Canadian Gambling Laws: Online Gambling Canada Legalization
Online gambling is among the fastest-growing industries in Canada. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians aged 15 years and older participate in gaming (18.9 million). The survey also revealed up to 75% of citizens gamble in some way, whether it is an online casino, charitable gambling, or any other alternative.
Every day the growth of the market is growing along with its popularity. A wide range of the newest best online casinos Canada with free spins, welcome bonuses, VIP bonuses, and rewards programs with top-rated slot games examples are available in Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and all regions.
Canada comes 8th among countries that spend the most money on internet gambling. More than $4 billion is spent on offshore gaming websites. There are no gambling laws in Canada that prohibit playing on international sites. Most offshore gambling companies target this country for its growing market. It is illegal to gamble in Canada unless regulated by a province. Commercial betting and gaming can only be allowed if provincial authorities manage it. Let’s take a closer look at the features of Canadian gambling laws, principles, rules, and regulatory bodies.
History of Gambling Canada
Despite the complicated Canadian gambling laws, they are still considered to be an improvement of the previous ones that existed in the late 19th century and the start of the 20th century. Its new legislation was instituted in 1892 by the Canadian Criminal Code, making most games illegal.
Changes started in 1969 when provincial and federal governments were allowed to run lotteries under particular exemptions despite the conflict between them. In 1985, a decision was made for provinces to control lotteries and other gaming activities on video devices, computers, and slot machines. Internet growth made online gambling an option, although online gambling Canada legislation prevented from playing until 2009. The government also decided to allow every province to set its own rules.
Online Gambling in Canada: Short Review
Making money when playing games and having fun is fast gaining popularity. In 2021, the gambling market was approximately worth $ 61.5 billion. Several new online casinos are sprouting up in Canada. Apart from non-restrictive laws in this country, the innovation they bring in their gaming services is on another level. Some casinos have managed to integrate cryptocurrencies in withdrawals and deposits.
🍁1) Is Online Gambling Legal in Canada?
Each province controls laws governing online gambling Canada, although offline is legal nationwide. But, internet casinos in Canada will have to obtain a license from their local authority before starting their operations. Apart from Saskatchewan, all the other provinces have at least one online.
🍁2) Who regulates gambling in Canada?
The provincial government regulates all online gambling in Canada. B.C. Lottery Corporation is responsible for managing and conducting all commercial gaming. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch license charitable gambling in B.C the provincial Gaming Control Act governs gambling in B.C.
🍁3) What is the Legal Gambling Age in Canada?
Nineteen years is the average legal gambling age in Canada. But, their government determines laws across the different territories. For instance, the legal gambling age in Toronto, Brampton, and Mississauga, Ontario, is 19 years, while it is 18 years in Montreal. Your location makes the difference, says online gambling laws in Canada.
Most casinos in Canada will allow at least 19-year-olds to get in, except for Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta, where 18 is their admissible age. The gambling age laws also apply to the online gaming industry. Users have to prove their gambling age in Canada before they can start placing bets.
🍁4)When did Canada legalize online gambling?
Canada’s single-game sports betting federal ban was lifted on August 27th, 2021. Two months after the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act got royal assent. Learn more about the history and first gambling laws in Canada in this review by link.
Is Gambling Illegal in Canada?
Illegal gambling in Canada was the domain of organized crime. Since most gaming forms were outlawed in the country before 1970, the unsavory people had many chances to play their trade. Changes started in 1970 when previous illegal activities became accessible to average Canadians. Another great leap was in 1985 when territories and provinces had the right to oversee activities such as charitable gaming, slots, and lotteries.
Despite the modern crime figures relying on illegal gambling as the main revenue source, more tech-savvy generations decided to adopt it. The unscrupulous individuals rig sporting events, bilk customers, and avoid making payments of their fair share of taxes. This has led to a greater burden for local/city law enforcement. The Criminal Code of Canada handles a wide group of illegal gambling. Here are the most common offenses:
- Section 201: Comprises a large group of offenses, although it commonly involves keeping a betting house or common gaming.
- Section 202: Handles illegal bookmaking, betting, and pool selling.
- Section 206: Deal with offenses related to lotteries/games of chance
- Section 209: Deals with cheating at games of chance to defraud the house or customer.
The above offenses were adjusted in July 2010 and were serious ones. Serious offenses are indictable under the act or code of parliament. Although in Canada, they have a maximum prison term of up to 5 years for serious offenses, all others related to gambling fall short of the mark, and the majority have an imprisonment term of 2 years. Offenses of betting houses knowingly have no more than six months in jail or a $ 5000 fine. Canada has lenient online gambling laws when compared to neighboring countries.
