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STATUTES OF CANADA CHAPTER 38

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

[Short title]

1. This Act may be cited as the Telecommunications Act.

PART I

GENERAL

Interpretation

[Definitions]

2. (1) In this Act,

["broadcasting undertaking''
"entreprise de radiodiffusion "]

"broadcasting undertaking'' has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act;

["Canadian carrier''
" entreprise canadienne "]

"Canadian carrier'' means a telecommunications common carrier that is subject to the legislative authority of Parliament;

["Canadian telecommunications policy objectives''
Version anglaise seulement]

"Canadian telecommunications policy objectives'' means the objectives set out in section 7;

["charge''
Version anglaise seulement]

"charge'' includes to receive in payment;

["Commission''
" Conseil "]

"Commission'' means the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission;

["control''
" contrôle "]

"control'' means control in any manner that results in control in fact, whether directly through the ownership of securities or indirectly through a trust, agreement or arrangement, the ownership of any body corporate or otherwise;

["decision''
" décision "]

"decision'' includes a determination made by the Commission in any form;

["exempt transmission apparatus''
" appareil de transmission exclu "]

"exempt transmission apparatus'' means any apparatus whose functions are limited to one or more of the following:

(a) the switching of telecommunications,

(b) the input, capture, storage, organization, modification, retrieval, output or other processing of intelligence, or

(c) control of the speed, code, protocol, content, format, routing or similar aspects of the transmission of intelligence;

["intelligence''
" information "]

"intelligence'' means signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence of any nature;

["international submarine cable''
" câble sous-marin international "]

"international submarine cable'' means a submarine telecommunications line that extends between Canada and any place outside Canada, or between places outside Canada through Canada, other than a line situated entirely under fresh water;

["international submarine cable licence''
" licence de câble sous-marin "]

"international submarine cable licence'' means a licence issued under section 19;

["Minister''
" ministre "]

"Minister'' means the Minister of Industry;

["person''
" personne "]

"person'' includes any individual, partnership, body corporate, unincorporated organization, government, government agency, trustee, executor, administrator or other legal representative;

["prescribed''
Version anglaise seulement]

"prescribed'' means prescribed by regulation;

["public authority''
" administration publique "]

"public authority'' includes Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province;

["rate''
" tarif "]

"rate'' means an amount of money or other consideration and includes zero consideration;

["special Act''
" loi spéciale "]

"special Act'' means an Act of Parliament respecting the operations of a particular Canadian carrier;

["telecommunications''
" télécommunication "]

"telecommunications'' means the emission, transmission or reception of intelligence by any wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system, or by any similar technical system;

["telecommunications common carrier''
" entreprise de télécommunication "]

"telecommunications common carrier'' means a person who owns or operates a transmission facility used by that person or another person to provide telecommunications services to the public for compensation;

["telecommunications facility''
" installation de télécommunication "]

"telecommunications facility'' means any facility, apparatus or other thing that is used or is capable of being used for telecommunications or for any operation directly connected with telecommunications, and includes a transmission facility;

["telecommunications service''
" service ... "]

"telecommunications service'' means a service provided by means of telecommunications facilities and includes the provision in whole or in part of telecommunications facilities and any related equipment, whether by sale, lease or otherwise;

[``telecommunications service provider''

"fournisseur de services de télécommunication "]

``telecommunications service provider'' means a person who provides basic telecommunications services, including by exempt transmission apparatus;

["transmission facility''
" installation de transmission"]

"transmission facility'' means any wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system, or any similar technical system, for the transmission of intelligence between network termination points, but does not include any exempt transmission apparatus.

[Definition of "network termination point'']

(2) The Commission may define the expression "network termination point'' for purposes of the definition "transmission facility'' in subsection (1).

Her Majesty

[Act binding on Her Majesty]

3. This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.

Application

[Broadcasting excluded]

4. This Act does not apply in respect of broadcasting by a broadcasting undertaking.

[Receivership]

5. A trustee, receiver or manager who, under the authority of any court or any legal instrument, operates any transmission facility of a Canadian carrier is subject to this Act.

