CRTC Consultations on C-11 Continues to Be Missing in Action

Another month has gone by and there still is no signs that the Bill C-11 consultations are moving forward at the CRTC.

Last year, we noted that the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) has released a timeline of their planned consultations on the Online Streaming Act (formerly Bill C-11). The debate ignited many impassioned pleas from creators for the Canadian government not to destroy their careers – desperate cries that went completely ignored by lawmakers who went so far as to gaslight creators in response.

The first round of consultations were controversial. The CRTC held them with comically tight deadlines in a bid to keep the public out as much as humanly possible. Nevertheless, some people managed to break through the hurdles laid out by the CRTC and participate anyway. In a nutshell, creators called for fairness while legacy media demanded that the system solely benefit themselves. Given the notorious nature of regulatory capture at the CRTC, the chances of them listening to creators, experts, and civil rights organizations is virtually nil.

Throughout the debate, however, the CRTC showed a sense of bravado in the whole thing. They argued throughout the debate that regulating the internet is no big deal. They didn’t need any additional help except what is required by law. While people who actually know how the internet works simply laughed at them for all the right reasons, the regulator seemed convinced that this is just a trivial small task. It’s like putting a hand on top of a mattress that they placed on top of the car. When that car hits highway speeds, don’t worry, they argued, they got it, they got it.

Well, let’s just say the regulator couldn’t even handle holding a consultation in a punctual manner about regulating the internet, let alone actually attempting to regulate the internet. Last month, we noted that it has become painfully clear that the regulator has fallen behind. This despite the regulator clearing out their entire schedule for two years to handle implementing the Online Streaming Act. While we don’t know the precise reason why the CRTC has fallen behind, we do happen to know that they have fallen behind in general.

The CRTC timeline says the following:

Winter 2023-2024

Public consultations may include

  • Consultation on definitions of Canadian and Indigenous content: This consultation would review the definition of Canadian content and examine possible changes.
  • Consultation on tools to support Canadian music and other audio content: This consultation would assess tools to support Canadian audio content.
  • Consultation on programming and supports for video content: This consultation would assess tools to develop, support, and promote Canadian and Indigenous content on all platforms.
  • Consultation on local markets access and competition: This consultation would evaluate market access, news and local programming, and competitive behaviours.
  • Consultation on protecting Canadian consumers: This consultation would review ways to protect consumers and include broadcaster codes of conduct and mechanisms for complaints.

Essentially, nothing has changed. We’ve gone another whole month without any word on when the next consultation is going to be. There’s no publicly available deadlines nor are there any details on what the CRTC will be asking for in the next consultation. Since we are now into May, it’s very safe to say that “Winter 2023-2024” has come and gone already.

As more time continues to go by, this will prove to be increasingly problematic. Why? Because of the next phase:

Targeting launch: Late 2024

  • This phase will focus on implementing policy decisions listed above. More on Phase 3 will be included in future updates of this plan.

This basically means that in order to stay on schedule, not only will the consultations have to be complete, but also the implementation process they need to undergo to be ready to enforce the Online Streaming Act. The CRTC has roughly 7 months left to undergo the remaining consultation process and implement the legislation. It may be doable, but the more time that goes by, the harder it is to not fall behind. After all, with respect to the next round of consultations, the CRTC has already fallen far behind as it is.

Drew Wilson on Mastodon, Twitter and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “CRTC Consultations on C-11 Continues to Be Missing in Action”

  1. The funniest part is they plan on having consultations on protecting Canadian consumers. My question is how will they protect consumers from the CRTC?

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