A Telecommunications Reliability Agenda

Canadians depend on telecommunications services in all aspects of their lives, and the security and reliability of networks has never been more crucial. Not only do they support a wide range of economic and social activities, but they support other critical infrastructure sectors and government services, and are crucial for emergency services and public safety. They are fundamental to the safety, prosperity, and well-being of Canadians.

That is why the Government is advancing a new Telecommunications Reliability Agenda. This set of actions will improve reliability and better protect Canadians. This agenda has three pillars at its core:

Robust Networks and Systems – This means there is robust architecture for telecommunications networks with appropriate redundancy, diversity, and hardening against hazards, with particular care for emergency services. There are systems with controls and monitoring and the telecommunications supply chain including supplier equipment is trusted and secure. Investments are made to support these activities including in rural and remote areas or to address coverage gaps.

Strengthening Accountability – This means that regulatory measures and other frameworks are clear and ensures activities are carried out. This includes 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 they be extreme climate events or human factors. Governance, planning and risk management ensures 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 expedites 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 resilience of telecommunications infrastructure.

The government has a set of tools including government-industry committees, regulatory instruments, programs and legislation. These tools will be aligned to advance this agenda and include public consultation. We are committed to taking action to support the ability of Canadians to access secure and reliable telecommunications services.