Vol. 149, No. 13 — July 1, 2015
SI/2015-53 July 1, 2015
ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN 2014 ACT, NO. 1
Order Fixing the Day on which this Order is published as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2015-815 June 17, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry, pursuant to section 241 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1, chapter 20 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014, fixes the day on which this Order is published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, as the day on which subsections 239(2) and 240(2) of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
Pursuant to section 241 of the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1, chapter 20 of the Statutes of Canada, 2014, the Governor in Council fixes the day on which this Order is published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, as the day on which subsections 239(2) and 240(2) of that Act come into force.
The objective is to repeal the legislated cap on domestic wholesale roaming rates in the Telecommunications Act, following the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision on wholesale roaming rates.
Recognizing the critical importance of the telecommunications sector to the Canadian economy, the Government has taken actions to foster competition since 2008 and actions, including reserving spectrum for new market entrants and reforming restrictions on foreign investment. As part of the strategy, the Government mandated that wireless carriers offer roaming access to competitors at commercial rates. Roaming access is necessary for new entrants to provide customers national coverage while they build and expand their networks and for regional carriers who do not have national networks.
In the 2013 Speech from the Throne, the Government indicated that it intended to take action to reduce roaming costs on networks within Canada. In 2014, the Government followed through on this commitment and amended the Telecommunications Act to cap wholesale wireless roaming rates at a company’s own average retail rate.
Budget 2014 indicated that the wholesale wireless roaming cap amendment would be in place until the CRTC made a decision on roaming rates. The legislation gave precedence to any CRTC-imposed rate over the legislated wholesale roaming rate cap. The legislated wholesale roaming cap included a provision to enable it to be repealed by order of the Governor in Council (GiC).
The CRTC began investigating wholesale wireless roaming in 2013, and in 2014, launched a proceeding to review the market for wholesale wireless services. On May 5, 2015, the CRTC announced Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-177. The CRTC found that national incumbents, Bell, Rogers and TELUS have market power in the provision of wholesale roaming services. The CRTC concluded that other Canadian wireless companies needed to obtain those services under reasonable rates, terms and conditions in order to offer comparable broad or national wireless coverage to their own customers. Therefore, the CRTC announced that it would regulate the rates that the national incumbents charge other companies for wholesale wireless roaming services, and recommended the repeal of the legislated cap.
The CRTC found no continued need to regulate wholesale roaming rates for regional carriers, such as SaskTel, MTS, and Tbaytel, or new entrants such as WIND, Eastlink, Videotron, and Mobilicity.
In the absence of a CRTC-regulated rate, the Government’s legislated rate cap would continue to apply to regional and new entrant carriers if not repealed. In light of this, the CRTC explicitly called on the Government to repeal its legislation as soon as possible.
The CRTC began investigating wholesale wireless roaming in 2013 (8620-C12-201312082). In December 2013, the Commission issued Telecom Notice of Consultation 2013-685 to consider whether or not, as a question of fact, there was a situation of unjust discrimination or undue preference with respect to the wholesale roaming arrangements in Canada. In February 2014, the Commission issued Telecom Notice of Consultation 2014-76, a proceeding to determine whether the wholesale market is sufficiently competitive and, if not, what regulatory measures are required. The Commission stated that it would also consider whether greater regulatory oversight, including mandating access to any existing or potential wholesale mobile wireless service, would be appropriate if it were to find that the wholesale market was not sufficiently competitive.
On July 31, 2014, the Commission issued Telecom Decision 2014-398, in which it found that, contrary to subsection 27(2) of the Telecommunications Act, there were clear instances of unjust discrimination and undue preference by Rogers with respect to (i) the imposition of exclusivity clauses in its wholesale roaming arrangements with certain other wireless carriers, and (ii) the wholesale roaming rates it charged those carriers. Consequently, the Commission prohibited exclusivity provisions in agreements between Canadian wireless carriers for wholesale roaming in Canada. Parties that participated in the proceedings included most major mobile network operators in Canada: Bell, Rogers, TELUS, MTS, SaskTel, TBayTel, Eastlink, Mobilicity, WIND, and Videotron. Other participating parties included: the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the Consumers’ Association of Canada, the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia, and the National Pensioners Federation, OpenMedia.ca, l’Union des consommateurs (l’Union), Alcatel-Lucent Canada Inc., the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance Inc., the Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc., Cisco Systems Canada, Cogeco Cable Inc., Fibernetics Corporation; GLENTEL Inc.; Lycamobile Ltd., Lynx Mobility Inc., Mobilexchange Ltd, Nokia Solutions and Technology, Orange Horizons, Primal Technologies Inc., Raven Wireless, SSi Micro Ltd., Tucows Inc., Vaxination Informatique, Roslyn Layton, Ben Klass and David Ellis, the Commissioner of Competition, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Province of British Columbia, the Village of Sayward, and four individuals.
Industry Framework Policy
Telecommunication Policy Branch