Jean-Pierre Blais New Head Of CRTC

New broadcast regulator was once a long-time civil servant.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

Jean-Pierre Blais has replaced interim Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) head Leonard Katz as the chief of the organization after spending years as a civil servant. He will fill the post for a maximum of five years.

Katz had occupied the role briefly when he stood in for Konrad von Finckenstein, who had recently ended his five-year term with the CRTC. The broadcast regulator has gone through significant changes as of late, especially with the boom of internet-based media, and von Finckenstein had said in an interview that it is imperative that new regulations are put into place. "Whether you talk, whether you send video, whether you send a fax, an email… it's just bits that are being sent over the same wire," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "That has completely changed our traditional definition of broadcasting and telecom. It's now essentially the same thing. It's time to review this legislation, it's 20 years old. We want a system that carries bits, carries them efficiently and gives Canadians as much access as possible."

This responsibility will fall onto the shoulders of Blais, the new CRTC chief.

In an official press release Prime Minister Stephen Harper said of Blais that he "brings a strong legal background and a comprehensive understanding of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors and the role of the CRTC" (CBC News), and then he added, "I wish him all the best as he takes on the challenges of his new role" (CP).