Canada Online Gambling Market Size
With online gaming being the leading industry in Canada, this country has a minimum of 19.3 million active virtual gamblers. This explains why Canada is ranked the 8th most popular country for countries using the most money on internet gambling. Especially popular among players are: real money online casinos Canada, online slot machines, poker, etc.
Canadian Criminal Code
Canada Criminal Code states that it is illegal to offer gambling services unless it is conducted or managed by a province. All the local authorities and regulations are important for any company interested in launching in Canada.
Canadian Gambling Regulations and Gambling Laws
Despite having lots of resemblances, the provincial regulations and regulators in Canada differ from one another. Below is a list of these regulators for every province:
✅ Alberta: The Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission gives the green light to only religious and charitable organizations to register as gambling service providers. The entire province has PlayAlberta.ca, the only regulated online gaming website. The gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Act explains the main regulation that operating entities have to follow.
✅ British Columbia: The Gaming Policy and Enforcement Ministry of Finance Branch is tasked with allowing companies to operate under their supervision. The 2002 Gaming Control Act provides the British Columbia gambling regulation. Like Alberta, British Columbia also has one regulated online gaming website, PlayNow.
✅ Manitoba: Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, part of the provincial government, is responsible for all gambling regulations in Manitoba. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries The corporation oversees all the legal casinos and best online gambling Canada and monitors and licenses lotteries. This company operates two casinos in Winnipeg.
✅ New Brunswick: The Department of Public Safety Gaming Control Branch is tasked with registering all the ambling service providers. Authority allows companies to organize, develop, conduct, undertake and control lottery schemes instead of the provincial government. The 2008 Gaming Control Act is the primary regulation among Canadian online gambling laws.
✅ Newfoundland and Labrador: The Commercial and Consumer Affairs Branch NL service regulates Newfoundland and Labrador gambling activities. The province lacks land-based casinos and only allows non-profitable cards, lotteries, bingo games, and games of chance.
✅ Nova Scotia: The Gaming, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fuel Division Service of Nova Scotia is tasked with registering all gambling service providers. This institution is also responsible for regulating complaints and disputes in this industry. The 1994 to 1995 Gaming Control Act regulates the institution.
✅ Ontario: The main regulatory body in Ontario is the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. It is the least restricted province in Canada and has a wide variety of land-based casinos. The two main regulations in Ontario are the 1999 Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the 1992 Gaming Control Act. There has been improvement in the online gambling Canada service providers’ accessibility in the province since the introduction of the iGaming market.
✅ The Prince Edward Island: Prince Edward Island Lotteries Commission is responsible for regulating online and casino gambling service providers. The Lotteries Commission Act is the main regulation in this province. The commission can create, organize, conduct, undertake and control lottery schemes in place of the provincial government after Lieutenant Governor in Council approval.
✅ Quebec: Loto-Quebec organization is responsible for regulating online gambling laws in Canada. The Quebec Racing, Alcohol, and Gaming Commission controls the only authorized internet gaming platform, the Espacejeux website. Apart from being a poker website, Espacejeux also offers casino games, lotteries, and bingo and skill games.
✅ Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan’s main gambling regulatory body is the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. The province’s legislative framework comprises several regulations, with the 1997 Alcohol and Gaming Regulation being the most important one.
✅ Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories: Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest, three provinces in Canada, have underdeveloped gambling activities. There are zero registered gaming sites and one casino. There are no restrictions for citizens to use foreign websites.
Gambling, Casino Winnings, and Taxes
Canadians don’t need to pay taxes on their gambling winnings from sports betting, online casinos, lotteries, horse racing, and other chance games. But, you need to legally make a declaration if earning interest on winnings on a T5 form.
💥Is taxation different for online and offline gambling?
Online/offline gambling taxation is not different. Its gaming income tax rules are the same for all legal forms. Professional gamblers in Canada have to remit their taxes on both their offline/online winnings. But, Canadian recreational gamblers’ winnings are exempt from different taxation variants.
💣Do I have to pay tax on my casino winnings?
You are not required to declare gambling winnings whenever filing taxes unless you are a professional gambler, as defined in the Income Tax Act paragraph 40(2)(f). The government considers some factors before determining if someone is a professional gambler and needs to pay tax on gambling winnings Canada.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a regulatory agency with the mandate and authority to grant licenses. Its commission also oversees online poker rooms, casinos, and sports book websites. Casinos have to fulfill outlined requirements to be granted a license.