[Special Acts]

6. The provisions of this Act prevail over the provisions of any special Act to the extent that they are inconsistent.

Canadian Telecommunications Policy

[Objectives]

7. It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada's identity and sovereignty and that the Canadian telecommunications policy has as its objectives

(a) to facilitate the orderly development throughout Canada of a telecommunications system that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions;

(b) to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada;

(c) to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness, at the national and international levels, of Canadian telecommunications;

(d) to promote the ownership and control of Canadian carriers by Canadians;

(e) to promote the use of Canadian transmission facilities for telecommunications within Canada and between Canada and points outside Canada;

(f) to foster increased reliance on market forces for the provision of telecommunications services and to ensure that regulation, where required, is efficient and effective;

(g) to stimulate research and development in Canada in the field of telecommunications and to encourage innovation in the provision of telecommunications services;

(h) to respond to the economic and social requirements of users of telecommunications services; and

(i) to contribute to the protection of the privacy of persons.

Powers of Governor in Council, Commission and Minister

[Directions]

8. The Governor in Council may, by order, issue to the Commission directions of general application on broad policy matters with respect to the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives.

[Exemptions]

9. (1) The Commission may, by order, exempt any class of Canadian carriers from the application of this Act, subject to any conditions contained in the order, where the Commission, after holding a public hearing in relation to the exemption, is satisfied that the exemption is consistent with the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives.

[Inquiry and determination]

(2) The Commission may, on application by any interested person or on its own motion, inquire into and determine whether any condition of an exemption order has been complied with.

[Interested persons]

(3) The decision of the Commission that a person is or is not an interested person is binding and conclusive.

[Publication of proposed order]

10. (1) The Minister shall have an order proposed to be made under section 8 published in the Canada Gazette and laid before each House of Parliament, and a reasonable opportunity shall be given to interested persons to make representations to the Minister with respect to the proposed order.

[Consultation]

(2) The Minister shall consult the Commission with respect to an order proposed to be made under section 8 before it is published or laid under this section and shall consult the Commission again with respect to the order in its definitive form before it is made.

[Transmittal and tabling of exemption orders]

(3) The Commission shall send to the Minister an order proposed to be made under section 9 and the Minister shall have the order laid before each House of Parliament.

[Reference to committees]

(4) A proposed order laid before a House of Parliament stands referred to such committee as is designated by order of that House to receive such orders.

[Modification after publication]

(5) A proposed order that is modified after publication need not be published again under subsection (1).

[Making of order]

(6) After the fortieth sitting day of Parliament following the first day on which a proposed order has been laid before both Houses, the Governor in Council or the Commission, as the case may be, may make the order either as proposed or with any modifications the Governor in Council or the Commission considers advisable.

[Tabling of orders]

(7) After an order is made under section 8, the Minister shall have it laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the order is made.

[Transmittal and tabling of exemption orders]

(8) After an order is made under section 9, the Commission shall immediately send it to the Minister who shall have it laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the order is sent.

[Meaning of "sitting day'']

(9) For the purposes of this section, a "sitting day'' is a day on which either House of Parliament is sitting.

[Effect of order]

11. (1) An order made under section 8 is binding on the Commission beginning on the day on which the order comes into force.

[Pending matters]

(2) Subject to subsection (3), an order made under section 8 shall, if It so provides, apply in respect of matters pending before the Commission on the day on which the order comes into force.

[Idem]

(3) An order made under section 8 does not apply in respect of a matter pending before the Commission on the day on which the order comes into force if

(a) final submissions have been filed in respect of that matter; and

(b) less than one year has expired since the period for filing final submissions ended.

[Variation, rescission or referral]

12. (1) Within one year after a decision by the Commission, the Governor in Council may, on petition in writing presented to the Governor in Council within ninety days after the decision, or on the Governor in Council's own motion, by order, vary or rescind the decision or refer it back to the Commission for reconsideration of all or a portion of it.

