Giving foreign telecoms greater access to Canadian market poses public safety risk, ‘secret’ document claims


Security officials believe a government plan to allow foreign firms greater access to the Canadian telecom market could pose a “significant risk” to public safety, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg. Industry Minister Christian Paradis wants foreigners to be able to own up 100 per cent of smaller telecommunications companies, a move that could increase competition in a market currently dominated by Rogers, BCE and Telus. Security officials, however, worry that move could compromise Canada’s “intelligence priorities.”

From the story:

“The security and intelligence community is of the view that lessening or removing restrictions from the Telecommunications Act, without implementing mitigation measures, would pose a considerable risk to public safety and national security,” Daniel Lavoie, a senior official with Public Safety, said in a letter to Industry Canada.

The letter, which was marked “secret” and dated Feb. 25, 2011, was obtained by Bloomberg News under Canada’s freedom-of- information law.


Canada is the latest country to express concerns about the involvement of foreign companies in the telecom sector. The U.S. in October barred China’s  Huawei Technologies Co. from bidding for work on a national emergency network. Australia last month banned Huawei, China’s biggest maker of telecom equipment, from contracts to build a national broadband network being developed by the government.

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