Kahnawake Gaming Commission works at ensuring Kahnawake Quebec’s Mohawk Territory complies with all gaming laws. Its guiding principles are guaranteed payments, fair gambling, and regional focus. The commission grants four license categories per the Interactive Gaming September 22nd, 2010 rules.
✖ Key Person License (KPL) – Key persons can be employed by CPA or IGL and carry out the following duties: Key operational or managerial functions. All the CPA licensed operators must designate one Key Person to carry out key managerial duties on behalf of or for the Authorized Client Provider.
✖ Interactive Gaming License (IGC) – The license holders can operate a co-location facility that offers internet services to Authorized Client Providers. Mohawk Internet Technologies (MIT) is the only company that has been issued the Interactive Gaming License since 1999.
✖ Client Provider Authorization (CPA) – The holders of Client Provider Authorization can carry out interactive gaming from a co-location facility with other regional premises. The CPA holder is referred to as the Authorized Client Provider.
✖ Inter-jurisdictional Authorization – Entities holding IGL from other jurisdictions but need to locate all or some of its equipment or personnel within the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory are issued with this license.
Benefits of the Canadian Gambling Industry
🍁REGULATION AND LICENSING
Licensing will ensure that an online casino achieves all the predetermined guidelines with minimum standards and requirements. Regulation ensures fair gameplay with betting or gambling games. It also helps set the Сanada gambling laws policies to help verify/identify players and ensure all the data are safe and protected.
🍁LARGE COLLECTION OF CASINOS
There are a large collection of the best real money casinos in Canada for layers from all regions. You can easily know the variants they offer by reading through their app or page description. This has made it very convenient and easy to access, leading to increased online casino games Canada popularity.
🍁BEST SOFTWARE PROVIDERS
The best software providers develop safe/secure best online gambling sites Canada. Their sites are neatly designed and protected from online hacking or illegal activities. This has helped build players’ trust as they have confidence in systems.
🍁REAL MONEY OPTION
The real money option makes online gambling great as one can win and cash out huge bonuses. The capability of winning real cash and losing hard-earned cash gives virtual casino games all the hype and pressure it deserves. They can win huge sums of money if they have luck and the right abilities in the best real money casinos Canada.
Popular Casino Games at Gambling Canada Market
- Poker is the most popular card game globally, with the Canadian market not exempted. Canadian poker is all about competition. Regardless of whether the poker takes the form you fancy, you can always be sure of getting it on several Canadian poker sites.
- Online slots are known for their quick-fix entertainment and huge payouts. This makes it exhilarating when it comes to gambling. Available in online and land-based casinos, all legal-age players in Canada can be assured of thrills when spinning reels.
✔ Roulette. Canada’s most popular Roulette variations are French, American, European, and Mini. If users are interested in playing roulette for real money or for free, they can always count on the top online casino in Canada.
✔ Progressive Jackpots. This is among the most played casino games worldwide. Its progressive jackpot will always increase in value every second and reach millions.
✔ Blackjack. This is a well-loved and classic casino that is available in different variations. In case users intend to play for real money or for free, they can always be sure to enjoy something.
✔ Online Casinos. Also referred to as internet or virtual casinos, online casinos are a virtual version of brick-and-mortar ones. They make it possible for gamblers to wager and play through the internet.
✔ Sports Betting. If you are okay with heading offshore, you can still participate in sports betting. Despite it being illegal for any Canadian company to manage sports betting, there is nothing that will prevent any Canadian from using international sites.
✔ Land-based Casinos. There is nothing that beats a trip to the casino. The glamor, glitz, and fever in any casino make the experience unforgettable for Canadian players. Players can be sure of enjoying tabletop classics to the hottest slots.
Slot Machines: Legal or Not in Canada?
Until recently, online gambling used to be illegal in Canada. The Canadian government recently modified its laws, allowing Canadians to play their favorite virtual games at home. There are two gambling laws in Canada. With provincial law, every territory or province controls online gaming regulation. This has made some local regulations to be more restrictive than federal laws. The First National Gaming Act became law in 1995. The First Nations Law allows indigenous communities and tribes to develop gaming establishments. It also gives them the authority to manage online gambling sites.
Best Online Casino Canada
Since Canada is among the biggest gambling markets worldwide, you can always be sure of finding several sites online. Here is a list of the best online casinos Canada with free spins, features, providers, available bonuses, and RTP.
