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Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications
The Senate of Canada
Canada, K1A 0A4
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About the Committee
INTRODUCTION TO THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON
TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has the mandate to examine legislation and study issues related to transport and communications by land, air, water, and space, whether by radio, telephone, telegraph, wire, cable, microwave, wireless, television, satellite, broadcasting, postal communications or any other form, method or means of communications. It also deals with matters relating to tourist traffic, common carriers, shipping and navigable waters.
The committee deals with significant legislation and studies issues important to Canadians. Over the last few years, it has considered bills touching on everything from telecommunications to the transportation of dangerous goods and concluded studies on emerging issues of great significance for Canada’s economy.
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications has its roots in one of the oldest committees of the Senate. The committee was first created in 1867 under the name of the Banking, Commerce and Railways Committee. By 1879, it had become evident that some of the committees were too large. New committees were formed including the Committee on Railways, Telegraphs and Harbours. It became one of the busiest committees examining 149 government bills from 1925 to 1963.
In 1945, the establishment of a Committee on Transport and Communications was recommended because it was thought that this committee should handle all matters pertaining to radio, airways and other related subjects. Amendments to the Rules of the Senate in 1969 & 1983 further defined what matters are generally referred to the committee.
Over the last several years, the committee has conducted several studies dealing with transportation policy. It tabled comprehensive reports into the intercity bus industry (2002), containerized freight traffic in Canada’s ports (2008) airports (2012 and 2013) and the transport of crude oil (2016). Its most recent transportation study focused on the regulatory and technical issues related to the deployment of connected and automated vehicles. The final report, entitled Driving Change: Technology and the future of the automated vehicle, recommended, among several other things, that Transport Canada develop vehicle safety guidelines when developing, testing and deploying these vehicles on Canadian roads.
Within its communications mandate, the committee examined the Canadian media industry (2006), issues relating to the Canadian Television Fund (2007) the wireless communications sector (2010) and undertook a comprehensive review of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2015). Its most recent communications study focused on the tax deductibility of foreign internet advertising in Canada (2018).
SELECTED LEGISLATIVE WORK
The Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications is often asked to review wide range of pieces of legislation. Recent examples include such topics as railway safety, personal electronic information protection, mail delivery and air passenger rights. It has also been asked to report on matters contained in budget implementation bills. In the 42nd Parliament, legislation relating to the Air Canada Public Participation Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Canada Transportation Act were all referred to the committee for examination. The committee also conducted public hearings in Western provinces on Bill C-48, An Act respecting the regulation of vessels that transport crude oil or persistent oil to or from ports or marine installations located along British Columbia's north coast.
For information on the current work of the committee, you may wish to review the orders of reference the committee has received from the Senate, or review the committee proceedings. Detailed information on the current work of the committee can be found here.