Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC, in French Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes) was created in 1976 when it took over responsibility for regulating telecommunication carriers. Prior to 1976, it was known as the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, which was established in 1968 by the Parliament of Canada to replace the Board of Broadcast Governors.



The CRTC was originally known as the Canadian Radio-Television Commission. In 1976, jurisdiction over telecommunications services, most of which were then delivered by monopoly common carriers (e.g., telephone companies), was transferred to it from the Canadian Transport Commission although the abbreviation CRTC remained the same. On the telecom side, the CRTC originally regulated only privately held common carriers, such as B.C. Tel (now part of Telus), in which a U.S. company (GTE) had a substantial stake; Bell Canada, which served Ontario, most of Quebec, and part of the Northwest Territories; and operations in Newfoundland, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and northern B.C. Other telephone companies, many of which were publicly owned, were regulated by provincial authorities until court rulings during the 1990s affirmed federal jurisdiction over the sector, which also included some fifty small independent incumbents, most of them in Ontario and Quebec.


The CRTC regulates all Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications activities and enforces rules it creates to carry out the policies assigned to it; the best-known of these is probably the Canadian content rules. The CRTC reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Canadian Heritage, which is responsible for the Broadcasting Act, and has an informal relationship with Industry Canada, which is responsible for the Telecommunications Act. Provisions in these two acts, along with less-formal instructions issued by the federal cabinet known as orders-in-council, represent the bulk of the CRTC's jurisdiction.

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