Canadian academics challenge CRTC ISP code of conduct deadline

The group includes academics from the Universites of Toronto, Ottawa and Alberta

CRTC logo on wall

A group of 10 Canadian academics have filed a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) explaining that more time is needed before groups can submit proper evidence in the CRTC’s internet service provider (ISP) code of conduct proceedings.

According to a December 5th, 2018 filing signed by academics from several leading Canadian universities — including the University of Toronto, University of Ottawa and University of Alberta — the CRTC’s current December 19th, 2018 deadline for initial submissions “will exclude the perspectives of many Canadians, and is not in the public interest.”

“We are writing to provide the CRTC with an understanding of the nature of the activities involved in preparing evidence-based interventions to inform Commission decision making, and to provide insights as to why an initial consultation period of only [28] business days is insufficient for organizations and individuals with limited resources for regulatory engagement to produce evidence-based interventions,” reads an excerpt from the group’s December 5th filing.

The group of academics, including Carleton University telecom analyst Ben Klass, also addressed the CRTC’s November 22nd, 2018 decision to deny a request from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) to extend the deadlines for the CRTC’s ISP code of conduct proceedings, arguing that the Commission hasn’t provided enough time to meaningful research the need for a new code of conduct.

It’s worth noting that the CRTC’s denial ultimately led the PIAC to boycott the ISP code of conduct proceedings.

Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) later announced that it had joined the PIAC in its boycott, while the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications (FRPC) has also announced plans to boycott the proceedings.

The academics didn’t provide an alternate timeline, but the group specified that the “amount of work needed to prepare a high-quality evidence-based intervention for any consultation is extensive.”

The CRTC is currently investigating allegations of misleading or aggressive telecom sales practices, and has until February 28th, 2019 to submit its report to the government.

Among other points, the final unsavoury telecom sales practices report is expected to provide insight into whether the Commission needs to undertake steps to create a telecom sales code of conduct.