[Copy of petition to Commission]

(2) A person who presents a petition to the Governor in Council shall, at the same time, send a copy of the petition to the Commission.

[Copies to other parties]

(3) On receipt of a petition, the Commission shall send a copy of it to each person who made any oral representation to the Commission in relation to the decision that is the subject of the petition.

[Notice of petition]

(4) On receipt of a petition, the Minister shall publish in the Canada Gazette a notice of its receipt indicating where the petition and any petition or submission made in response to it may be inspected and copies of them obtained.

[Order for reference back]

(5) An order made under subsection (1) that refers a decision back to the Commission for reconsideration and hearing

(a) shall set out the details of any matter that the Governor in Council considers to be material to the reconsideration; and

(b) may specify a date before which the Commission shall complete its reconsideration.

[Reconsideration]

(6) The Commission shall, before any date specified under paragraph (5)(b), reconsider a decision referred back to it under subsection (1) and may confirm, vary or rescind the decision.

[Variation or rescission by Governor in Council ]

(7) Where the Commission confirms or varies a decision under subsection (6) or does not complete its reconsideration of the decision before any date specified under paragraph (5)(b), the Governor in Council may, by order, vary or rescind the decision within ninety days after the confirmation or variation of the decision or the specified date, as the case may be.

[Reasons]

(8) In an order made under subsection (1) or (7), the Governor in Council shall set out the reasons for making the order.

[Provincial consultation]

13. The Minister, before making a recommendation to the Governor in Council for the purposes of any order under section 8, 9 or 12, or before making any order under section 15, shall notify a minister designated by the government of each province of the Minister's intention to make the recommendation or the order and shall provide an opportunity for each of them to consult with the Minister.

[Report]

14. The Governor in Council may require the Commission to make a report on any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction under this Act or any special Act.

[Technical standards]

15. (1) The Minister may, where the Minister is satisfied that to do so will further the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives, by order made after consultation with the Commission, establish standards in respect of the technical aspects of telecommunications and require the Commission to give effect to them.

[Incorporation by reference]

(2) An order that incorporates a standard by reference may incorporate it as amended from time to time.

[Publication of proposed orders]

(3) Any order proposed to be made under this section shall be published in the Canada Gazette at least sixty days before its proposed effective date, and a reasonable opportunity shall be given to interested persons to make representations to the Minister with respect to the proposed order.

[Modification after publication]

(4) A proposed order that is modified after publication need not be published again under subsection (3).

PART II

ELIGIBILITY TO OPERATE

Canadian Ownership and Control

[Eligibility]

16. (1) A Canadian carrier is eligible to operate as a telecommunications common carrier if it is a Canadian-owned and controlled corporation incorporated or continued under the laws of Canada or a province.

[Established carriers]

(2) A Canadian carrier other than a corporation described in subsection (1) is eligible to operate as a telecommunications common carrier if it is a corporation incorporated or continued under the laws of Canada or a province and the following conditions are met:

(a) the corporation was acting, or is a successor to a person that was acting, as a telecommunications common carrier in Canada on July 22, 1987, whether or not the telecommunications operations of the corporation or the person it succeeded were regulated under any Act of Parliament on that day;

(b) the telecommunications operations on July 22, 1987 of the corporation or the person it succeeded have been continued substantially without interruption since that day by that person, if any, and the corporation;

(c) the corporation and the person it succeeded, if any, satisfied the prescribed criteria respecting continuous ownership and control by Canadians since July 22, 1987; and

(d) the corporation and the person it succeeded, if any, have operated as a telecommunications common carrier only in the territory in which the corporation or that person operated as such on July 22, 1987, or in such greater territory and in such manner as is specified by the Minister.

[Canadian ownership and control]

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), a corporation is Canadian-owned and controlled if

(a) not less than eighty per cent of the members of the board of directors of the corporation are individual Canadians;

(b) Canadians beneficially own, directly or indirectly, in the aggregate and otherwise than by way of security only, not less than eighty per cent of the corporation's voting shares issued and outstanding; and

(c) the corporation is not otherwise controlled by persons that are not Canadians.

