Where’s the Next Round of Bill C-11 CRTC Consultations?

The CRTC was set to have the next round of consultations on the Online Streaming Act in Winter of 2023/2024. They still haven’t happened.

Almost a whole year ago, I highlighted that the Online Streaming Act (formerly Bill C-11) was undergoing multiple rounds of consultations. At the time, I noted that the full implementation was set to happen in late 2024, but also noted that these are under the most ideal circumstances. In all likelihood, we could see implementation happen in 2025. This isn’t even counting the inevitable litigation process when Canadian creators find out how much they are about to get screwed over in the process.

I was happy to cover as much as I could with the previous round of consultations – going all the way up to this year even trying to cover as many voices as possible. For the most part, the consultations occurred on time even if the regulator walled off the public by offering comically tight deadlines to submit something.

Moving forward after that initial round of consultations was the next round. As you can tell from the CRTC timeline, the next round of consultations was set to take place in “Winter 2023-2024”:

Winter 2023-2024 (upcoming)

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.

At this point, there’s a slight problem with this. We are already in the Spring of 2024, well past the projected time frame offered by the regulator. Indeed, things started looking bad back in January when prospective organizations who were planning on intervening in these hearings were begging for information on when the next deadline was set to take place. No information was seemingly forthcoming. It did raise the prospect of whether the CRTC was falling behind.

Now, it appears that this is exactly what happened. Here we are in April and there’s no sign of movement on this part of the file. Some might argue that there’s a lot always happening at the CRTC and delays can be expected. The thing is, the regulator also cleared its schedule for two years just to work on implementing the Online Streaming Act.

That announcement happened on the back of the CRTC telling lawmakers during committee that implementing the Online News Act was no big deal and wouldn’t require very many resources in the first place. Such claims, these days, seems like a laugh riot now that we are seeing these delays just consulting with stakeholders. Though, to be fair, we were laughing at the CRTC long before then because the claims were that regulating the internet wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place. Really, that joke of a comment keeps getting funnier and funnier.

At any rate, it looks like whatever is happening at the CRTC, it is causing the Online Streaming Act consultations to be delayed. What’s more, stakeholders are also in the dark about it all on top of it all.

As for when the next round of consultations are set to begin at the CRTC, well, that appears to be anyone’s guess at this point since the CRTC isn’t saying.

Drew Wilson on Mastodon, Twitter and Facebook.

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