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Telecommunications Act (S.C. 1993, c. 38)

Act current to 2024-06-19 and last amended on 2023-06-22. Previous Versions

Telecommunications Act

S.C. 1993, c. 38

Assented to 1993-06-23

An Act respecting telecommunications

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Telecommunications Act.

PART IGeneral


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,

    broadcasting undertaking

    broadcasting undertaking has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act; (entreprise de radiodiffusion)

    Canadian carrier

    Canadian carrier means a telecommunications common carrier that is subject to the legislative authority of Parliament; (entreprise canadienne)

    Canadian telecommunications policy objectives

    Canadian telecommunications policy objectives means the objectives set out in section 7; (Version anglaise seulement)


    charge includes to receive in payment; (Version anglaise seulement)


    Commission means the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission; (Conseil)


    control means control in any manner that results in control in fact, whether directly through the ownership of securities or indirectly through a trust, agreement or arrangement, the ownership of any body corporate or otherwise; (contrôle)


    decision includes a determination made by the Commission in any form; (décision)

    exempt transmission apparatus

    exempt transmission apparatus means any apparatus whose functions are limited to one or more of the following:

    • (a) the switching of telecommunications,

    • (b) the input, capture, storage, organization, modification, retrieval, output or other processing of intelligence, or

    • (c) control of the speed, code, protocol, content, format, routing or similar aspects of the transmission of intelligence; (appareil de transmission exclu)


    intelligence means signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence of any nature; (information)

    international submarine cable

    international submarine cable means a submarine telecommunications line that extends between Canada and any place outside Canada, or between places outside Canada through Canada, other than a line situated entirely under fresh water; (câble sous-marin international)

    international submarine cable licence

    international submarine cable licence means a licence issued under section 19; (licence de câble sous-marin international)


    Minister means the Minister of Industry; (ministre)


    person includes any individual, partnership, body corporate, unincorporated organization, government, government agency and any other person or entity that acts in the name of or for the benefit of another, including a trustee, executor, administrator, liquidator of the succession, guardian, curator or tutor; (personne)


    prescribed means prescribed by regulation; (Version anglaise seulement)

    public authority

    public authority includes Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province; (administration publique)


    rate means an amount of money or other consideration and includes zero consideration; (tarif)

    special Act

    special Act means an Act of Parliament respecting the operations of a particular Canadian carrier; (loi spéciale)


    telecommunications means the emission, transmission or reception of intelligence by any wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system, or by any similar technical system; (télécommunication)

    telecommunications common carrier

    telecommunications common carrier means a person who owns or operates a transmission facility used by that person or another person to provide telecommunications services to the public for compensation; (entreprise de télécommunication)

    telecommunications facility

    telecommunications facility means any facility, apparatus or other thing that is used or is capable of being used for telecommunications or for any operation directly connected with telecommunications, and includes a transmission facility; (installation de télécommunication)

    telecommunications service

    telecommunications service means a service provided by means of telecommunications facilities and includes the provision in whole or in part of telecommunications facilities and any related equipment, whether by sale, lease or otherwise; (service de télécommunication)

    telecommunications service provider

    telecommunications service provider means a person who provides basic telecommunications services, including by exempt transmission apparatus; (fournisseur de services de télécommunication)

    transmission facility

    transmission facility means any wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system, or any similar technical system, for the transmission of intelligence between network termination points, but does not include any exempt transmission apparatus. (installation de transmission)

  • Marginal note:Definition of network termination point

    (2) The Commission may define the expression network termination point for purposes of the definition transmission facility in subsection (1).

  • 1993, c. 38, s. 2
  • 1995, c. 1, s. 62
  • 1998, c. 8, s. 1
  • 2004, c. 25, s. 174

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Act binding on Her Majesty

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.


Marginal note:Broadcasting excluded

 This Act does not apply in respect of broadcasting by a broadcasting undertaking.

Marginal note:Digital news intermediaries excluded

  •  (1) This Act does not apply in respect of the making available of news content on or by a digital news intermediary in respect of which the Online News Act applies.

  • Marginal note:Definitions

    (2) In this section, digital news intermediary and news content have the same meanings as in subsection 2(1) of the Online News Act.

  • Marginal note:Interpretation

    (3) For the purposes of this section, news content is made available if

    • (a) the news content, or any portion of it, is reproduced; or

    • (b) access to the news content, or any portion of it, is facilitated by any means, including an index, aggregation or ranking of news content.

Marginal note:Application

 A trustee, trustee in bankruptcy, receiver, sequestrator, manager, administrator of the property of another or any other person who, under the authority of any court, or any legal instrument or act, operates any transmission facility of a Canadian carrier is subject to this Act.

  • 1993, c. 38, s. 5
  • 2004, c. 25, s. 175

Marginal note:Special Acts

 The provisions of this Act prevail over the provisions of any special Act to the extent that they are inconsistent.

