Issues surrounding telecommunications policy and regulation, once thought to be low on the new federal government’s priority list, are climbing the agenda ladder.  Report on Wireless has learned that the governing Conservative Party of Canada has started consultations with the provinces with the eventual goal of introducing new legislation to change the Telecommunications Act.  The government has also decided to re-introduce Bill C-74 – legislation that, if passed, would alter the country’s lawful intercept regime. (For more on Bill C-74, check out an upcoming issue of RoW affiliate publication, Network Letter.) This March, the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel urged the federal government to "issue policy statements" regarding the implementation of a new regulatory framework. The government would also issue a policy direction to the CRTC "to interpret the policy objectives of the Act in a manner that is broadly consistent with major reforms" as recommended by the panel. As a result, the federal government is now moving forward with changing the 13-year old piece of legislation. The federal government has an obligation to consult with the provinces and the CRTC regarding any proposed modifications to the Act. After this, the government would have to gazette a proposed bill and then introduce it in the House of Commons where it would reside for 40 sitting days.  Due to these legislative requirements, it will be October 2006 before proposed legislation relating to changing the Telecom Act is possibly introduced into the House. At this point, it is unclear what changes the government has in mind, but it has been suggested that Industry Canada Minister Maxime Bernier will follow to a large degree what was set out in the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel’s report. In the interim, however, the government is looking to tweak the telecommunications regulatory environment through a series of small changes. It is widely believed that Bernier will issue the government’s formal response to the TPR’s report at the Canadian Telecom Summit, taking place June 12 to 14 in Toronto, by announcing what some of those changes will be.  He has already reached out to industry players with the objective of measuring key priorities from their perspective and is now in the process of combing through those recommendations.  Isabelle Fontaine, director of communications for the minister’s office says no decision has been made with respect to specific changes to the Telecom Act. "The minister will make a recommendation to the Governor in Council that takes into account comments ," she tells Report on Wireless, adding the process was to solicit input from the provinces on a recommendation put forward by the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel.