Panel recommends new powers, roles for CRTC as part of sweeping review

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission would get sweeping new powers and responsibilities, including oversight of foreign streaming services, if the government adopts an expert panel’s recommendations.

The 235-page report makes 97 recommendations that come after more than 18 months of consultations headed by Janet Yale, a former telecommunications executive and CRTC commissioner.

It says the CRTC would be responsible for a new registration process for media content on the internet, whether the provider is domestic or a foreign entity like Netflix.

Many of the recommendations are directed at the makeup and enforcement powers of the CRTC, which is currently the key federal agency responsible for upholding Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications acts.

It also recommends that the federal government immediately require foreign media content suppliers to collect the goods and services tax on subscriptions in order to eliminate a disadvantage faced by their Canadian competitors.

The Trudeau government assigned the panel to consider a vast array of issues — from the role of foreign streaming services like Netflix, to mobile phone and internet services, to the future of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.