It’s been an eventful last few months for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ever since Jean-Pierre Blais took up the Chairman’s position in June. Under his helm, the regulatory body has adopted an aggressive zero-tolerance attitude towards telemarketing violators and spammers.
He’s also launched several new initiatives such as the recent public consultation to see what customers think as to developing a national code on new standards for wireless services. It’s believed that Blais played an instrumental role in rejecting the Bell-Astral deal, claiming it was bad for Canada.
While he’s done a decent job so far, there’s no doubt that tougher challenges lie ahead. At a public address at the annual conference of the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications, Blais yesterday emphasised the need to “rebuild” the trust of Canadians by renewing its focus on consumers, creators and citizens.
The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. In that context, Blais started off on the right note – he admitted that there’s some skepticism about the CRTC and the regulatory body has ‘some work’ to do to rebuild that trust. He promised to put Canadians front and centre in its work. He mentioned that Canadian families spend an average of $2,100 a year on communications services – a significant expense so they deserve to get reliable services.
“It’s important to listen to Canadians. I will be listening myself to find out what they think about the job we’re doing. When it comes to accountability, I actually walk the talk. Social media provide all kinds of opportunities for Canadians to say what’s on their minds, and they’re not shy about giving us an earful. I spend a lot of time reading what they have to say. So, in the spirit of the questions I will be asking applicants, let me turn the table on myself,” he said.
Blais strongly emphasized the need to offer maximum choice of services to Canadians. He strongly reiterated the need to have healthy competition among multiple service providers everywhere, not just in the more populated parts of the country.
At the same time, Blais clarified that the CRTC doesn’t want to be a heavy-handed regulator, adding that the need for corrective measures should be an exception rather than the rule.
Blais’ term expires in 2017 so he’s still got plenty of time to match his words with action. We at TheTelecomBlog certainly hope that he’ll rise to the challenges and bring in changes in Canada’s telecommunication industry for good.