CRTC Commissioner Addresses Canadian Telecom Summit: Focus on November 30th STIR/SHAKEN Deadline and Next-Generation 911 Regulations

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Commissioner Ian Scott addressed the Canadian Telecom Summit today, highlighting key areas that will likely be the CRTC’s focus over the next year and anticipated updates to the telecommunications and broadband industry in Canada.

CRTC takes November 30, 2021 STIR/SHAKEN Implementation Deadline for all TSPs Seriously

Commissioner Scott confirmed that “on November 30, STIR/SHAKEN technology will become a mandatory condition of service for telecommunications service providers” (TSPs). This suggests, as we previously noted, that STIR/SHAKEN compliance will be a mandatory requirement for all TSPs offering service in Canada. While cross-border STIR/SHAKEN issues—such as how to handle a US-issued Secure Telephone Identify (STI) Certificates in Canada or vice versa—are pending, TSPs should not delay in implementing STIR/SHAKEN before the deadline, which is only two weeks away. TSPs should soon be able to apply for Service Provider Code (SPC) Tokens from the Canadian Secure Token Governance Authority (CST-GA), providing direct access to STI Certificates and allowing for higher level (Level A and B) attestation.

Commissioner Outlines Other CRTC Priorities

Commissioner Scott also touched on a few other topics, suggesting they are CRTC priorities for 2022:

  • Reiterating the March 2022 launch of next-generation 911 voice services, which will allow Canadian 911 service to transition to an Internet protocol (IP)-based system that could allow photos, videos, and medical data to be available to first responders before they arrive on-scene;
  • Discussing creation of a three-digit number (such as 988 in the US) for mental health intervention services;
  • Discussing closing the broadband gap by improving broadband services via the Broadband Fund;

Commission Scott also noted the CRTC believes its approach to implementing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) access service is valid and acknowledged, with respect to final wholesale aggregated broadband access service rate, the “[CRTC] got that initial decision wrong.” In doing so, Commissioner Scott noted the Telecommunications Act was drafted with review and variance provisions in anticipation that the CRTC “may sometimes make mistakes or base its decisions on an incomplete record.”

The Time to Implement Compliance is Now

Based on Commissioner Scott’s remarks, the CRTC takes its role in regulating and even guiding Canada’s telecommunications industry seriously and expects TSP to do the same, particularly with respect to STIR/SHAKEN. As always, it’s best to take a proactive approach and avoid the consequence of non-compliance, including a CRTC investigation and potential administrative monetary penalties (AMPs).

If you have questions about the applicability of the CRTC’s STIR/SHAKEN requirements, need assistance with preparing an application to the CST-GA, or have other CRTC compliance and applicability questions, please reach out to Ivan Zajicek at 703-714-1310 or isz@commlawgroup.com.

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