Canada’s Big Telecoms Have Lobbied Ottawa Twice Per Day Over the Past 12 Months

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According to public data compiled by TekSavvy, Canada’s big telecom companies have lobbied federal government officials at the rate of twice per day, over the past 12 months.

Former journalist Peter Nowak, now TekSavvy’s Vice-President of Insight & Engagement, shared more insight in a company blog post on Thursday.

“Why are Bell and the other big telecom companies seemingly running amok right now? One major contributing factor is the access they have to the halls of power in Ottawa,” writes Nowak.

“At the same time as they are exerting oligopoly power over consumer prices, unnecessarily collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies and laying off people by the hundreds, they are also running the table when it comes to lobbying elected officials and government bureaucrats,” explains the TekSavvy executive.

Below is a breakdown of communications over the past 12 months (as of this week), showing how many times telecoms have reached out to federal government officials:

12-Month Total: 577 Communications

Shaw/Corus: 152

Rogers: 124

Telus: 81

Quebecor/Videotron: 68

BCE/Northwestel: 66

Cogeco: 59

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association: 27

“Together, the big companies and their wireless lobby group met with policy makers an average of twice every business day over the reported months,” says Nowak.

According to TekSavvy, “collectively, the companies met with CRTC chairman Ian Scott 11 times and Navdeep Bains, who was minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development until he stepped down in January, 13 times.”

But what about TekSavvy, its smaller ISP lobby group the Canadian Network Operators Consortium, along with non-profit consumer advocacy group Open Media?

Over the same timeframe, these groups “had significantly less collective face time. Sixteen times less, in fact. They had zero meetings with Scott and just one with Bains,” writes Nowak:

12-Month Total: 35 Communications

TekSavvy: 20

Open Media: 10

Canadian Network Operators Consortium: 5

It was recently revealed Rogers, Telus and Bell have collected $240 million from the federal wage subsidy program. Big telcos have also increased dividend payouts to shareholders in the process. So far, it appears no one from the media has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the situation yet.

Bell also recently has come under public scrutiny for axing over 200 media jobs in the Toronto area and also shutting down three TSN radio stations suddenly, without giving employees any notice at all.