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TéléCommunautés Canada

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Mission Statement

  • To ensure that all Canadians are able to participate in community-based communications and electronic information services by promoting and supporting local community network initiatives.
  • To represent and promote the Canadian community networking movement at the national and international level.

February 2024: TC response to WSIS review

TC response to Questionnaire for 20-year review of WSIS implementation
(UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development)
A TC focus group responds to questions concerning the evolution of the Information Society envisioned 20 years ago and finds it has become corporate-centered and profit oriented rather than people-centered, inclusive and development oriented. Challenges and emerging trends the upcoming WSIS+20 process needs to address are outlined and priorities for TC as civil society stakeholders are presented.
TC response to Questionnaire for 20-year review of WSIS implementation [PDF]

April 2023: TC statement to the Global Digital Compact

Digital Commons as a Global Public Good

The Global Digital Compact
A UN initiative seeking to outline "shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all."


Internet policy is not about technology but about socio-economic development. Today all policy is Internet policy. The future of governance in the digital age is at stake.

To ensure that the digital commons is preserved as a global public good, the following principles must be respected:

  • Access to the internet should be a basic human right. Everyone must be able to use and benefit from it regardless of location or socioeconomic status.
  • Internet governance must proceed via a multi-stakeholder model which includes civil society and end users as equal partners with government, technical and commercial/industrial groups. Accountability and transparency in a grass roots, bottom-up decision making process is essential.
  • The internet must continue to be worldwide and interoperable, a free and open space for all, where ideas can be shared without censorship or discrimination.
  • Community/local ownership of facilities should be recognized as a model of delivery that enables grassroots governance and socio-economic development.
  • The cultural, linguistic, and social diversity of users must be reflected in policy and practice.

Key commitments:

Digital culture is emerging from a relational worldview founded on the principles governing interdependence in open and self-organizing systems. The best place to act in applying principles for governance as self-organization is neither national nor global. It is local -- reflecting the interaction of individuals and the communities of interest and practice they inhabit.

Understanding Internet governance as an ecology mirrors a shift in our understanding both of governance and of the significance of community within it. All stakeholders must recognize and respect the significance of community and the power contained therein. As a community of users, Telecommunities Canada is committed to ensuring that all Canadians are able to participate in community-based communications and electronic information services by promoting and supporting local community network initiatives.

Filed April 2023

2021: In Memoriam — Brian Beaton – 1953-2021

photo of Brian Beaton

We are saddened by the loss of one of our directors and long-time supporters. Brian Beaton was a passionate advocate for community ownership of critical infrastructure, particularly communications resources. In the mid-1990's, he managed the team that built K-Net1, a unique First Nations owned and operated ICT service provider that connects hundreds of remote communities over thousands of miles. From its onset, K-Net was designed to serve the social and economic development needs of its constituent communities. In 2001, Brian served on the federal government's National Broadband Taskforce and was instrumental in its recommendation that called for prioritizing First Nations, Inuit, rural and remote communities in any national broadband strategy. His unique perspectives, grounded in the community contexts he knew so well, will be deeply missed. More information on Brian's life journey: Remembering Brian Beaton

  1. Fiser, A., Clement, A., And Walmark, B. The K-Net Development Process: A Model for First Nations Broadband Community Networks [PDF] CRACIN Working Paper No. 2006-12. Toronto: Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking.

June 2021: TC now has a YouTube channel

2020–2021: Guest Speakers at TC virtual meetings


Glenn McKnight on the Virtual School of Internet Governance (VSIG) — an online learning platform that provides a core curriculum for students of Internet Governance.
This course is free to the learners. As a novel and efficient approach, the VSIG team follows a ten-eleven week delivery format. During the first year, there were four groups of approximately one-hundred students each and plans are in place to launch in September 2021 a French and Spanish version of the course. For more information see


Rob McMahon, Coordinator and Secretary of the First Mile Connectivity Consortium.
His work focuses on the appropriation of broadband and internet technologies by First Nations and Inuit communities. The First Mile Connectivity Consortium (FMCC) is a registered national non-profit organization in Canada. The FMCC membership includes First Nations community-based telecommunications organizations serving remote and rural communities. These organizations represent the telecom interests of the citizens in their member communities. FMCC research associates include experts on the topic of broadband infrastructure and digital technology adoption in remote and rural communities. A podcast of Rob's presentation is available here:

May 2019: ICANN Briefing


On May 30, TeleCommunities Canada and NARALO continued its series of ICANN outreach events with a pre-ICANN65 briefing held at the Ottawa offices of A member of the ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement team presented a brief introduction to the multi-stakeholder system practiced at ICANN. There was also a presentation on the ongoing work seeking to determine how geographical names at the top level should be managed in a possible new round of generic top level domain applications and an update on progress toward complying with the new European Data Protection Regulations. This was followed by a networking session. A report and video of the session has been posted under TC and ICANN.

