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Ian Scott to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage

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We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Committee’s study of Bill C-10. We have been following with interest the debates in the House of Commons. March 26, 2021 Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Check against delivery Thank you, Mister Chairman, for inviting us to appear before…

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We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Committee’s study of Bill C-10. We have been following with interest the debates in the House of Commons.

March 26, 2021

Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

Check against delivery

Thank you, Mister Chairman, for inviting us to appear before your Committee.

I am joining you from the CRTC’s offices, which are located on traditional unceded Algonquin territory. I would like to thank the Anishnaabeg people and pay respect to their Elders.

I am joined today by: Scott Hutton, Chief of Consumer, Research and Communications; Scott Shortliffe, Executive Director of Broadcasting; and Rachelle Frenette, General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director of Legal Services.

We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Committee’s study of Bill C-10. We have been following with interest the debates in the House of Commons. I should warn you, however, that there are number of matters before the Commission and we may not be able to provide detailed responses to all of your questions at this time.

The CRTC is an independent regulatory agency. Our role is to implement the legislation that Parliament adopts and ensure the policy objectives set for the Canadian broadcasting system are achieved.

We recognize that some Parliamentarians have expressed concerns that Bill C-10 proposes to give the CRTC significant latitude with regard to its implementation – what some might think is too much latitude. Mister Chairman, while we can understand such concerns, regulatory independence is not new to us and we are an expert tribunal. The current Broadcasting Act, which we have been implementing since 1991, provides the CRTC with a great deal of flexibility to determine how to achieve Parliament’s policy objectives.

That flexibility has empowered us to adapt to change and to apply different requirements to traditional television and radio services, depending on the nature of a broadcaster’s service and the linguistic market in which they operate. Our regulatory frameworks have evolved in light of changing circumstances to ensure the production and promotion of French and English-language content, content by and for Indigenous peoples, and content that showcases Canada’s diversity.

I would like to point out that the Broadcasting Act specifies that the broadcasting system should take into account the needs and interests of Canada’s diversity. It was left to the CRTC, as an independent regulator, to develop the necessary frameworks to achieve this policy objective, as well as the others that Parliament set out in the Act.

In 2019, television broadcasters, as well as cable and satellite TV providers, contributed $2.9 billion to content creation, which included $736 million on news programming in both official languages. This was the result of requirements the CRTC has set.

Also as a result of our regulations, the large French-language ownership groups must spend at least 75% of their Canadian programming expenditures on original French-language content. In addition, we have set benchmarks for the number of hours of news and local programming that TV stations must air each week in both official-language markets, and we have licensed UNIS, which reflects and serves francophones outside of Quebec.

Radio also plays a key role in reflecting and connecting communities. In 2019, there were over 700 commercial radio stations authorized to broadcast in Canada, offering a vast diversity of content and music. These stations contributed $46 million to the development and promotion of Canadian artists, as well as to the Community Radio Fund.

Our regulatory frameworks have led to the licensing of APTN, the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world, and OMNI Regional, which provides multi-ethnic programming in 20 different languages. In addition to OMNI, Canadians can subscribe to more than 110 speciality and pay channels offering programming in a variety of languages other than English and French. They can also listen to numerous Indigenous and multi-ethnic radio stations. As the definition of diversity changed, we granted a licence to OUTtv, one of the first channels dedicated to airing content for the LGBTQ2+ community.

We made these decisions because we recognized their important contributions to public policy objectives.

The Broadcasting Act is now 30 years old. Although its drafters had the foresight to make it technology neutral, they could not foresee how modern technology would change the delivery of audio and audiovisual content. The CRTC has been monitoring the evolution of the Internet since its earliest days.

We have held comprehensive proceedings under the current Act to consider the regulatory approach that should be taken regarding online audio and audiovisual content. Each time, we concluded that online content, and its distribution, was complementary to the traditional system. We therefore exempted online broadcasters from the requirement to hold a licence.

A lot has changed in recent years. As more Canadians gained access to high-speed Internet services, they also gained access to a growing number of online libraries of domestic and foreign content. That explosion of choice was to the benefit of audiences and creators. It helped bring Canadian productions and artists—for instance, Schitt’s Creek, Jusqu’au Déclin, Tegan and Sara, Anachnid and Eli Rose—to national and international audiences.

The Broadcasting Act, and the regulations we have implemented to achieve its policy objectives, have fostered a dynamic and diverse broadcasting system. The time has come, however, to adapt to today’s digital environment and to ensure we can continue to adapt in the future.

At the government’s request, we studied what effect this environment may have on the production, distribution and promotion of Canadian content in the coming years.

