CRTC, Telecom & Media News – Federal Court of Appeal to hear Quebecor’s appeal of CRTC decision

The Federal Court of Appeal has agreed to hear Quebecor’s argument asking for a CRTC decision to be overturned stemming from its ongoing carriage dispute with Bell. Groupe TVA is seeking to have the commission’s decision forcing it to make TVA Sports available to Bell TV cable subscribers thrown out. At the heart of Quebecor’s argument is whether the CRTC has jurisdiction in the case or whether it has gone beyond its powers and interfered in negotiations.

Laura Tribe

Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) has tabled the final version of a policy direction that requires the CRTC to take steps to bring down the cost of internet and cellphone bills for consumers. Bains first introduced the new “consumer first” policy directive in February. It followed the release of the commission’s heavily-criticized report on misleading and aggressive sales practices in the telecommunications industry. Following consultation, the final version of the directive features several small, but significant changes. Effective immediately, the policy must be adopted across all areas of decision-making, not just regulatory hearings. It also includes more specific language around rights related to accessibility, telecommunications access in rural and regional areas, and suggests all forms of competition and investment be encouraged. Laura Tribe, executive director of consumer advocacy group OpenMedia, said the directive clearly sends the message that it’s time for the CRTC “to put people before big telecom.” Read the full story here.

Telus has joined Rogers and Bell in beefing up the gigabyte (GB) offering in its wireless data plans, but unlike its rivals, Telus will charge $75/month for 15 GBs of full-speed data usage, followed by the standard overages. Rogers and Bell are offering $75/mo. plans that include 10 GBs of full-speed data usage, followed by unlimited data at reduced speeds. When you look at comparable plans in the U.S., Verizon’s $85 “Beyond Unlimited” plan is capped at 22 GBs of high-speed 4G LTE data per month, while the $95 “Above Unlimited” is curbed at 75 GB, before the carrier will reduce speeds. AT&T’s $70 “Unlimited & More” plan is also capped at 22 GBs.

The CRTC has approved call traceback trials to help determine the origins of nuisance calls to Canadians. The trials are set to be complete by Dec. 19 of this year with the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC) Network Working Group’s report to be submitted by March 2020.

Rogers Communications is investing $10 million to support the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Ryerson University. The new national centre, based in Brampton, will provide training to workers from under-represented demographic groups in the field, and support of the growth of Canadian cybersecurity companies. FedDev Ontario, Royal Bank of Canada and the City of Brampton are also funders. Located in downtown Brampton, the Catalyst is a not-for-profit organization with a broad mandate to empower Canadians and Canadian businesses through training, research and education in cybersecurity.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) has responded to the federal government’s passing of a motion recognizing the urgency of climate change. The CAJ says news organizations need to rethink their best practices on climate reporting and its asked its asked its ethics advisory committee to make recommendations on how journalists can most responsibly report on climate change. Former CAJ vice-president Sean Holman published an open letter in May calling on several journalism associations, as well as editors, publishers and station managers, to adopt an action plan to “properly place, cover, contextualize, and localize the biggest story of our time, and hold public and private institutions to account for their actions and inactions on climate change.”

Connie Walker, Jennifer Fowler and Marnie Luke

The Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards were handed out June 13 with CBC News podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo earning the CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism (large media category) and its host Connie Walker winning the Landsberg Award, which celebrates exceptional coverage of women’s equality issues. The Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University went to Karyn Pugliese, executive director of news and current affairs at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. She will study the strategies newsrooms and educators can use to implement Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for media and journalism schools. Find the full list of honourees here.

Michener Citations of Merit, recognizing outstanding and unbiased public service in journalism, have been presented to CBC News (The Fifth Estate); The Waterloo Region Record; St. Catharine’s Standard; CBC North; APTN; and a joint citation to CBC/Toronto Star/Societe Radio-Canada. Saint John, NB’s Telegraph-Journal won the 2018 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism for its 18-month series Sounding the Alarm. The paper discovered a critical shortage of paramedics was forcing New Brunswick ambulances to sit idle and unstaffed. At least one person died. Read about the winners here.

Corus and Bell Media were both Gold winners at the 2019 ProMax Awards, held June 6, in Los Angeles. The awards recognize creativity in entertainment marketing and design. Bell’s relaunch of its Crave streaming service and logo redesign earned four awards alone. Find the full list of winners here.


Paul Jacobs

On Broadcast Dialogue – The Podcast: Paul Jacobs addressed the 2019 Western Association of Broadcasters conference and his message to the room was pretty straightforward – not enough change is happening in Canadian broadcasting amidst the digital shift. Jacobs laid out some numbers based on the results of Jacobs Media Strategies’ most recent TechSurvey. It finds just 6% of local ad dollars in Canada are going to radio, 7% to TV and 35% to online. 65% of radio listening is still in the traditional way, while 31% is now digital. As Jacobs put it “it’s very obvious where the puck is going” and broadcasters need to evolve by following those digital dollars, providing sales training, promoting station digital assets and encouraging talent to contribute to digital content.

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