The federal government has named former telecom executive and lobbyist Ian Scott to be the next head of the CRTC, the regulatory body in charge of setting and enforcing the rules in Canada's broadcast and telecommunications industries.
Scott will be the next chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission starting September 5th, for a five-year term. He will head up the regulator after a 25-year year career in telecom including stints at the Competition Bureau and lesser roles at the CRTC, but predominantly as an executive with various telecom companies.
Most recently, Scott was executive director of government and regulatory affairs at satellite firm Telesat.
He's also worked for Call-Net Enterprises — the corporate parent of Sprint Canada, which was bought out by Rogers in 2005 — and with the Canadian Cable Television Association.
He was also a vice-president and later lobbyist for Telus, where he held the title of vice-president of federal government relations.
In announcing Scott's hiring, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly noted his "deep understanding of what Canadians expect in their telecommunications and broadcasting systems."
But consumer advocacy group OpenMedia expressed concern that Scott, despite his experience, may be more likely to favour the telecommunications industry than consumers.
"This is a concerning choice by the government," the group's communications manager, Meghan Sali, said. "Canadians were hoping for somebody with a strong consumer rights background, and will undoubtedly be disheartened to see the Trudeau government place someone from industry into the top decision-making position while millions are relying on the CRTC to help render more affordable Internet services."
Scott replaces Jean-Pierre Blais, who did not reapply for the job when his term came to an end earlier this year. The CRTC has been led by interim chair Judith LaRocque since Blais stepped down last month, and she will continue to hold the top job until Scott takes over.
Joly also announced Caroline Simard as vice-chairwoman (Broadcasting) and Christianne Laizner as interim vice-chairwoman (Telecommunications).
Simard is currently legal counsel within the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. She will be begin her five-year term starting Sept. 11.
Laizner, whose up to one-year term was effective Monday, is senior general counsel and executive director of the CRTC legal sector.