General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsRegulatory, Telecom & Media News - CRTC imposes $7.5M in penalties on...

Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – CRTC imposes $7.5M in penalties on Bell in utility pole dispute

The CRTC has imposed $7.5 million in penalties on Bell Canada for three violations of the Telecommunications Act, related to an ongoing dispute over access to its utility poles. The CRTC found that Bell denied permit applications for access to its telephone poles from Videotron, its main competitor in Quebec. As a result of subsequent delays, Videotron network deployment was held up, creating a competitive advantage for Bell. The decision sets the penalty for each of three violations of the act at $2.5 million each. The dispute dates back to 2020 with the issue also eliciting complaints from Cogeco Connexion and Maskicom. Read more here.

Videotron has won a Federal Court challenge over a dispute with U.S.-based Xperi (formerly known under the names Rovi and TiVo) over the alleged use of patented technology in Videotron’s illico viewing platform. Those patents have now been declared invalid. Quebecor President and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau called the ruling “an important victory for Videotron and all technology companies that grapple with organizations whose practices are akin to those of patent trolls, which create no value for society and cost millions of dollars per year.” Quebecor and Videotron are calling for Patent Act anti-trolling provisions, which exist in other jurisdictions, to end abuse of process.

SkyChoice Communications is challenging Bell Canada’s FIBE trademark in Federal Court, maintaining it’s impeding independent ISPs from using the word “fiber” in their marketing and branding. The Oakville, ON-headquartered internet, TV and home phone provider says the FIBE trademark lacks distinctiveness with only a one letter difference between FIBE and FIBER. Canadian trademark regulations generally prohibit registration of marks which can be confused with common words. To fund the significant costs of the legal challenge, SkyChoice has teamed up with Freedom Fibers, a grassroots organization dedicated to improving internet affordability. It’s set up a GoFundMe to support the legal effort. Read more here.

RTDNA Canada has announced the winners of the 2022 Best Canadian Local News Awards, honouring the best journalists, programs, platforms, stations, and newsgathering organizations in audio, digital and video. Leading the winners, who all advanced after winning Regional awards, is CBC Saskatchewan which claimed 10 wins including Breaking News, Live Special Events, Continuing Coverage and Excellence in Sound, Digital, and Editing. RTDNA Canada has also recognized the winners of its National Awards of Excellence. CBC captured 13 awards, followed by seven for CTV and its platforms, and three for Global News.

The Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) wrapped up their 86th conference on Thursday evening at the Banff Fairmont Springs with the WAB Gold Medal Awards Gala. Among this year’s winners was Golden West Broadcasting Saskatchewan Program Manager Barrie Vice, who was inducted into the WAB Hall of Fame. Clayton Kroeker, morning show co-host at Harvard Broadcasting’s 96.3 Cruz FM (CFWD-FM) Saskatoon, was the recipient of this year’s Leader of Tomorrow Award, presented to a broadcaster under 30 who has demonstrated leadership and skill in broadcasting. In the Digital Innovation category, Pattison Media was recognized for its involvement in the HuskieFAN app, which delivers University of Saskatchewan Huskies home and road games for Football, Men’s Hockey and Women’s Hockey. Read more here. Quarter Century Club honourees marking 25 Years in broadcasting include: Abbey White, Andrew Dawson, Barb Bell, Cam Birnie, Colin Lovequist, Darrell Gibson, Ginette Ouimet, Kevin Becker, Lochlin Cross, and Shauna MacKinnon. This year’s Half Century Club honourees are Marty Forbes and Royal Watson. The 87th annual WAB conference is slated for June 7-8, 2023.

Karin Larsen

Karin Larsen has been inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. Before getting her start in media, Larsen was one of the country’s top synchronized swimmers in the 1980s, serving as the alternate for Canada’s gold medal-winning pairs team at the 1988 Summer Olympics. She got her start in broadcasting as a part-time weekend sports researcher at CBC Vancouver in 1988, working behind-the-scenes on shows like CBC’s NHL Breakaway and BCTV’s Down the Stretch. She went on to cover 11 Olympics, five Paralympics, several Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs, and countless Vancouver Canucks and BC Lions games. She’s also served as an announcer and host for CBC Olympic coverage, including co-hosting the Closing Ceremony of the Torino Winter Olympics. 

Danielle Graham

Danielle Graham is suing Bell Media for $1.2 million, alleging she was fired from CTV’s eTalk after complaining about gender discrimination. Graham, 41, had been with the show since 2007 and its co-anchor since 2015 when she parted ways with Bell Media in March. As first reported by the National Post, the former eTalk host’s allegations include being passed over for a promotion and receiving less pay and fewer perks. Graham’s suit claims she was fired in March one day before a scheduled meeting with CTV Vice President David Daigle to discuss gender discrimination and abuse she had been experiencing. The suit alleges Graham was fired specifically to pre-empt that meeting after lodging three complaints in the previous year.

Jennifer Valentyne & John Derringer

Jennifer Valentyne and Jacqui Delaney won’t be taking part in Corus Entertainment’s third-party investigation into allegations of gender discrimination and abuse against suspended Q107 morning show host John Derringer. Both former co-hosts on the long-running show, Valentyne and Delaney have refused to sign a confidentiality requirement. As reported by the Toronto Sun, Delaney was also told by Turnpenney and Milne LLC, the legal team handling the matter, that she would be a witness only in the case and not a complainant with the review to focus on those working at the station now. 

CBC/Radio-Canada is the first Canadian broadcast media to be awarded Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) certification from Reporters Without Borders (RSF). JTI scrutinizes a news service’s transparency and editorial practices and makes its compliance visible to users. It was launched by RSF and its partners in 2018 to combat disinformation and promote trustworthy journalism. To obtain certification, CBC/Radio-Canada assessed its Journalistic Standards and Practices, against the JTI standard. Each service then published a Transparency Report, which was independently audited by Deloitte, which awarded CBC News and Radio-Canada Info top marks across the board, including in key areas like accountability for journalism principles, accuracy and responsibility for sources. The Winnipeg Free Press, France Télévisions, and (a branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation) are among other media certified by the JTI. 

The 2022 Webster Awards are open for submissions. Celebrating the best in journalism in British Columbia, the deadline is July 31. Submissions are being accepted for stories published between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022. Find out more about all 14 categories here. Tickets are on sale now for The Webster Foundation’s in-person stand-up cocktail and canape reception on Sept. 20 where the three finalists in each category will be announced. The Webster Awards will be presented online on Nov. 3.

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