Industry Canada’s Report on Plans and Priorities for 2014-15 includes a notable paragraph on priorities for the digital economy. The report states:
In 2014â€“15, Industry Canada will deliver the telecommunications consumer commitments included in the 2013 Speech from the Throne. These include taking legislative action to amend the Telecommunications Act to reduce roaming costs and prevent wireless providers from charging other companies more than they charge their own customers for mobile services. The Department will also protect consumer interests by encouraging compliance and adopting more effective remedies, including administrative monetary penalties, when violations occur. Industry Canada will continue to promote investment in high-speed broadband networks for rural Canadians.
These priorities are an important part of a robust digital economy. Other elements will include: modernizing the privacy regime to better protect consumer privacy online; monitoring the implementation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation; and deepening analysis of Canada’s communications infrastructure.
While the telecom actions were expected, the commitment to modernizing Canadian privacy laws is new (albeit long overdue). Previous privacy reform bills died on last year, leaving the government years behind in addressing PIPEDA reform. The Industry Canada report suggests that some legislative action may finally be on the way.