Speech Article from  Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Jean Pierre Blais at the public hearing on next-generation 9-1-1 services

Gatineau, Quebec
16 January 2017

Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Check against delivery

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing. Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are meeting here today on the traditional lands of the First Nations. I would like to thank the Algonquin people and pay respect to their elders.

As you know, access to 9-1-1 emergency services plays a key role during emergencies. The safety of all Canadians depends on these services. The hearing starting this morning is part of a proceeding to establish a regulatory framework for next-generation 9-1-1 services in Canada.

Broadband is transforming our world every day. All areas and facets of society, from health to education to agriculture, among others, benefit from new tools and new and efficient ways of doing things. Emergency services can also benefit from these developments.

What are next-generation 9-1-1 services?

Simply put, technological advances could allow citizens in need of emergency assistance to send text messages, photos, videos and other data to 9-1-1 operators, in addition to making 9-1-1 phone calls.

For example, they could stream video from an incident site, send photos of damages from an accident scene or of a fleeing suspect, or even transmit personal medical information, all of which could be of great value to emergency response services.

Delivery of 9-1-1 services in Canada is a complex issue requiring coordination between various parties, including telecommunications service providers, 9-1-1 network providers, 9-1-1 call centers and all levels of government.

The CRTC’s role is to provide regulatory oversight of the telecommunications service providers’ networks and the specialized 9-1-1 networks. Over time, the CRTC has established a number of measures to ensure that telecommunications networks provide reliable and effective access to 9-1-1 services in Canada.

This proceeding is needed to, take into account the evolving public safety needs of Canadians, among other things. Next Generation 9-1-1 could allow Canadians to access new and innovative services and capacities.

During this hearing, the CRTC will be considering the following key issues:

  • the roles and responsibilities of telecommunications service providers;
  • how the costs incurred by telecommunications service providers for these new services should be recovered;
  • the transition steps and timing for the next-generation 9-1-1 services;
  • the evolution of 9-1-1 networks and services to take advantage of technological advancements, while taking into consideration the evolving needs and habits of Canadians, and
  • finally, while 9-1-1 call centers do not fall within the CRTC’s jurisdiction, our decision will take into account their migration plans for the next-generation 9-1-1 services they expect to support.

Over the next few days, we will discuss these issues with all intervenors and examine their positions.

Process

I would like to make a few introductions before we begin.

The panel for this hearing consists of:

  • Peter Menzies, Vice-Chairman, Telecommunications,
  • Stephen Simpson, Regional Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon,
  • Linda Vennard, Regional Commissioner for Alberta and the Northwest Territories,
  • Christopher MacDonald, Regional Commissioner for the Atlantic and Nunavut, and
  • myself, Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. I will be presiding over this hearing.

The Commission team assisting us includes:

  • Renée Doiron and Kim Wardle, hearing managers;
  • Eric Bowles and Alexander Ly, legal counsel; and
  • Jade Roy, hearing secretary.

I would now like to invite Ms. Roy to explain the procedure we will be following.

Madam Secretary ….

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