Request to Extend CRTC Consultation Largely Denied. Maintains Monday Deadline

It appears that the request to extend the deadline to past Monday has been denied for two consultations. The CRTC deadline is still Monday.

One of the big ways that the CRTC sells itself is that it is an arms length regulator open to public opinion. On both fronts, however, that has been heavily questioned for a number of legitimate reasons. In fact, back in January, newly minted Chair, Vicky Eatrides openly said that she is inviting public feedback on Bill C-11. Of course, one well known constant is the fact that actions speaks louder than words. Although consultations did move forward on the Online Streaming Act, the deadlines were notably very short.

In fact, the deadlines are for this Monday. This is controversial because coming up with comprehensive remarks and frameworks for various parties takes time. Further, the deadlines were so strict that numerous groups from different sides of the debate have asked for an extension. Among the reason is the lack of a policy direction which would, in fact, help to shape where the government is heading with enforcement as well as, of course, not having enough time to prepare their responses.

After the submission to extend the deadline was sent, the Canadian government released their draft policy direction. This has sparked questions of the Department of Canadian Heritage possibly working in close lockstep with the CRTC which is, of course, not good since both are supposed to operate at arms length. Another problem in all of this is that interested parties have had little time to react to the supporting documentation. Additionally, the document is not even in final format, so adjustments can easily be made after those respondents have issued their comments to the consultation.

To put it mildly, this whole situation is a hot mess and is definitely all the more reason to, at minimum, grant more time for a formal response from individuals. However, it appears that those who are hoping for a deadline extension may not be getting it:

The Bill C-11 extension request was for all three active consultations. CRTC says nothing about 2 that are due on Monday. Presumably no extension. CRTC couldn’t make its disinterest in public participation more obvious. Consultation theatre.

The Tweet links to this page which says this:

New deadline for submission of interventions: 11 July 2023

This appears to only be in reference to 2023-138. The other consultations: 2023-139 and 2023-140 appear to still be for Monday (the deadline request was for all three consultations).

Of course, also definitely worth pointing out is the fact that what it takes to actually issue a response. Indeed, we did publish our response to consultation 2023-140. For a deadline of a couple of days, the companion document that prospective respondents must read just to figure out what the heck the CRTC is even asking of the public in the first place is quite the mental obstacle course. We’re talking over 6,000 words filled with references to less than well known laws, acronyms, and incredibly long sentences clearly designed to act as a deterrent for the public to participate. This isn’t even getting into unmaintained submission guidelines that are apparently out of date on top of it all).

All of this points to one thing: this process is designed to filter out the public and ensure that the only people who respond are the powers that be – the wealthy and the cultural elite – are the only ones able to give feedback. Though the CRTC plays a big game about being open to the public, the actions taken throughout all of this clearly says otherwise.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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