrator’s budget proposal, and comments and complaints received from the public.

Launch proceedings further to the CRTC’s 2019 report on the retail sales practices of large TSPs

In 2018, the Government issued an order in council, directing the CRTC to deliver a report on the retail sales practices of Canada's large telecommunications service providers (TSPs). The CRTC was directed to examine claims of aggressive or misleading sales practices concerning telecommunications services, the prevalence and impact on consumers, and potential solutions.

Accordingly, in July 2018, the CRTC launched a public consultation process (Telecom and Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2018-246). It will deliver its report by no later than 28 February 2019, as directed by the Government, and will initiate follow-up proceedings as necessary in 2019-20.

Oversee the implementation of 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 (Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2017-182).

The implementation of NG9-1-1 is well underway, with NG9-1-1 trials between carriers and emergency responders expected to begin no later than February 2019 in support of the objective of providing NG9‑1-1 voice service to the public in the 2020 timeframe. The CRTC will therefore continue to monitor the implementation of its NG9-1-1 decision and will initiate follow-up proceedings and make further determinations, as required, to support the timelines set out in the decision.

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