The CRTC’s Bill C-11 consultations are off to a rocky start with mounting concern over short deadlines that may limit public participation and reduce the quality of the submissions. A dozen groups have asked the Commission to extend the deadlines with more groups joining in the call. The deadline for comment on the extension ended yesterday and I navigated an exceptionally difficult consultation process (more on that shortly) to submit the comments posted below. I support the extension but argue that a better approach would be to wait until the government’s policy direction process is final and there is certainty on support for public interest group participation.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 168: Privacy Commissioner of Canada Philippe Dufresne on How to Fix Bill C-27
It has taken many months, but Bill C-27, the government’s long overdue effort at privacy reform finally is headed to committee for review. Philippe Dufresne, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has been patiently waiting for this moment, armed with a comprehensive review of the bill and a wide range of recommendations for amendments that include a more explicit framing of privacy as a fundamental right.
Dufresne was appointed as Canada’s privacy commissioner nearly one year ago and in months since has made numerous committee appearances, issued high profile findings involving companies such as Home Depot, battled Internet companies in the courts, and worked on the privacy implications of AI. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to reflect back on his first year in the position and to outline his proposals to strengthen Canada’s best shot at a modernized privacy law.
CRTC Chair Vicky Eatrides Faces Her First Big Test: Is the Commission Serious About Public Participation on Bill C-11?
Earlier this month, the CRTC issued the first three of what may become at least nine public consultations on Bill C-11. As I lamented in a post on the consultations, “with short timelines, no resources or support mechanisms for new groups and entities interested in participating, and the absence of the policy direction, this is not a serious attempt to fully engage in Canadians.” A wide range of Canadian cultural, consumer, and independent groups have now escalated the issue by formally asking the CRTC to extend its submission period to late July rather than the current June deadlines. The request, which comes from groups that have both supported and criticized Bill C-11, should be a no-brainer given the absurdly short deadlines that severely limit the ability of many groups to effectively participate in the Bill C-11 consultation process.
Ready, Fire, Aim: Eleven Thoughts on the CRTC’s Bill C-11 Consultations
The CRTC last week released the first three of at least nine planned consultations on the implementation of Bill C-11 (I was out of the country teaching an intensive course so playing catch-up right now). The consultations focus on the broad structure of the regulatory framework, registration requirements, and transitions from the current system of exemptions to one of regulations. The timeline to participate in this consultation is extremely tight with comments due as early as June 12th for two of the consultations and June 27th for the larger regulatory framework one. As the title of this post suggests, the CRTC is adopting an approach of shoot first, aim later. The consultations suggest that there is little interest in hearing from anyone outside of the legacy groups that have long dominated CRTC hearings. Indeed, by moving forward with incredibly tight timelines, without the government’s promised policy directive, and without support for newer groups to back their participation, the documents leave the distinct impression that the Commission had surrendered its independence and already made up its mind on how to implement Bill C-11.
The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 167: Inside My Senate Committee Appearance on the Many Risks of Bill C-18
Bill C-18, the Online News Act, has now shifted to the Senate, where the Transportation and Communications committee, is reviewing a bill that has led Meta to say it plans to block news sharing in Canada altogether in the bill passes in its current form. I appeared before the committee earlier this month with discussion that focused on a wide range of issues, including the risks of mandating payments for links, the non-compliance with international copyright obligations, why the CBC should not be included in the payment for links system, and how a fund would be a better approach. This week’s Lawbytes podcast goes inside the committee room for my opening statement and exchanges with half a dozen Senators.