Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – NAB Show cancelled following COVID-19 pandemic declaration

NAB Show, which was set to take place in Las Vegas Apr. 18-22, says that after carefully monitoring coronavirus developments over the past few weeks, they have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. The move comes following a World Health Organization (WHO) declaration Wednesday morning, officially classifying COVID-19 as a pandemic. The annual industry gathering which draws thousands of attendees from the digital, media, and tech sectors, joins the Worldwide Radio Summit, Radiodays Europe in Lisbon, SXSW, the Collision tech conference, the Google I/O developer conference, and Shopify’s May developer and partner conference, Unite, in either cancellating or postponing their events. Canadian Music Week (CMW) has issued a statement saying that at this juncture, it’s proceeding as planned with its conference and expo, May 19-23. Read more here.

CBC Sports has announced a commitment to gender-balanced coverage of sports and athlete stories. The public broadcaster says in addition to its weekly Road To The Olympic Games broadcast, the commitment will be reflected in its digital streams, online articles at cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app, social media content, and on-air personalities, writers, producers and new hires. According to Canadian Women & Sport’s 2016 report Women in Sports: Fuelling a Lifetime of Participation, only four per cent of sports programming on national Canadian networks is comprised of women’s sport. Read more here.

Navdeep Bains

Innovation, Science and Industry has released the 2019 Price Comparison Study showing that average prices from regional providers were up to 45% lower than plans provided by the three big national carriers. Min. Navdeep Bains says while the progress is promising, prices for mid-range plans have not moved. To that end, the government will report on wireless pricing quarterly by establishing a clear benchmark. For cellphone plans that offer 2 GB to 6 GB of data, the three big national carriers – Bell, Rogers and TELUS – will be expected to lower their prices by 25% in the next two years. Bains says if those targets aren’t met, the government will take action using “other regulatory tools” to further increase competition and help reduce prices.

The CRTC has opened a call for comments on whether television, wireless and internet providers should be required to continue to offer paper bills at no charge. The commission says as many service providers transition to electronic billing, it’s seeking a better understanding of whether intervention is warranted. In the meantime, the commission has denied a request by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation to require Koodo Mobile and other wireless service providers (WSPs) to provide paper bills upon request.

Bell has announced its extending funding for its Bell Let’s Talk initiative through 2025 with an increased funding commitment to at least $150 million. Bell Let’s Talk was launched in 2010 as a five-year initiative with a $50-million donation from Bell. It was extended again in 2015 for a further five years, with a target of at least $100 million in total funding for mental health. The 10th anniversary Bell Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 29 resulted in a record 154,387,425 eligible interactions and, with a Bell donation of 5 cents per message, a further $7,719,371.25 in Bell funding.

Videotron carried out its first wireline installation in Abitibi, Que. last week following its agreement to acquire the Cable Amos network. Videotron’s first customer in the region was none other than Sylvie Dufresne, the daughter of Télédistribution Amos Inc. founder Édouard Dufresne. For now, residents are being offered residential phone with the full line of Videotron services to be rolled out.

The Wesbell Group of Companies has completed its acquisition of Alberta-based microwave installation provider Vista Telecom Networks. The acquisition allows Wesbell Technologies to operate in Alberta while at the same time accelerating its growth into B.C. Wesbell provides a range of services to the communications industry including wireless construction, engineering, installation, electrical contracting, network integration, and recycling.

RTDNA Canada has announced the finalists in its regional award categories. Eastern Region winners will be announced at a regional awards ceremony Apr. 4 in Dartmouth, NS; Central Region winners will be announced Apr. 4 in Toronto; the Prairie Region awards ceremony will take place Apr. 4 in Calgary, while the Western Region awards will be handed out Mar. 28 in Vancouver.

Symcor Inc. has been named the 2020 Company of the Year by Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) for exemplary leadership in creating a workplace that is diverse, inclusive and supportive of women. The company’s executive leadership team is 64% female, led by Chameli Naraine, President and CEO, who made it her mandate to increase the percentage of women in senior leadership. Sabrina Geremia, VP & Country Manager, Google, is this year’s WCT Woman of the Year. Sonia Brar, VP–IT, Bell Media and BCE Corporate Systems, is being honoured in the Innovator category, while Cheryl Fullerton, EVP, People & Communications, Corus, has been named the 2020 WCT Leader. WCT’s Annual Awards Gala is set to take place in Ottawa May 7.

The European Union Delegation to Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) have opened the 2020 edition of the European Union-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship for applications. The fellowship annually selects three candidates to participate in a week-long study tour to experience the EU institutions, the Canadian Mission to the EU, and media outlets in Brussels. Winners will also attend the daily European Commission press briefing. Students, 18-30, actively enrolled in a Canadian university/post-secondary institution or active in the field of journalism are eligible to apply. Applications close May 11.

The Slaight Family Foundation marked International Women’s Day by donating $15 million to 15 international organizations working to improve human rights and opportunities for at-risk women and girls. The #SlaightWomenAndGirls initiative is expected to support over 1 million women and girls in impoverished, fragile or conflict-affected regions. Charities receiving support include AIDS-Free World in sub-Saharan Africa, Canadian Feed the Children in Ethiopia, the Canadian Red Cross in south Sudan and the Central Africa Republic, CARE Canada in Somalia, Crossroads International in Senegal, Human Rights Watch, Right To Play, the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, and Save the Children.


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