Ministers Rodriguez and Champagne outline new CRTC chair’s expectations in letter

Vicky Eatrides takes over the role from Ian Scott

As the new head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Vicky Eatrides has a long list of responsibilities, and two federal Ministers want to cement the fact.

In a letter to Eatrides, Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez and Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne listed a number of issues they say are vital for Eatrides to accomplish her mandate.

Listed towards the beginning of the letter are references to Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, and Bill C-18, the Online News Act. If passed, the CRTC will govern them, giving the regulatory body additional powers.

“Our leadership, and that of the CRTC more broadly, will be critical to ensuring that new legislation is implemented effectively,” the letter states. “Practical and workable regulations can ensure policy goals are met while maintaining Canadians’ online experience and ensuring everyone can participate in and benefit from an increasingly digital culture and society.”

The Ministers further state their concerns on a number of issues weighing the CRTC down, namely how long it takes the CRTC to make decisions, how accessible their practices are to the public, and transparency.

“Public interest decision making requires hearing from diverse interests. Right now, there is a perception among many that access to CRTC processes is unequal,” the Ministers write. “While the regulator’s open and evidence-based processes are a core strength, barriers to participation remain.”

The letter also states the CRTC should continue reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples by working together on policies that may affect them “in a spirit of recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.”

The telecom industry also needs improvement, the letter states, and a proposed new policy direction for the organization will help guide them. Addressing competition and affordability, the Ministers say the CRTC should ensure wholesale internet services are “used, supervised, and adjusted effectively and in a timely manner.”

Wholesale internet services are something Eatrides has promised to change. In an interview with MobileSyrup, Eatrides said the CRTC will share a new model with Canadians “within the coming months.”

“It’s a top priority for the organization because what we’ve done is not working,” she said.

Source: Canadian Heritage