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Declaration of telecommunications principles in the public interest of all Canadians

RECOGNIZING THAT:

  • telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada’s identity, sovereignty, social cohesion, and economic health, as well as in the well-being of individual Canadians;
  • market forces are incapable, on their own, of ensuring that Canadians of all income levels and in all regions of the country have access to good quality, reliable telecommunications services at affordable and reasonable prices;
  • competition, like regulation, is a means to achieving policy goals, not a goal in and of itself;
  • deregulation and reliance on market forces in telecommunications have left many Canadians paying more for the same level of service, experiencing unacceptably poor customer service, and tolerating marketplace uncertainties and abuses that did not previously exist;
  • persons with disabilities face constant challenges using telecommunications services;
  • general competition law and institutions in Canada are incapable of effectively protecting consumers from market abuses in the telecommunications context;
  • there is no general consumer protection agency at the federal level in Canada;
  • many communities in Canada still lack access to broadband service, and of those that have access, many lack the means to make effective use of such access;
  • the digital divide in Canada has grown significantly over the past eight years;
  • the federal government, in response to pressure from incumbent telecommunications providers, has established a panel of three experts to review Canadian telecommunications policy and report back to it by the end of 2005;
  • most Canadians are unaware of the policy review process, the issues at stake, and the proposals being made by industry players;
  • the vast quantity of submissions made to that Panel are from vested private interests who have no public interest mandate;
  • some vested private interests are calling for an evi

THE UNDERSIGNED DECLARE THAT:

1. The Telecommunications Act should continue to recognize that telecommunications, unlike most other goods and services, plays a critical and essential role in maintaining the social and economic fabric of Canada and in ensuring the well-being of Canadians;

2. In particular, the following policy objectives currently set out in the Telecommunications Act are fundamentally important and should remain the guiding principles of Canadian telecommunications policy:

  • 7(a) to facilitate the orderly development throughout Canada of a telecommunications system that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions;
  • 7(b) to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada;

3. Market forces should be relied upon for the achievement of policy objectives only where they have proven to be effective and efficient in doing so;

4. Government and regulatory intervention is needed to ensure that Canadians of all income levels and in all regions of the country, including those with disabilities, have access to good quality, reliable, and functional telecommunications services at affordable and reasonable prices;

5. Sector-specific regulatory intervention is needed to ensure that Canadians have access to effective enforcement and redress mechanisms, and are not held responsible for
telecommunications fraud that they cannot control;

6. Regulatory intervention should be designed to prevent the degradation of telecommunications service quality, affordability, availability, and reliability, rather than to respond to such policy failures only after they have developed;

7. Direct government intervention is needed to ensure not only that all communities in Canada have access to broadband services, but also that Canadians have the knowledge and means to make effective use of those services;

8. Proposals for regulatory reform from self-interested industry players should be carefully scrutinized from a public interest perspective keeping in mind that they are driven by private motives rather than public interest goals; and

9. Any reforms to the Telecommunications Act be subject to a full public review, five years after they have been adopted.sceration of the Telecommunications Act and radical deregulation of telecommunications, so as to remove critical social policy and consumer protection goals of the Act and related functions of the CRTC;

Sign On!

If you are in agreement, signify your acceptance by sending an email to tpr@piac.ca, clearly indicating that you wish to sign, and providing your name, address, and affiliation (if any). If an organization is signing on, please provide the name of the organization as well as the name and contact information for the head of the organization. Put “Telecom Declaration” in the subject line. We will post the list of signatories on our website, and will send the Declaration + signatories to the Telecom Policy Review Panel, as well as to the Minister of Industry and to the Prime Minister.

Si vous êtes d’accord, veuillez nous le signifier en envoyant un courriel à tpr@piac.ca. Veuillez indiquer clairement que vous désirez signer, en indiquant vos nom, adresse et affiliation (s’il y a lieu). S’il s’agit d’une organisation, veuillez fournir le nom de celle-ci, ainsi que le nom et les coordonnées de la personne-ressource. Inscrivez qu’il s’agit de la Déclaration sur les télécommunications comme objet du message. Nous afficherons en ligne la liste des signataires et nous enverrons ensuite la Déclaration accompagnée de la liste des signataires au Groupe d’étude sur le cadre réglementaire des télécommunications, ainsi qu’au ministre de l’Industrie et au Premier ministre.

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