[Prohibition]

(4) No Canadian carrier shall operate as a telecommunications common carrier unless it is eligible under this section to operate as such.

[Exemption]

(5) Subsections (1), (2) and (4) do not apply in respect of the ownership or operation of

(a) international submarine cables; or

(b) earth stations that provide telecommunications services by means of satellites.

International Telecommunications Services Licences

[Licence required - classes of telecommunications service providers]

16.1 (1) No telecommunications service provider that is of a class specified by the Commission shall provide international telecommunications services except in accordance with an international telecommunications service licence.

[Licence required - classes of service]

(2) No telecommunications service provider shall, except in accordance with an international telecommunications service licence, provide international telecommunications services that are within a class of telecommunications services specified by the Commission.

[Application]

16.2 An application for the issuance, renewal or amendment of an international telecommunications service licence must be made in the form and manner and with the information specified by the Commission, and be accompanied by the fee prescribed under subsection 68(1).

[Issuance of licences]

16.3 (1) The Commission may, on application, issue an international telecommunications service licence.

[Conditions]

(2) The Commission may, in respect of international telecommunications services,

(a) establish licence conditions in respect of classes of telecommunications service providers or classes of international telecommunications services; and

(b) include in a licence conditions that are related to the circumstances of the licensee and that the Commission considers appropriate.

[Amendment]

(3) The Commission may, on application by any interested person or on its own motion, amend any conditions of a licence.

[Term]

(4) The term of a licence may not exceed ten years on its issuance or renewal.

[Renewal]

(5) A licence may be renewed on application by the licensee.

[Transfer]

(6) A licence is not transferable except with the consent of the Commission.

[Suspension and revocation of telecommunications service licences]

16.4 (1) The Commission may suspend or revoke an international telecommunications service licence whenever the Commission believes on reasonable grounds that the licensee has contravened this Act, the regulations or any condition of the licence, but the licensee must first be given notice in writing of the reasons for the suspension or revocation and a reasonable opportunity to make representations to the Commission.

[Consent of licensee]

(2) The Commission may suspend or revoke a licence with the consent of, or on application by, the licensee.

International Submarine Cable Licences

[Licence required]

17. No person shall construct or operate an international submarine cable or construct or operate any works or facilities for the purpose of operating an international submarine cable except in accordance with an international submarine cable licence that has been issued to the person and that the person remains eligible under the regulations to hold.

[Application]

18. An application for the issuance, renewal or amendment of an international submarine cable licence must be made in the prescribed form and manner and be accompanied by the prescribed information and the prescribed fee or a fee calculated in the prescribed manner.

[Issuance of licences]

19. (1) The Minister may, on application, issue an international submarine cable licence to a person who is eligible under the regulations to hold the licence.

[Conditions]

(2) An international submarine cable licence may contain such conditions as the Minister considers are consistent with the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives.

[Term]

(3) The term of an international submarine cable licence may not exceed ten years on issuance of the licence or on renewal.

[Amendment, renewal and transfer]

(4) An international submarine cable licence may be amended or renewed on application by the licensee, but a licence is not transferable except with the consent of the Minister.

[Suspension and revocation of licences]

20. (1) The Minister may suspend or revoke an international submarine cable licence whenever the Minister believes on reasonable grounds that the licensee has ceased to be eligible under the regulations or has contravened this Act, the regulations or any condition of the licence but the licensee must first be given notice in writing of the reasons for the suspension or revocation and a reasonable opportunity to make representations to the Minister.

[Idem]

(2) The Minister may suspend or revoke an international submarine cable licence on application made by or with the consent of the licensee.

Documentary Evidence

[Supporting affidavit]

21. The Minister may require the furnishing of an affidavit or a solemn declaration attesting to the authenticity of any document provided under this Part or the regulations, or to the truth of any fact stated in any such document or in any application submitted under this Part.