- Spin Casino is one of the best payout online casino Canada with 480 real money games audited by eCOGRA for fairness. The software developers for these games are NetEnt, Microgaming, and Red Tiger, together with other developers. New players can claim up to 100% match up that can get to $1000 and free spins. But, to claim this welcome bonus, deposit C$10. Spin Casino has an RTP of 96.12%. There are up to 40 paylines and a possibility of winning up to 6300 x your bet in this real money online casino Canada.
➕ Jackpot City online casino Canada. You will access over 400 real money games, 300 being online slot games. Microgaming powers online slots. Real money online casino Canada has a welcome bonus worth C1$1600. But, users must deposit at least C$10 to their account to claim this bonus. Jackpot City online casino canada free spins have a great RTP of 96.44% and 117649 pay lines.
➕ LeoVegas. It is a very popular new online casinos Canada with over 900 games available. Users will get a bonus of C$20 when they invest C$10 to C$19 on their first deposit. It is possible to get up to C$300 as a bonus, with 25 free spins on its second deposit. But, its welcome offer is only valid for its first four deposits. Its software providers are NetEnt, Play’N Go, IGT, Microgaming, and CryptoLogic. Canadian casinos have an RTP of 96.00%.
➕ Ruby Fortune Casino. A new casino from the Palace Group comes with everything a player requires. This online one has over 500 games to choose from, ranging from table games to progressives. Your first three deposits offer an attractive welcome bonus of 100% in the Ruby Fortune online casino Canada.
- TonyBet Casino is operated through TonyBet OÜ. It offers up to 400 online games that comprise popular table games, live dealer games, and slot games. Its popular software providers include NetEnt, Playtech, Real Time Gaming, IGT, and Microgaming. Free online casino Canada has an RTP of 93.83%.
Facts for Pay Attention Before Choosing Best Canadian Online Casinos
The wide variety of top online casinos Canada has made it quite challenging for new players to identify a variant that suits them. There are things you can always pay close attention to before joining any internet casino. There are top features and bonuses available at best gambling sites Canada:
❎ Welcome Bonuses is a combination of free spins and a deposit bonus. But, it can also be one of them or the other. Its welcome bonus is always available to new players signing up for an online casino for the first time. Welcome bonuses must be wagered several times before they can be withdrawn.
❎ Regular promotions: Like the big retailers and supermarkets, online casinos also have promotional deals to help draw in new players or returning players. The promotions will always give players a boost towards their spins.
❎ Large jackpots: The large jackpot enables players to win huge sums of money. Many players look forward to winning the jackpot in their playing careers.
❎ High Roller Bonus: The bonus is issued exclusively to casino players that make large first deposit bonuses. It is normally issued as a match bonus or cash gift.
❎ Game Specific Bonus: New online casinos Canada offer a bonus type and can only be used on a particular game. It enables players to give a try to new games.
❎ Device Specific Bonus: This bonus type is given on a particular slot machine from a specific provider. A player has to spend this bonus within specified days.
❎ Free Spins Bonus: This is a favorite type of bonus for most players. Most casinos are known to issue them out frequently. Free spins come in batches of 20, 30, and 50 and, at times, over 100. You will have to spend them within specified days.
❎ No Deposit Bonus: They are the opposite of its deposit bonus. With a no-deposit bonus, users will not have to deposit as it is available for free. But, there are terms and conditions always attached to this bonus. Ensure that you always read the T&C.
❎ Monthly Bonus: It refers to a bonus that is distributed once every month. It aims at rewarding loyal and consistent casino players.
TOP Canada Online Gambling Stock 2022 with Highest Returns
The list below presents Canadian companies’ stocks belonging to the wider gambling industry or the stock market index, recorded percentage gains, and corresponding prices as indicated.
|Stock||Price Gain||Current Price||Market Capitalization||52-week Price Range|
Rivalry Corp. (RVLY)
|–19.25% 2022||CA$1.30||$79.39 million||$0.75 – $3.8|
|Evergreen Gaming Corporation (TNA)||137.93% 2022||CA$0.69||$85.43 million||$0.32 – $0.7|
|Playmaker Capital Inc. (PMKR)||-44.60% 2022||CA$0.38||$72.21 M||0.00-1.32%|
|Jackpot Digital Inc. (J.J.)||-65.38% 2022||CA$0.05||$5 million||$0.05 – $0.24|
|Real Luck Ltd||-57.78% 2022||CA$0.10||$6.55 million||$0.08 – $0.34|
Available Deposit Methods
Most legal casino websites in Canada are based outside the country, making it difficult for some players to carry out transactions. For instance, Visa, one of the most popular credit card options, is not available on all the websites in Canada. Several restrictions are imposed, such as having players set up an account using third-party money transfer websites.
