Bell appeals CRTC decision to impose the “Wholesale Code

Date Closed

October 01, 2018

Lead Office


McCarthy Tétrault LLP successfully represented Bell Canada and Bell Media, the appellants in an appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, in setting aside the CRTC’s “Wholesale Code”, which set out a comprehensive set of mandatory guidelines governing the commercial arrangements between broadcasters and distribution undertakings, such as cable and satellite companies. The validity of the Wholesale Code was of considerable interest to the broadcasting industry, as it affected the ability of broadcasters to control the commercial exploitation of their copyrighted content.

The appeal was argued in the Federal Court of Appeal on November 14, 2017. On October 1, 2018, in Bell Canada v. 7265921 Canada Ltd., 2018 FCA 174, a majority of the Court found that the Wholesale Code was outside the jurisdiction of the CRTC under the Broadcasting Act. The Court also engaged in an extensive analysis of the law relating to the standard of judicial review.

The team from McCarthy Tétrault LLP was led by Steve Mason, and included Brandon Kain and Richard Lizius.