Regulations

[Regulations]

22. (1) The Governor in Council may, in relation to Canadian carriers' eligibility under section 16 to operate as telecommunications common carriers, make regulations

(a) respecting information that is to be provided, the persons by whom and to whom it is to be provided, the manner in which and the time within which it is to be provided and the consequences of failing to provide it;

(b) respecting the circumstances and the manner in which a Canadian carrier, in order to maintain its eligibility, may control the acquisition and ownership of its voting shares, restrict, suspend or refuse to recognize ownership rights in respect of those shares and require holders of those shares to dispose of them;

(c) authorizing the board of directors of a Canadian carrier to pay a dividend or to make any other distribution with respect to voting shares that would otherwise be prohibited because the shares were held in contravention of section 16 or any regulations made under this subsection where, in the board's opinion, the contravention was inadvertent or of a technical nature or it would be otherwise inequitable not to pay the dividend or make the distribution;

(d) respecting the circumstances and the manner in which a Canadian carrier may restrict voting rights attached to shares, or suspend or void the exercise of those rights, in order to maintain its eligibility;

(e) respecting the circumstances and the manner in which a Canadian carrier may

(i) sell, redeem or purchase shares held contrary to section 16 or any regulations made under this subsection, and

(ii) deal with the proceeds of sale and reimburse any purchasers of the shares in good faith;

(f) respecting the powers of a Canadian carrier to require disclosure of the beneficial ownership of its shares, the right of the carrier and its directors, officers, employees and agents to rely on any required disclosure and the effects of their reliance;

(g) respecting the verification by the Commission of a Canadian carrier's eligibility, the measures the Commission may take to maintain the carrier's eligibility, including exercising the powers of the carrier's board of directors and countermanding its decisions, and the circumstances and manner in which the Commission may take those measures;

(h) respecting the circumstances and manner in which the Commission and its members, officers, employees or agents or a Canadian carrier and its directors, officers, employees and agents may be protected from liability for actions taken by them in order to maintain the carrier's eligibility;

(i) defining the words "successor'' and "Canadian'' for the purposes of section 16; and

(j) prescribing anything that is to be prescribed and generally for carrying out the purposes and provisions of section 16 and this subsection.

[Idem]

(2) The Governor in Council may, in relation to international submarine cable licences, make regulations

(a) prescribing the procedure governing applications for licences, including the form of applications, the information to accompany them and the manner of filing, processing and disposing of them;

(b) respecting the form of licences and the information they must include and requiring licensees to publish or otherwise make them available for public inspection;

(c) prescribing classes of international submarine cable licences and determining the persons eligible to hold licences of any particular class;

(d) prescribing fees, or the manner of calculating fees, in respect of licences and prescribing the manner in which the fees are to be paid; and

(e) generally for carrying out the purposes and provisions of sections 17 to 20.

[Liability for fees]

(3) Fees required to be paid under this Part constitute a debt due to Her Majesty in right of Canada and may be recovered in a court of competent jurisdiction.

[Publication of proposed regulations]

(4) Any regulations proposed to be made under this section shall be published in the Canada Gazette at least sixty days before their proposed effective date, and a reasonable opportunity shall be given to interested persons to make representations to the Minister with respect to the proposed regulations.

[Idem]

(5) Proposed regulations that are modified after publication need not be published again under subsection (4).

PART III

RATES, FACILITIES AND SERVICES

Provision of Services

[Meaning of "telecommunications service'']

23. For the purposes of this Part and Part IV, "telecommunications service'' has the same meaning as in section 2 and includes any service that is incidental to the business of providing telecommunications services.

[Conditions of service]

24. The offering and provision of any telecommunications service by a Canadian carrier are subject to any conditions imposed by the Commission or included in a tariff approved by the Commission.

[Telecommunications rates to be approved]

25. (1) No Canadian carrier shall provide a telecommunications service except in accordance with a tariff filed with and a