● Citadel. It is among the legally permitted methods of payment used for making deposits in Canada’s online casinos. Citadel offers a specialized payment method service that is internet based and guarantees safe/secure transactions. It uses an electronic internet check which enables its customers to transfer money inexpensively, reliably, and safely.
● Visa. Most of the top banks in Canada issue Visa credit, debit, and prepaid cards to their customers.
- Visa products are accepted in at least 150 countries, meaning card owners can make internet purchases.
- MasterCard is well known for its high-security levels, reliability, and product diversity. Most MasterCard products are accepted worldwide, making it the most suitable method for purchasing offline/online. It offers a variety of credit, debit, and prepaid cards that can all be used in making internet casino deposits.
● Instadebit is a very popular online casino deposit method in Canada. With Instadebit, players can make deposits and withdrawals instantly. It is an easy-to-use and fast deposit method. Its payment system is secure, guaranteeing maximum satisfaction to players.
- Canadian gamblers can sign up with Instadebit if they bank with the following local banks: Scotiabank, BMO, RBC, T.D., and other credit unions.
● PaySafeCard. This is another deposit method that is very popular among Canadian players. PaySafeCard offers a reliable plastic prepaid card that can be used for offline/online purchases. Customers do not have to reveal their bank account details when using PaySafeCard. This system does not have to fill in a bank account number when making online casino deposits or payments.
- Interac has managed to uphold its reputation as a national debit payment processing system for close to a century. This has made most online casino players in Canada trust it as a payment method. Interac facilitates transactions between bank accounts and operates as a direct payment processor. You must have an account with any of the over 250 partnering credit unions and bank accounts.
Why it matters that Canadian banks have dodged the deposit exodus plaguing some U.S. banks
The immediate panic around bank runs in the United States may have eased, but the flood of deposits that have exited regional banks over the past year has prompted a tightening of lending standards and raised the odds that the U.S. economy will tip into recession.
For now, at least, that cycle is much less of a concern in Canada.
As of March, overall deposits at U.S. banks shrank 2.4 per cent from the previous year, the steepest decline since the country’s savings and loan crisis in the 1990s.
When regional U.S. banks are drained of deposits by households and businesses worried about the safety of their money or seeking higher interest elsewhere, those banks make fewer loans to buy houses and fund small business. That, in turn, can lead to a credit crunch and recession.
The picture in Canada is different, with deposits continuing to rise, as Stephen Brown at Capital Economics noted this week.
While lending to businesses has tightened significantly in the U.S., he wrote, on balance Canadian banks have made loans only marginally more restrictive.
Canada’s banking sector “does not face the same immediate risks as in the U.S., since it is far more concentrated, limiting the chance that problems at small lenders will trigger a broader crisis of confidence,” he wrote.
Still, he warned, “indirect risks” from international bank problems will likely lead Canadian banks to be more cautious in their lending here, “particularly as their U.S. operations come under strain.”
Stocks Shake Off Bank Woes, Set for Quarterly Gain: Markets Wrap
(Bloomberg) — US equity futures edged higher after a key measure of US inflation stepped down last month by more than expected, and consumer spending stabilized, suggesting the Federal Reserve may be close to the end of its rate-hiking campaign. The dollar pared an advance.
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Excluding food and energy, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge — the personal consumption expenditures price index — rose 0.3% in February, slightly below the median estimate of 0.4% in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The overall PCE climbed by the same amount, Commerce Department data showed Friday.
Contracts on the S&P 500 rose 0.2%, while those on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 were little changed, with the underlying index set for its strongest March since 2010.
Digital World Acquisition Corp., the blank-check firm taking Donald Trump’s media company public, rallied in premarket trading after he became the first former president to be indicted. Other Trump-linked stocks also gained.
If equities “end the week in the green, that’s a big deal considering how almost disastrous the rest of the month was,” said Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at Oanda. “Confidence is easily shattered and difficult to restore and a positive end to the week would send a strong signal that investors are feeling reassured by the lack of turmoil recently.”