November 2018: ICANN read-out


On November 28, TeleCommunities Canada and NARALO organized the second ICANN 63 Readout in Ottawa in 2018. The event was attended by 15 people with another 17 participating remotely via the ISOC Livestream channel and ICANN's Adobe room. ICANN senior staff, government and community members provided insights into the discussions at the recent ICANN meeting in Barcelona (Oct.20-25, 2018). Topics included an introduction to the multi-stakeholder system, the role of the Government Advisory Committee at ICANN, how ICANN and other bodies can comply with the European Data Protection Regulations and issues around the use of geonames at the top level. The presentations were followed by a networking session which enabled one on one discussions and follow-up questions. For further information see the ICANN 63 Readout Report [RTF] and links to archived resources under TC and ICANN.

February 2018: ICANN read-out


TeleCommunities Canada sponsored the first ICANN read-out in Canada. Such read-outs are a way to keep end-users informed on ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) processes and the various issues under discussion at its public meetings. This session was streamed on the ISOC livestream channel. Presentations addressed the ICANN multistakeholder model, the role of government, the role of the country code supporting organization, and privacy protection for domain name registrants at ICANN. For further information and links to archived resources, please see TC and ICANN.

September 2017: CIRA community improvement grants to 3 community networks

Communautique: Fab Labs Nation

Fab Labs Nation: A Fab Lab is a space for citizen participation where everyone can access technology, learn how to create and share their knowledge with members of the community. The Fab Labs Nation will connect existing Fab Labs in a concerted strategy to enhance sharing and capture what each is doing to spark community resilience, promote business innovation, entrepreneurship and create jobs for the future.

National Capital FreeNet: Digital Access Day

Digital Access Day - connecting all Canadians: The first-annual Canadian Digital Access Day will bring together non-governmental organizations, different levels of government, educational institutions and the technology sector to amplify the national conversation around Canada's digital divide. It's an opportunity to identify what is being done now, what else can be done and how to measure progress.

Vancouver Community Network: leverages SMS technology to send messages to the cell phones of homeless and street-involved youth with program information, life-saving alerts and real-time updates on available shelter beds displayed on Google Maps. With the live-launch of StreetMessenger, VCN is working with community organizations in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto to register cellphone carrying at-risk street and marginalized individuals in their communities.

April 2017: TC at NARALO and ARIN policy discussions

TC was represented at the General Assembly of the North American Regional At Large Organization (NARALO) held in New Orleans April 2-5. TC is one of 29 At Large Structures (ALSs) in NARALO. RALOs serve as coordination points for public input into policy and procedures at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and a focal point for ICANN outreach activities. Canadian ALSs comprised almost half of the approx. 25 attendees. This included Canadian community networking representatives from Communautique, National Capital Freenet, Nova Scotia Western Valley CAP sites, and Pacific Community Networking Association as well as TC.

As part of this event, ALS representatives also participated in the policy meeting of ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, the organization which manages the distribution of IP address space. Canadian participants were instrumental in persuading the meeting to reconsider dropping a policy which granted special status to community networks.

For more info on how the role of At Large Organizations in ICANN please see: Roles and Responsibilities of RALOs.

January 2016: pre-budget consultation: Digital Strategy

In its contribution to the 2016 federal pre-budget consultation, Telecommunities Canada points out that a world-class digital strategy is essential to maintaining Canada’s social and cultural relevance and economic competitiveness. ICT and digital literacy are today's most powerful catalysts for social and economic innovation, says the submission and Canada is falling behind. Ample, accessible and affordable broadband is essential and community. Local/ municipal/ community ownership of broadband infrastructure as a public utility is the only route to ensuring that communities are smart enough to take charge of their own digital futures.

February 2016: Basic Telecommunications Services

TC comment on CRTC Notice 2015-134: Review of Basic Telecommunications Services

This comment [PDF] urges the Commission to:

October 2013 - In Memoriam

Gareth Shearman, President of Telecommunities Canada since 1998, died, October 14, 2013, after a lengthy struggle with cancer. In 1992, he was also instrumental in establishing the Victoria Free-Net Association - Canada's first Free-Net. Victoria Free-Net has posted a condolences page in his honour.

May 2013 - Victoria Free-net moves to new residence

As part of Victoria Free-Net's "transition" to life beyond CAP, we've moved from our 18 year home at Commerce Circle to a more compact, far less costly, location at the Vancouver Island Technology Park. The team of volunteers has literally moved heaven and hell over the last several months to accomplish this. Thursday, May 30th, was the last act, shutting down and moving the server room.

This Facebook URL should let anyone see the flavour of the turning point: Photos of VTN take-down

TC's communications with members and board members and advisors flow through Victoria Free-Net.

