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Telecommunications Act (S.C. 1993, c. 38)

Act current to 2021-06-28 and last amended on 2019-07-11. Previous Versions

Telecommunications Act

S.C. 1993, c. 38

Assented to 1993-06-23

An Act respecting telecommunications

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Telecommunications Act.

PART IGeneral


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,

    broadcasting undertaking

    broadcasting undertaking has the same meaning as in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act; (entreprise de radiodiffusion)

    Canadian carrier

    Canadian carrier means a telecommunications common carrier that is subject to the legislative authority of Parliament; (entreprise canadienne)

    Canadian telecommunications policy objectives

    Canadian telecommunications policy objectives means the objectives set out in section 7; (Version anglaise seulement)


    charge includes to receive in payment; (Version anglaise seulement)


    Commission means the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission; (Conseil)


    control means control in any manner that results in control in fact, whether directly through the ownership of securities or indirectly through a trust, agreement or arrangement, the ownership of any body corporate or otherwise; (contrôle)


    decision includes a determination made by the Commission in any form; (décision)

    exempt transmission apparatus

    exempt transmission apparatus means any apparatus whose functions are limited to one or more of the following:

    • (a) the switching of telecommunications,

    • (b) the input, capture, storage, organization, modification, retrieval, output or other processing of intelligence, or

    • (c) control of the speed, code, protocol, content, format, routing or similar aspects of the transmission of intelligence; (appareil de transmission exclu)


    intelligence means signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence of any nature; (information)

    international submarine cable

    international submarine cable means a submarine telecommunications line that extends between Canada and any place outside Canada, or between places outside Canada through Canada, other than a line situated entirely under fresh water; (câble sous-marin international)

    international submarine cable licence

    international submarine cable licence means a licence issued under section 19; (licence de câble sous-marin international)


    Minister means the Minister of Industry; (ministre)


    person includes any individual, partnership, body corporate, unincorporated organization, government, government agency and any other person or entity that acts in the name of or for the benefit of another, including a trustee, executor, administrator, liquidator of the succession, guardian, curator or tutor; (personne)


    prescribed means prescribed by regulation; (Version anglaise seulement)

    public authority

    public authority includes Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province; (administration publique)


    rate means an amount of money or other consideration and includes zero consideration; (tarif)

    special Act

    special Act means an Act of Parliament respecting the operations of a particular Canadian carrier; (loi spéciale)


    telecommunications means the emission, transmission or reception of intelligence by any wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system, or by any similar technical system; (télécommunication)

    telecommunications common carrier

    telecommunications common carrier means a person who owns or operates a transmission facility used by that person or another person to provide telecommunications services to the public for compensation; (entreprise de télécommunication)

    telecommunications facility

    telecommunications facility means any facility, apparatus or other thing that is used or is capable of being used for telecommunications or for any operation directly connected with telecommunications, and includes a transmission facility; (installation de télécommunication)

    telecommunications service

    telecommunications service means a service provided by means of telecommunications facilities and includes the provision in whole or in part of telecommunications facilities and any related equipment, whether by sale, lease or otherwise; (service de télécommunication)

    telecommunications service provider

    telecommunications service provider means a person who provides basic telecommunications services, including by exempt transmission apparatus; (fournisseur de services de télécommunication)

    transmission facility

    transmission facility means any wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system, or any similar technical system, for the transmission of intelligence between network termination points, but does not include any exempt transmission apparatus. (installation de transmission)

  • Marginal note:Definition of network termination point

    (2) The Commission may define the expression network termination point for purposes of the definition transmission facility in subsection (1).

  • 1993, c. 38, s. 2
  • 1995, c. 1, s. 62
  • 1998, c. 8, s. 1
  • 2004, c. 25, s. 174

Her Majesty

Marginal note:Act binding on Her Majesty

 This Act is binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province.


Marginal note:Broadcasting excluded

 This Act does not apply in respect of broadcasting by a broadcasting undertaking.

Marginal note:Application

 A trustee, trustee in bankruptcy, receiver, sequestrator, manager, administrator of the property of another or any other person who, under the authority of any court, or any legal instrument or act, operates any transmission facility of a Canadian carrier is subject to this Act.

  • 1993, c. 38, s. 5
  • 2004, c. 25, s. 175

Marginal note:Special Acts

 The provisions of this Act prevail over the provisions of any special Act to the extent that they are inconsistent.

Canadian Telecommunications Policy

Marginal note:Objectives

 It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada’s identity and sovereignty and that the Canadian telecommunications policy has as its objectives

  • (a) to facilitate the orderly development throughout Canada of a telecommunications system that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions;

  • (b) to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada;

  • (c) to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness, at the national and international levels, of Canadian telecommunications;

  • (d) to promote the ownership and control of Canadian carriers by Canadians;

  • (e) to promote the use of Canadian transmission facilities for telecommunications within Canada and between Canada and points outside Canada;

  • (f) to foster increased reliance on market forces for the provision of telecommunications services and to ensure that regulation, where required, is efficient and effective;

  • (g) to stimulate research and development in Canada in the field of telecommunications and to encourage innovation in the provision of telecommunications services;

  • (h) to respond to the economic and social requirements of users of telecommunications services; and

  • (i) to contribute to the protection of the privacy of persons.

Powers of Governor in Council, Commission and Minister

Marginal note:Directions

 The Governor in Council may, by order, issue to the Commission directions of general application on broad policy matters with respect to the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives.

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