New Developments in Communications Law and Policy
Shaw Centre, Ottawa
14 AND 15 NOVEMBER 2017
IIC Canadian Chapter Annual Conference
The annual conference of the Canadian Chapter of IIC (IIC Canada) was held at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa on November 14 & 15, 2017. This, the 15th annual IIC Canada conference, was the first to adopt a new format, that of the “Communications Law and Policy” conference which had previously been sponsored by the Law Society of Upper Canada. In addition to the expert panel discussions and keynote presentations typical of IIC Canada conferences, this format provided delegates with in-depth research papers, continuing professional development (CPD) credits for lawyers, and complimentary copies of the Canadian regulatory law and policy handbooks (prepared biennially by McCarthy Tétrault LLP). IIC Canada plans to continue to offer this format biennially, while continuing its traditional conference format in even years, focusing more on communications policy, politics and industry trends.
The new conference format proved to be very successful. It attracted 284 delegates, more than either IIC Canada or Law Society Conferences in recent years. Delegates included a mix of regulatory staff from the major government institutions (CRTC, ISED, Canadian Heritage, the Competition Bureau, etc.), lawyers, communications industry executives, principally in the regulatory and GR areas, consultants, academics and other industry stakeholders. Twelve accredited media reporters attended and the conference was televised by CPAC, the Canadian Cable Public Affairs Channel for broadcast on its main channel and permanent web-archiving on its site.
The conference was organized by a small working committee consisting of IIC Canada chair, Hank Intven and treasurer, Jim Patrick, together with board members Grant Buchanan and Laurence Dunbar. Grant and Laurie played the key role of co-chairing the program steering committee, which selected program topics, recruited most speakers and commissioned relevant research papers. IIC Canada Administrator, Donna Lachance, working with Jim Patrick turned the conference from a great idea into a high quality experience – of broadcast quality – with good networking opportunities for the Canadian communications policy and regulatory players.
Keynote speakers included new CRTC Chair Ian Scott, U.S. FCC Commissioner (and former General Counsel) Brendan Carr, and trade experts, Sarah Goldfeder and Colin Robertson, who discussed implications of the Trump-inspired renegotiation of NAFTA for communications and other sectors in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
Panels of experts discussed the following topics, (many of which were the subject of research papers provided online to conference delegates):
- Regulating "Uncivil Discourse" on the Internet: Defamation, Hate Speech, and Fake News
- Copyright Act Reform: Key Issues for the Five-Year Review
- Privacy and Big Data
- Internet Piracy
- Canadian Courts and Internet Jurisdiction
- The Impact of New Legal Technologies on the Legal Profession
- Surveillance and Cyberattacks
- The CRTC's Enforcement Regimes
Feedback from delegates, including survey results, has been very positive, and we look forward to repeating the event in the future.
Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), USA
Special Assistant to President for Technology, Telecoms and Cybersecurity, National Economic Council
Chairperson and CEO, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)