Our 2018 report, Harnessing Change: The Future of Programming Distribution in Canada, found that Canadians will rely increasingly on the Internet to discover and consume music, entertainment, news and other information in the coming years. We therefore recommended in the report that future policy approaches should:

focus on the production and promotion of high-quality content made by Canadians that can be discovered by audiences in Canada and abroad,
ensure that all players benefitting from the Canadian broadcasting system participate in an appropriate and equitable manner, and
be sufficiently nimble to enable the regulator to adapt rapidly to changes in technology and consumer demand.
We made similar recommendations to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel.

All of which brings us to Bill C-10. We welcomed the tabling of this bill since, in our view, it does three important things. One, it builds on the existing Broadcasting Act to clarify the CRTC’s jurisdiction regarding online broadcasters. Two, it proposes provisions that specifically addresses our ability to obtain data from online broadcasters to better monitor their evolution. Three, it proposes to modernize the CRTC’s enforcement powers.

Equally important, Bill C-10 proposes to foster a more inclusive broadcasting system and more diversity in content.

Once the legislation has received Royal Assent, and the government has issued its policy direction, we will hold public proceedings to develop a new regulatory framework. There will be an opportunity for Canadians—and all other interested parties—to provide their input and to be heard. Our goal, as always, will be to develop as complete a public record as possible and to make evidenced-based decisions in the public interest.

We are proud that, for more than 50 years, Parliament has entrusted the CRTC with the task of establishing regulatory frameworks to achieve the policy outcomes it has set out for the broadcasting system. We look forward to continuing to evolve in the 21st century and to ensuring that all players in the system, including online broadcasters, contribute in the most appropriate way.

We would be happy to answer your questions and to offer our expertise as an independent regulator.

Thank you.

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Hashtag Trending, April 23, 2021 – SolarWinds name change; Signal hacks the cops; Canada’s scale-up challenges

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SolarWinds changes its name to N‑able, Signal’s CEO peels apart the cops’ favourite phone cracking tool; and Canada’s tech industry is desperate for talent. It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Friday, April 23 and I’m your host Alex Coop. It looks like the SolarWinds brand was irreparably…

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SolarWinds changes its name to N‑able, Signal’s CEO peels apart the cops’ favourite phone cracking tool; and Canada’s tech industry is desperate for talent.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Friday, April 23 and I’m your host Alex Coop.

It looks like the SolarWinds brand was irreparably damaged after thousands of users downloaded an infected software update last year, including several U.S. government departments. SolarWinds yesterday unveiled its new company name, N-able. “The name may sound familiar as N‑able extends the roots of who we are as a company,” the new company said in a statement on its website. Of course there’s no mention about the devastating supply chain attack which SolarWinds to this point hasn’t done much to quell fears that it won’t happen again. In February SolarWinds’ CEO even went as far as to blame an intern for the poor cybersecurity measures that were in place at the time of the compromise.

In a blog post published Wednesday, Signal CEO Moxie Marlinspike claimed that Cellebrite’s software has terrible security that can be easily manipulated in a number of ways. Cellebrite is an Israeli digital intelligence firm that sells software which can unlock phones and extract data. Very popular among law enforcement. Well, among his wild claims made, Marlinspike says that due to security flaws, someone could basically re-write all of the data being collected by Cellebrite’s tools. Hypothetically, a properly configured file could be slipped into any app on a targeted device. This would allow for the alteration of all of the data that has been or will be collected by Cellebrite’s software. Cellebrite provided Gizmodo a statement after the story about Signal’s testing went viral. The company says it’s committed to protecting the integrity of its customers’ data and that it relies on strict licensing policies that “govern how customers are permitted to use our technology …”

And lastly, tech companies, especially the ones in Canada trying to take that next leap from startup to scaleup, are having a hard time finding talent. There are oo many open roles, not enough qualified workers, The Globe and Mail reports. The tech sector has bounced back with employment in professional, scientific and technical services rising 6 per cent over the pandemic. The tech sector has fared well because workers were well-positioned to shift to remote work unlike those in other industries. But with competition so fierce for talent, some tech companies struggling to find available, experienced workers are hiking up their pay offers. Security roles are desperately sought after, despite the unemployment rate for the field hovering around 0 per cent.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Plus, catch episode one of Hashtag Trending in French, hosted by our own Catherine Morin from Quebec at DirectionInformatique.com. Episode 2 drops this weekend. I’m Alex Coop, thanks for listening!

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Profitable next moves for customer experience service providers – CMO Talks with Douglas Hayward

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‘Understanding’ is the watchword in new customer experience (CX) service models for Douglas Hayward, a research director responsible for IDC’s Worldwide Digital Strategy and Agency Services research stream. Hayward joined ITWC President Fawn Annan in April 2021 for an installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series produced by ITWC to address today’s marketing challenges. An…

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‘Understanding’ is the watchword in new customer experience (CX) service models for Douglas Hayward, a research director responsible for IDC’s Worldwide Digital Strategy and Agency Services research stream.