Treasury yields drifted following Friday’s US data at the end of a quarter of wild swings. Investors have struggled to adjust for banking collapses and the shifting outlook for interest rates amid high inflation and threats to economic growth. The two-year yield was around 4.11% Friday while the 10-year maturity was about 3.53%.
Traders remained on guard for any choppiness amid quarter-end rebalancing from pension funds and options hedging activity. And they continue to debate the extent to which policy makers may cut interest rates this year. Several strategists have said markets are wrong to expect easing by the Fed this year as the labor market remains robust, though US unemployment claims ticked up for the first time in three weeks.
A round of Fed speakers on Thursday suggested more monetary tightening was necessary to quell inflation, even after the collapse of three US banks this month. Boston Fed President Susan Collins said tightening was needed, while Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said the Fed can raise rates more if inflation risks persist.
In Europe, euro-area inflation plunged by the most on record, but a new high for underlying price gains highlighted the tricky task facing the European Central Bank as it decides how far to lift interest rates. Consumer prices rose 6.9% from a year ago in March — down from 8.5% in February and less than the 7.1% median estimate of economists, but core inflation quickened to 5.7%.
Elsewhere in markets, oil headed for a weekly surge of more than 7% amid ongoing disruption to Iraqi exports. Gold was little changed. And Bitcoin was set to end its best quarter since March 2021 with a gain of about 70%.
Key events this week:
- ECB President Christine Lagarde speaks, Friday
- New York Fed President John Williams speaks, Friday
Some of the main moves in markets:
- S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% as of 8:49 a.m. New York time
- Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed
- Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%
- The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.5%
- The MSCI World index rose 0.7%
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%
- The euro fell 0.2% to $1.0882
- The British pound was little changed at $1.2381
- The Japanese yen fell 0.2% to 132.95 per dollar
- Bitcoin fell 0.3% to $28,060.63
- Ether rose 0.5% to $1,804.69
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined two basis points to 3.53%
- Germany’s 10-year yield declined four basis points to 2.33%
- Britain’s 10-year yield advanced one basis point to 3.53%
Rogers takeover of Shaw approved, with conditions
The federal government has approved the multi-billion-dollar merger of telecom companies Rogers and Shaw, but with conditions that Ottawa insists will make the deal good for consumers.
François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said at a press conference Friday that the government has approved the transaction first proposed in 2021.
As part of the deal, Shaw’s wireless business, Freedom Mobile, will be sold to Quebec-based Videotron.
The approval comes with 21 conditions that the government says are “legally enforceable,” including that Videotron will start to offer plans that are comparable to those currently available in Quebec, and they can’t sell the wireless assets to anyone else for at least a decade.
Videotron must also:
- Offer 5G service everywhere Freedom currently operates within two years;
- Offer service in Manitoba via MVNO;
- Increase the data allotments for existing Freedom customers by 10 per cent.
“Today, I am informing Canadians that I have secured on their behalf unprecedented and legally binding commitments from Rogers and Videotron. And, after imposing strict conditions, the spectrum licences of Freedom Mobile will be transferred to Videotron,” Champagne said.
“This transfer follows a series of agreements signed by the parties that will ensure that this new national fourth player will be in it for the long haul, be able to go toe to toe with the Big Three, and actually drive down prices across Canada.”
While Shaw’s mobile business and its more than two million wireless customers will move to Quebecor, Rogers will take over Shaw’s media and cable assets, most of which are in Western Canada. But Champagne says those assets are also subject to numerous conditions.
They include a requirement to create 3,000 jobs in Western Canada, to spend billions to expand its broadband and wireless networks, and also offer new lower cost plans to consumers in both.
“Should the parties fail to live up to any of their commitments, our government will use every means in our power to enforce the terms on behalf of Canadians,” Champagne said, noting that Rogers is subject to financial penalties of up to $1 billion for non-compliance.
Champagne pitched the deal as a win for consumers, but consumer watchdog group OpenMedia called the news “a dark day for the Internet in Canada.”
“Today’s decision is the largest blow to telecommunications competition and affordability we’ve ever seen,” executive director Laura Tribe said after the news came out.
The approval by government is the final step in a lengthy process that started 746 days ago, when Toronto-based Rogers first proposed to take over Calgary-based Shaw in a deal worth $26 billion.
The deal faced intense opposition from the start, and numerous regulatory agencies weighed in. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission signed off on the broadcasting part of the deal last year, but Canada’s Competition Bureau fought hard against the deal, but ultimately lost in a tribunal ruling last year.
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