CRTC won’t consider Bell request to suspend Super Bowl simultaneous substitution rulings

Bell used the USMCA to justify suspending the CRTC’s pair of 2016 decisions

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has said it won’t consider Montreal-based telecom service provider Bell’s request to temporarily suspend the Commission’s pair of 2016 Super Bowl simultaneous substitution rulings.

As per the CRTC’s pair of 2016 decisions, Canadians were given the ability to watch the Super Bowl on Canadian television stations with U.S. commercials or Canadian stations with Canadian commercials.

Bell recently submitted an application to the CRTC to suspend the 2016 rulings until after the February 3rd, 2019 Super Bowl LIII broadcast.

According to a November 8th, 2018 CRTC letter addressed Bell vice president of regulatory affairs, content and distribution Kevin Goldstein, the telecom giant tried to use the as-of-yet-unratified United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to justify suspending the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution rulings.

In response, the CRTC’s secretary general Claude Doucet wrote that the “USMCA has not yet been formally ratified by the Government of Canada or implemented as law.”

Doucet also noted that Bell is currently in the process of preparing to appeal the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution rulings before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC).

“The Commission is of the view that entertaining an application in respect of the very matter which is before the Court, prior to it having been heard or decided by the Court, would be inappropriate and would be disrespectful of the process by which Commission decisions may be reviewed and appealed,” wrote Doucet, in the same November 8th letter.

“While [Bell] submitted that it would be in the public interest to have the revenues from the Canadian advertising during the Super Bowl included in the calculation of its Canadian programming expenditure contributions, it is the Commission’s view that this concern is outweighed by the importance of the Commission’s deference to and support of the Canadian judicial framework.”

The SCC is set to hear Bell’s appeal on December 4th, 2018.

Source: CRTC