Hayward joined ITWC President Fawn Annan in April 2021 for an installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series produced by ITWC to address today’s marketing challenges. An expert on technology-enabled business transformation, he shared his thoughts on next moves for customer experience (CX) service providers.

Two CX Trends

Referencing an IDC report, Hayward described two predominant trends in the CX arena: a shift to commerce and a shift to heightened transparency. A third shift, he said, is geared towards purpose, a move that reflects the social unrest fomenting all over the world. “Demographic changes, job insecurity, unfairness in the economy, and a lack of trust in government all propel people towards wanting brands – and sometimes hero CEOs – to actually fix things for them,” he explained.

When asked by Annan to describe what key drivers mean for CX vendors, Hayward likened the new, borderless market to a double-edged sword. “Despite the obvious advantages, it creates fear and uncertainty for a lot of people,” he said, “and that comes at a time when, young people are being locked out of the housing markets and when taxes are set to rise because of COVID-19. It’s all very unsettling when those old fashioned, fixed linear careers disappear.”

Two CX Strategies

Commenting on two different CX strategies outlined in the IDC report, Hayward predicts an imminent move from defensive strategies – those intended to strengthen a firm – to offensive strategies that focus more on improving customer experience and creating new products and services. He sees this emphasis on growth as a great opportunity for both CMOs and CX vendors to design new products and services and make existing products and services more attractive to consumers.

Hayward isn’t surprised to see customer centricity now ranked as one of the top strategic business objectives. “It’s important to understand people, to empathize with them, and to understand their pain,” he said, “but you also have to do something useful. What’s important for CX services providers is to create ground level outcomes, using data, using technology, using process, change, culture change and so on. At the end of the day, if a relationship’s going to work between a service provider and a CMO, it has to produce tangible results.”

Transparency Rules

The next caveat is that whatever is done has to be honest. “Eco-washing is just going to backfire,” he said. “CX vendors and consultants can help you to define what you’re about. They can help you discover strengths you didn’t realize that you have, and they can help you to define your purpose. What they definitely can’t do is sell you a new purpose. People will see through that.”

IDC research shows that in order for customer experience services vendors and consultants to propose really great value adding technology or change processes, they need to know the organization inside out. In fact, one of Hayward’s key takeaways for the webinar is building the customer relationship. “Get to know the client’s culture and the organization and what are they capable of,” he advised. “Then get them to change that organization and change that culture, but do it subtly, in alignment with their purpose and identity. Give them a strategy, but stay pragmatic.”

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Hashtag Trending, April 22, 2021 – Doug Ford’s BlackBerry; Apple’s Spring Loaded event; TikTok sued for billions

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It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Wednesday, April 22 and I’m your host Baneet Braich.  Premier Doug Ford is still rocking a BlackBerry Classic phone for calls, texts, emails. According to The Toronto Star, it’s his go-to phone. The publication covered some of the technical challenges Ford…

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It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Wednesday, April 22 and I’m your host Baneet Braich. 

Premier Doug Ford is still rocking a BlackBerry Classic phone for calls, texts, emails. According to The Toronto Star, it’s his go-to phone. The publication covered some of the technical challenges Ford is facing at his late mother’s house where he is isolating after an aide tested positive for COVID-19. Although Ford is reportedly accustomed to remote meetings via Zoom and Microsoft teams from his office at Queen’s Park, he is lacking the same technical support in isolation. His current BlackBerry model can’t download attachments or run many tasks easily. The phone’s last software update was in 2018, so we hope it’s not being used to receive or send anything super important. [Twitter]

Apple’s recent Spring Loaded unveiled the new iPad Pros featuring the company’s super-charged M1 chip and an update to its 4K TV. Another product called AirTag uses a network on iPhones to find lost products. The tech giant also announced credit-sharing options for teenagers on the Apple Card and new colour options such as a purple iPhone 12. The new iMacs will also have seven colour options. For the avid podcast listeners, Apple is creating a subscription service to compete with competitors like Spotify which is set to overtake Apple in terms of U.S. podcast listeners this year.

TikTok sued for collecting children’s data in Britain, Europe from technology

And lastly, TikTok has been sued for collecting children’s data in Britain and Europe. The former Children’s Commissioner for Britain has filed a lawsuit against TikTok for allegedly collecting the personal information of millions of children using the app. The suit is seeking more than 1 billion in damages from TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance. The previous commissioner is accusing TikTok of being a data collection service thinly veiled as a social media network. In a statement she said, “We want to put a stop to TikTok’s shadowy data collection practices.” A TikTok spokesperson says the case lacks merit and that they intend to “vigorously defend the action.”

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Plus, catch episode one of Hashtag Trending in French, hosted by our own Catherine Morin from Quebec at DirectionInformatique.com. Episode 2 drops this weekend. I’m Baneet Braich, thanks for listening!

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