The CRTC’s decision to require registration for a wide range of Internet sites and services that meet a $10 million revenue threshold, including podcasters, adult sites, and news sites, appears to have taken many Canadians by surprise. For anyone who closely followed Bill C-11, this was entirely expected given that the bill adopts an approach in which all audio and video content anywhere in the world is subject to Canada’s Broadcasting Act. I listed many of the sites that are now caught by the regulations back in 2021 based on an internal Heritage memo that identified many that no one would reasonably describe as web giants. In other words, this isn’t an outlier. Rather, it is how the government crafted the law with a “regulate everything” default and the expectation that the CRTC would establish some exemptions. But even if most Canadians were only vaguely aware of the exceptionally broad scope of Bill C-11, they might still have missed the regulatory process that led the CRTC to establish the $10 million threshold and acknowledge that this is the first step in a bigger regulatory plan. That is because the Commission intentionally limited public participation and rejected efforts to extend the timeline for submissions on the grounds that the issue was “industry focused and relatively narrow in scope.”
Limiting Public Participation: Why No One Should Be Surprised at the CRTC’s Internet Services Registration Requirement Ruling
Last week, the CRTC issued the first two of what are likely to be at least a dozen decisions involving the Online Streaming Act. Those decisions are already sparking controversy, but as the Commission focuses on Bill C-11 and perhaps soon Bill C-18, there is mounting concern that its other responsibilities are falling by the wayside that its independence from the government is starting to show cracks. Peter Menzies is a former Vice-Chair of the CRTC and frequently commentator on broadcast, telecom and Internet regulatory issues. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the current state of the Commission, which has never seemed more important but also seemed more out of touch and incapable of meeting its duties.
The Documents Don’t Lie, Even If It Appears Pablo Rodriguez Does: ATIP Reveals His Office Was Informed Within Minutes of CMAC/Marouf Termination Notice
When national concern broke out over Canadian Heritage funding an anti-semite as part of its anti-hate program in August 2022, then Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez was nowhere to be found. While specific responsibility for the program lay with cabinet colleague Ahmed Hussen, internal documents obtained under the Access to Information Act reveal that Rodriguez’s office was well aware of the issue. But when Rodriguez appeared before the Canadian Heritage committee last fall and was asked about the issue, he said he knew nothing about it until August 22, 2022. As I posted yesterday, that testimony appears to be false as his chief of staff, deputy minister, and office personnel raised concerns nearly a week before that date.
In fact, additional documents obtained under ATIP indicate that Rodriguez’s office was kept abreast of major developments for days, including immediately being informed on August 19th that Canadian Heritage legal personnel had served Marouf’s organization with notice that it was terminating the contribution contract.
The Need for Truthful Accountability: What ATIP Records Tell Us About Pablo Rodriguez and Canadian Heritage Funding an Anti-Semite
The past few days have been painful to watch as Canadian politicians grapple with the aftermath of recognizing and applauding a Nazi in the House of Commons. The episode and its response brings back memories from last year’s discouraging response to revelations that Canadian Heritage’s anti-hate program had provided funding to Laith Marouf, a known anti-semite. While there are obvious differences, the commonality lies in the pain to the Jewish community and the reticence for full-throated apologies and public engagement, misplaced hope that the issue will just recede from public attention, slow commitments to ensure it does not happen again, and reluctanc