Mr. Ian Scott
Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage Gatineau, Quebec J8X 4B1
Dear Mr. Scott:
I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairperson of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to discuss the importance of ensuring reliable telecommunications networks.
Canadians depend on telecommunications services in all aspects of their lives, and the security and reliability of our networks has never been more crucial. These services are fundamental to the safety, prosperity, and well-being of Canadians, as they support a wide range of economic and social activities, government programs, and—crucially—emergency response. In order to guide the government's work in this
space, I have announced the Telecommunications Reliability Agenda, with three pillars at its core:
Robust Networks and Systems – This means there is a robust infrastructure for telecommunications networks, with appropriate redundancy, diversity, and hardening measures in place against hazards, and particular care placed on emergency services. There are systems with controls and monitoring features, and the telecommunications supply chain—including supplier equipment—is trusted and secure. Investments are made to support these activities or to address coverage gaps, including in rural and remote areas.
Strengthening Accountability – This means that regulatory measures and other frameworks are clear and activities are reliably carried out. There is also timely and clear communication with the public and with government authorities on response and restoration. Transparency is crucial so that Canadians and government authorities have visibility into events and emerging trends. Audit and other verification systems are in place and used to promote uptake of guidance and best practices. Consumer rights are protected, and consumers are empowered in their dealings with service providers.
Coordinated Planning and Preparedness – Hazards will always exist, whether caused by extreme climate events or human factors. Governance, planning, and risk management ensure that procedures, back-up systems, and protocols are in place to eliminate or minimize the impact of any incident, allowing critical functions to continue and expediting recovery efforts following an incident. This includes ensuring there are well-defined governance models, organizational roles, responsibilities, procedures, and business continuity protocols to promote the resiliency of our telecommunications infrastructure.
I know that the CRTC plays an important role in ensuring Canadians have access to high-quality telecommunications, and that it has already undertaken work to that end. I am requesting that the CRTC continue to collaborate with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada staff as appropriate to further advance telecommunications reliability.
Thank you for your attention to this critical issue. Our joint efforts will support the delivery of secure and reliable telecommunications services for all Canadians.
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, P.C., M.P.