Home » CRTC to get new chair as role of broadcast regulator expands

CRTC to get new chair as role of broadcast regulator expands

by Tess Hutchinson

OTTAWA – The chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is due to be replaced within months and Canadian Heritage is already accepting applications for the $328,000-a-year role.

Ian Scott and his vice-president of broadcasting, Caroline Simard, were appointed for a five-year term at the broadcasting regulator in 2017 and their terms are due to end in early September.

The CRTC is set to get new leadership as it faces a huge expansion to cover online streaming platforms, online news and tech giants, with several government bills proposing it new powers.

The commission has been criticized for not having the expertise to regulate the digital sphere as well as traditional broadcasting and telecommunications.

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez tweeted his thanks to Scott for five years of service and hard work.

In a speech last week at a culture summit, Rodriguez said it was “time to modernize” the CRTC.

He said he heard “concerns” about the CRTC, adding that “government and technology haven’t always worked so well together.”

But he said the CRTC has a long history of supporting Canadian culture, has “done a lot of great things” and has more expertise than anyone else in its sphere.

He said the government would “make sure they have what they need to deliver”, including funds.

Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet Law at the University of Ottawa, said the new chair will be “an extremely important appointment that will have a huge influence on the future of the Internet, communications and culture in Canada”.

“Given that the commission has lost the trust of many Canadians, the first task will be to restore public confidence by operating in a more non-partisan manner that puts the public interest first,” he said. .

“It will be a challenge to find the right fit, which may require choosing someone who is not seen as aligned with any of the regulated sectors and therefore free from bias concerns.”

The president, vice-presidents and commissioners of the CRTC are appointed by the Governor in Council, generally for a term of five years.

Scott’s term ends September 4 and Simard’s term ends September 10.

In its advertisement for Scott’s role, the federal government says it is looking for experience in digital media, broadcasting or telecommunications, as well as in the regulatory environment in Canada and abroad.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 13, 2022.

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