M. Imtiaz Karamat is an IP Osgoode Alumnus and Associate Lawyer at Deeth Williams Wall LLP. This article was originally posted on E-TIPS™ For Deeth Williams Wall LLP on September 21, 2022.
On September 7, 2022, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (the Minister), issued a statement on Canada’s Telecommunications Reliability Agenda following the nation-wide Rogers network outage that took place on July 8, 2022. As part of the statement, the Minister provided details on a formal agreement between Canada’s major telecommunications service providers to lend support in the event of another major network outage.
The Rogers network outage had a massive impact across Canada, affecting the wireline and wireless services of millions of Canadians, emergency service providers and small businesses for over 15 hours. This event prompted the Minister to act, giving Rogers and other major telecommunications companies 60 days to enter into an agreement that would guarantee emergency roaming, mutual assistance, and a communications protocol for advising the public and government in the event of future major outages and other emergencies.
In response, the companies agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding on Telecommunications Reliability that is effective as of September 9, 2022 (the Agreement). Under the Agreement, the companies commit to assisting in the event of a major network outage that affects one of the other signatories. This includes providing support for Canadians to remain connected to their contacts, access 911 services, and conduct business transactions. The companies have also committed to providing timely communications during outages to keep the public and government authorities informed about response and restoration efforts.
The Minister announced that the Agreement marks the first of several steps in Canada’s Telecommunications Reliability Agenda, which will include:
- the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) investigating the Rogers outage and any new measures the company has implemented following the event;
- the Canadian Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (CSTAC) creating further measures within the next six months to bolster the reliability of Canada’s telecommunications networks; and
- a review of all regulatory measures to be implemented that is aimed at strengthening the reliability and safety of Canada’s networks.