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Meeting Summary – General Meeting – December 45, 2014

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Manon Bombardier, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), presented her colleagues Amy Hanley, Kelly-Anne Smith, Jeff Conrad and Pierre-Marc Perrault. The objective of the presentation was to inform on new requirements under Bill C-23: the Voter Contact Registry.

This was the first appearance of the CRTC at an ACPP meeting. Ms. Bombardier explained that members of her office were invited as an opportunity to build awareness and that they are exploring a broad range of outreach opportunities.

Discussion

Several questions were raised about registration notices. CRTC officials clarified that both the party and the service provider need to register within 48 hours of the first call.

A member asked if organizations calling their members to suggest the ways to vote would have to register if they use robocalls. The CRTC said that if it falls within the mandate of the voter call legislation, then they would have to register. The Voter Contact Registry will not necessarily curb all abuses, but the CRTC does use other tools to catch abusers. The CRTC does not pre-authorize scripts for the calls and does not see scripts from parties unless the CRTC asks for scripts as part of an investigation.

Concerns were expressed around the practices of leaders' debates (in particular, the lack of access to these by small parties). The CRTC noted that this is set out in the Broadcasting Act. Allotment of minutes is the decision of the Broadcasting Arbitrator. Participants can write to the Commission to ask it to change its policy or to ask it to review the policy if they think it is unfair. They can also write to their member of Parliament for changes to the Broadcasting Act.