In July 2007, the Canadian government appointed the
Competition Policy Review Panel, chaired by former telecom
industry executive L.R. (Red) Wilson, to review key elements of
Canada's competition and investment policies to ensure
they are working effectively. Among the specific issues under
examination are restrictions on foreign ownership in the
Canadian telecommunications and broadcasting industries.
Currently, Canada imposes restrictions on foreign investors
in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. The
restrictions include the proportion of voting shares that
non-Canadians can hold, directorship positions occupied by
non-Canadians and the requirement that non-Canadians not have
"control in fact" over the telecommunications or
broadcasting entity. The restrictions derive from the
Telecommunications Act, regulations under that
Act and the Radiocommunication Act, and, in
the case of broadcasting undertakings (including cable TV
operators), pursuant to a Government Direction under the
The foreign-ownership restrictions in the telecommunications
sector have been repeatedly criticized as counter-productive to
Canada's goal of achieving increased productivity and
competitiveness. These criticisms have come not only from
domestic bodies such the Canadian Competition Bureau and the
2006 Telecommunications Policy Review Panel, but also from
international organizations such as the OECD. By contrast,
support has been expressed for maintaining the restrictions in
the broadcasting sector, given its cultural importance.
Thus far the Panel has issued a consultation paper,
solicited submissions and conducted in-person consultations.
Submissions have been received from numerous carriers,
broadcasters and other interested parties, including US
companies such as Level 3, Nextwave, Verizon and Vonage, and
the Satellite Industry Association. Cultural groups, unions,
and some of the incumbent operators have generally advocated
maintaining the status quo in both the telecommunications and
broadcasting sectors; non-incumbent telecom, satellite, and
cable companies have generally supported eliminating or
reducing foreign ownership restrictions, particularly in the
The Panel is scheduled to report to the Minister of Industry
by the end of June. The Government will then decide what steps
to take to respond to the Panel's recommendations.
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On March 11, 2009, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial
Institutions of Canada (OSFI) released a revised version of Guideline B-10, Outsourcing of Business Activities, Functions and Processes.
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