CRTC Chair Held Secret Meetings, Reveal Documents

According to documents that were recently obtained by Chatham, Ontario, based independent telecommunications operator Teksavvy, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chairman regularly holds “undocumented, off-site business meetings.”

Scott had at least five business lunches or meetings with unknown participants in Ottawa between 2019 and 2021, with several occurring at the swanky Rideau Club, his calendar entries show. The records, which are associated with Scott’s business uses of his vehicle, do not disclose who those meetings were with or what was discussed.

While Scott’s meetings are a matter of public record, TekSavvy had to make a request under the Access to Information Act to obtain this information. TekSavvy shared images of Scott’s calendar entries, which offer little to no context for these meetings beyond scheduled times and places.

The telecom operator asked the CRTC for further details or documentation pertaining to these meetings but didn’t get any.

Teksavvy noted that the CRTC’s own rules advise against such meetings, but it looks like Scott is choosing to play fast and loose with these regulations.

“The lack of transparency regarding these meetings is disturbing, given the CRTC’s power over what Canadians see and hear daily and what it costs them to do so – especially since several recent decisions have driven up prices for telecom services and diminished competition in the marketplace,” Teksavvy said.

Scott’s vehicle-use records also showed that the CRTC chair took meetings with Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau and ex-CBC executive vice-president and Telus advisor Richard Stursberg, but those meetings weren’t documented anywhere else. They weren’t logged in the federal lobbyist registry, either.

Scott previously landed himself in hot water due to another off-the-books meeting at an Ottawa pub with Bell CEO (then-COO) Mirko Bibic back in 2019. Teksavvy was quick to go after Scott for the pub meeting after the CRTC reverse a decision to lower wholesale internet rates last year.

The ISP holds Scott for Canada’s constantly rising consumer internet prices. Earlier this year, Teksavvy urged the federal Integrity Commissioner to investigate the CRTC chief for wrongdoing.

Scott’s four-year term as CRTC chair was supposed to end last month. However, Ottawa has decided to keep Scott on as chair until at least January 4, 2023, as the government continues its search for a suitable replacement.