Ottawa to name industry veteran Ian Scott CRTC chairman

Originally posted by the Globe and Mail

Author: Christine Dobby

The federal government will name industry veteran Ian Scott chairman of the country’s telecom and broadcast regulator.

After filling the role on an interim basis in June, the federal Department of Heritage has found its permanent candidate and will appoint Mr. Scott chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday, The Globe and Mail has confirmed.

Most recently director of regulatory affairs at satellite communications provider Telesat Holdings Inc., Mr. Scott has decades of industry experience, including stints at both the CRTC and the Competition Bureau.

But in contrast to his predecessor, Jean-Pierre Blais – the career public servant who left the commission when his five-year term as chairman ended last month – Mr. Scott also has significant experience in the private sector, including as vice-president of government relations for Telus Corp., one of Canada’s three national wireless providers.

The government also plans to appoint public servant Caroline Simard to the role of vice-chair of broadcasting and will name CRTC lawyer Christine Laizner to a temporary role as vice-chair of telecom.

The new appointees will fill a void of top leaders at the commission, although Mr. Scott will not take over as chair until September. Long-time civil servant Judith LaRocque has been filling in as chair since shortly after Mr. Blais departed.

The previous vice-chair of telecom, Peter Menzies, also left the CRTC last week and the regulator has been without a permanent vice-chair of broadcast since November, 2015.

The government will make the appointments public in an announcement Tuesday. The Financial Post first reported on the appointments early Monday evening.

The Liberal government introduced a new process for government appointments meant to be “open, transparent and merit-based.” However, the process has led to delays in filling roles at a number of government agencies and commissions including the CRTC.