Canadian Telecommunications Policy

Marginal note:Objectives

 It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada’s identity and sovereignty and that the Canadian telecommunications policy has as its objectives

  • (a) to facilitate the orderly development throughout Canada of a telecommunications system that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions;

  • (b) to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada;

  • (c) to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness, at the national and international levels, of Canadian telecommunications;

  • (d) to promote the ownership and control of Canadian carriers by Canadians;

  • (e) to promote the use of Canadian transmission facilities for telecommunications within Canada and between Canada and points outside Canada;

  • (f) to foster increased reliance on market forces for the provision of telecommunications services and to ensure that regulation, where required, is efficient and effective;

  • (g) to stimulate research and development in Canada in the field of telecommunications and to encourage innovation in the provision of telecommunications services;

  • (h) to respond to the economic and social requirements of users of telecommunications services; and

  • (i) to contribute to the protection of the privacy of persons.

Powers of Governor in Council, Commission and Minister

Marginal note:Directions

 The Governor in Council may, by order, issue to the Commission directions of general application on broad policy matters with respect to the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives.

Marginal note:Exemptions

  •  (1) The Commission may, by order, exempt any class of Canadian carriers from the application of this Act, subject to any conditions contained in the order, where the Commission, after holding a public hearing in relation to the exemption, is satisfied that the exemption is consistent with the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives.

  • Marginal note:Inquiry and determination

    (2) The Commission may, on application by any interested person or on its own motion, inquire into and determine whether any condition of an exemption order has been complied with.

  • Marginal note:Interested persons

    (3) The decision of the Commission that a person is or is not an interested person is binding and conclusive.

  • 1993, c. 38, s. 9
  • 1999, c. 31, s. 196(F)

Marginal note:Publication of proposed order

  •  (1) The Minister shall have an order proposed to be made under section 8 published in the Canada Gazette and laid before each House of Parliament, and a reasonable opportunity shall be given to interested persons to make representations to the Minister with respect to the proposed order.

  • Marginal note:Consultation

    (2) The Minister shall consult the Commission with respect to an order proposed to be made under section 8 before it is published or laid under this section and shall consult the Commission again with respect to the order in its definitive form before it is made.

  • Marginal note:Transmittal and tabling of exemption orders

    (3) The Commission shall send to the Minister an order proposed to be made under section 9 and the Minister shall have the order laid before each House of Parliament.

  • Marginal note:Reference to committees

    (4) A proposed order laid before a House of Parliament stands referred to such committee as is designated by order of that House to receive such orders.

  • Marginal note:Modification after publication

    (5) A proposed order that is modified after publication need not be published again under subsection (1).

  • Marginal note:Making of order

    (6) After the fortieth sitting day of Parliament following the first day on which a proposed order has been laid before both Houses, the Governor in Council or the Commission, as the case may be, may make the order either as proposed or with any modifications the Governor in Council or the Commission considers advisable.

  • Marginal note:Tabling of orders

    (7) After an order is made under section 8, the Minister shall have it laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the order is made.

  • Marginal note:Transmittal and tabling of exemption orders

    (8) After an order is made under section 9, the Commission shall immediately send it to the Minister who shall have it laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the order is sent.

  • Marginal note:Meaning of sitting day

    (9) For the purposes of this section, a sitting day is a day on which either House of Parliament is sitting.

Marginal note:Effect of order

  •  (1) An order made under section 8 is binding on the Commission beginning on the day on which the order comes into force.

  • Marginal note:Pending matters

    (2) Subject to subsection (3), an order made under section 8 shall, if it so provides, apply in respect of matters pending before the Commission on the day on which the order comes into force.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (3) An order made under section 8 does not apply in respect of a matter pending before the Commission on the day on which the order comes into force if

    • (a) final submissions have been filed in respect of that matter; and

    • (b) less than one year has expired since the period for filing final submissions ended.

Marginal note:Variation, rescission or referral

  •  (1) Within one year after a decision by the Commission, the Governor in Council may, on petition in writing presented to the Governor in Council within ninety days after the decision, or on the Governor in Council’s own motion, by order, vary or rescind the decision or refer it back to the Commission for reconsideration of all or a portion of it.

  • Marginal note:Copy of petition to Commission

    (2) A person who presents a petition to the Governor in Council shall, at the same time, send a copy of the petition to the Commission.

  • Marginal note:Copies to other parties

    (3) On receipt of a petition, the Commission shall send a copy of it to each person who made any oral representation to the Commission in relation to the decision that is the subject of the petition.

  • Marginal note:Notice of petition

    (4) On receipt of a petition, the Minister shall publish in the Canada Gazette a notice of its receipt indicating where the petition and any petition or submission made in response to it may be inspected and copies of them obtained.

  • Marginal note:Order for reference back

    (5) An order made under subsection (1) that refers a decision back to the Commission for reconsideration and hearing

    • (a) shall set out the details of any matter that the Governor in Council considers to be material to the reconsideration; and

    • (b) may specify a date before which the Commission shall complete its reconsideration.

  • Marginal note:Reconsideration

    (6) The Commission shall, before any date specified under paragraph (5)(b), reconsider a decision referred back to it under subsection (1) and may confirm, vary or rescind the decision.

  • Marginal note:Variation or rescission by Governor in Council

    (7) Where the Commission confirms or varies a decision under subsection (6) or does not complete its reconsideration of the decision before any date specified under paragraph (5)(b), the Governor in Council may, by order, vary or rescind the decision within ninety days after the confirmation or variation of the decision or the specified date, as the case may be.

  • Marginal note:Reasons

    (8) In an order made under subsection (1) or (7), the Governor in Council shall set out the reasons for making the order.


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