A group of second- and third-year law students are participating in ongoing public policy consultations with both the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Competition Bureau.
The students formed the “Coalition of Concerned Future Lawyers” under the supervision of Professor Marina Pavlovic. During the winter semester, they drafted submissions focused on modernizing Canada’s telecommunications network post-outage reporting requirements and updating the Competition Act. They undertook various legal research avenues, including reviewing Parliamentary sessions and comparing international approaches, in order to ground evidence-based recommendations.
For the students, this was an opportunity to engage with real-world policy and legal issues while diving deeper into issues they studied in class, including competition law and regulatory policy in telecommunications and creative industries. It was also a chance to hone their advocacy, legal writing, and research skills, while working collaboratively with their classmates.
Many of the students had previously taken communications law with Pavlovic, where they had the opportunity to present Bill C-11 policy interventions to a panel of CRTC adjudicators during a simulated hearing. Pavlovic observed significant interest in policy and advocacy among her students and decided to offer another opportunity to engage in policy development.
The Government of Canada’s on the Competition Act closed on March 31, and the students’ submissions will be published and reviewed through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). The students’ intervention on telecommunications post-outage reporting is through the CRTC. Their submission has been cited by other interveners including TekSavvy and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
The Coalition also filed a written reply to the CRTC after becoming aware of a parallel regulatory proceeding on the topic of mandatory outage reporting addressed only to Canadian telecommunications carriers. In their reply, the students raised concerns about the transparency and accessibility of parallel proceedings during a public consultation process.
A student in the class, Jaena Kim (JD Candidate 2024) said: “I could not imagine a better way to mark the halfway point of law school than partaking in a real life CRTC proceeding alongside an incredible team of law students that Prof. Pavlovic brought together. As I witness the advent of the Canadian telecommunications and broadcasting sectors through the digital age, it is experiential learning opportunities like this that remind me that we as law students have a voice to shape our futures.”