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February 23, 2021 – Investment in the telecommunications sector is vital for ensuring Canada’s next generation digital infrastructure, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.  

At their recent meetings, the Telecommunications Working Group identified and discussed policy challenges facing Canada’s telecommunications sector. The group of experts in both the private sector and academia is co-chaired by Len Waverman, Dean of DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University; and Steve Orsini, Adjunct Professor, Public Policy & Administration, Carleton University and former Ontario Secretary of Cabinet.

The shift to remote work and digital services due to COVID-19 underscores how essential reliable and leading-edge infrastructure is. And although infrastructure investment by Canadian telecommunications providers outpaces its peers internationally, the working group agrees governments must focus on regulatory clarity, timeliness and stability to help drive greater investments in critically needed infrastructure.   

Innovations in precision agriculture, automated hauling at mine sites, telemedicine, autonomous vehicles, and open banking all depend on a foundation of high-speed connectivity. If Canada faces a sluggish rollout of next generation broadband and wireless infrastructure, consumers and businesses will lack access to the world-leading digital technologies.

The group recommends the federal government provide facilities-based providers with a clear and predictable regulatory framework that balances vigorous price competition with incentives for ongoing investment to improve network and service quality. Government policy should also support sustainable competition, giving Canadians across the country more choice.

For more information, please contact: Benjamin Dachis, Director of Public Affairs, C.D. Howe Institute; or Nancy Schlomer, Communications Officer, C.D. Howe Institute, email: nschlomer@cdhowe.org

The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. Widely considered to be Canada's most influential think tank, the Institute is a trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.

Full Communiqué: CWGR_2021_0223.pdf