Does federal panel threaten net neutrality in Canada?

Janet Yale chairs the seven person panel reviewing the nation’s broadcasting and telecommunications legislation. – Rene Johnston , Toronto Star file photo


It will come as no surprise that in the absence of the CRTC’s guiding hand, creativity, innovation, Canadian content (ask Justin Bieber) and investment have flourished like never before



by Peter Menzies

Courtesy of


July 1, 2019

If you want to know how much in extra fees you might be paying or how much Canada intends to meddle with online content to make sure you watch what the government wants you to watch, you should start paying attention now.

Last week, the government panel reviewing the nation’s broadcasting and telecommunications legislation (known as BTLR) released its first report. As advertised, it’s a summary of what the panellists heard.

What you need to get ready for early in 2020 is the more substantive report outlining what the panel thinks the government should do to modernize its decrepit legislation in these areas.

It’s a mug’s game to predict what the panel of seven led by chair Janet Yale will come up with following the public and corporate consultations they undertook beginning last September.

One concern — that six of the seven members of the panel are based in Ottawa and Montreal — may have been mitigated by the panel’s travels. But while that’s more likely to address the issue of what they heard, it’s unlikely to pacify those who insist this strong regional bias in the panel’s construct will definitely influence how they heard and what they think about it.

Having sat on dozens of panels in my years with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), there’s no question in my mind that ears are as important as voices when it comes to dissecting arguments.

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