February 2011 - Canada's Community Access Program (CAP)

September 2010 - CRTC intervention

TC supports CACTUS at CRTC

Telecommunities Canada ( intervention re: Broadcasting notice of consultation CRTC 210-623 -- Call for comments on contributions by broadcasting distribution undertakings to local expression. TC supports the renewed proposal by the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS) to use the 0.5% of cable gross revenues that would become available under the CRTC's proposal in 2010-623 for the establishment of a Community-Access Media Fund to which independent non-profit community-run access channels could apply.   [RTF 19KB]

January 2010 - National Strategy for Digital Inclusion

Updated January 19, 2010

October 2009 - The Future of the Internet

Open Internet Town Halls make their way to the east coast!

After hosting Open Internet Town Hall events in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto, Telecommunities Canada (  and are pleased to announce yet another exciting event, this time in Halifax.

On October 26th, the Dalhousie Student Union and along with the Chebucto Community Network ( will host a town hall titled "Who is Shaping your Digital Future?"  Keynote speaker will be Laura Murray, Queen's University Professor and digital copyright expert.  This will be followed by a panel of local experts who will explore topics such as net neutrality and the digital divide.

The event goes from 7:00p.m. to 9:30 pm, Monday, October 26th at the McInnes Room of the Dalhousie University Student Union Building.  For more information please see: and and (broken link)

October 2009 - Report from Vancouver ICT Summit

A community discussion

At the 2009 ICT Summit, TeleCommunities Canada sponsored a community discussion on the need for a national strategy on the uses of the Internet for socio-economic development. The statement that emerged from this discussion suggests that on-line assets are among the social indicators that determine our health as a nation. It calls for a strategy guided by a national multi-stakeholder council - a cohesive single voice that reflects the diversity of our society:   [HTML 4.8KB]   [MSWord 34KB]

June 10 2009 - The Future of the Internet

Access, Openness and Inclusion - A Town Hall Discussion (Ottawa)

ACCESS, OPENNESS AND INCLUSION IN MEDIA are essential to a robust democracy and a healthy economy. The Internet is a basic component of our society and essential to every aspect of our lives. Strengthening the infrastructure of Canada's Internet is therefore crucial to the prosperity of citizens socially, economically, and politically, and the country as the whole.

Ottawa's open Internet Town Hall took place at the Ottawa Public Library, June 10, 7-9 pm. Introduction by Steve Anderson - co-founder, with speakers: Michael Geist - Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, Charlie Angus - MP Timmins James Bay, and Rocky Gaudrault - CEO, Teksavvy Solutions Inc.

Presented by: Campaign for Democratic Media, Telecommunities Canada, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic,,

This event was made possible through the generous support of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Community Networking Advocacy

February 2009 - TC represents NARALO for ICANN

January 2009 - Social and Economic Development

January 2009 - Infrastructure on [the] line

Talking about social change in a digital age

In our digital age, what kind of society do we want? Although still rare, participatory forums to address this question are beginning to occur at the community-level. In the hope of seeding more of them, we intend to use these web pages to share some examples of community-based dialogue on this important public policy issue.

December 2008 - Broadband as infrastructure

October 2008 - Internet for Everyone

March 2008 - National Strategy for Digital Inclusion

June 28, 2007 - ICANN North America RALO signing

Photos of the NARALO signing in San Juan:
All Photos
Darlene Thompson - N-CAP
Gareth Shearman - Telecommunities Canada

October 2006 - Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum

TC members played a major role in the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum organized by the Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN). CRACIN co-investigator Marita Moll was one of the forum organizers. TC directors were active participants in panels and workshop sessions. For more information see (broken link)

Article on Forum issues published in Straight Goods (reproduced here with permission of the authors):   5.2 KB (HTML)   4.7 KB (plain text)

August 2006 - Telecommunications Policy Review

A representation from Telecommunities Canada to the Telecommunications Policy Branch, Industry Canada, with respect to: Order under Section 8 of the Telecommunications Act - Draft Policy Direction from Cabinet to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. This is available on the Advocacy and Reports page entitled: TC REPRESENTATION ON CABINET DIRECTIVE TO THE CRTC .

June 2006 - Telecommunications Policy Review

A critique of the Report of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel is available on the Advocacy and Reports page, entitled CANADIANS ONLINE - CREATORS NOT CONSUMERS .

November 2005 - Four Internet Futures

In seeking a way to understand the issues driving the Internet Governance debate at WSIS, TC Board member, Garth Graham, has used scenarios to produce a brief synthesis and overview titled, Experiencing the Information Society: four Internet futures .

August-September 2005 - Telecom Policy Review

TC first and second responses are available on the Advocacy and Reports page.

May 2005 - TC active in WSIS/WGIG consultation

Internet Governance

The UN Secretary General's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) is developing a report for the November 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). In early May, the WGIG posted a questionnaire that seeks to gather public opinion on institutional arrangements related to Internet governance. They seek views on the functioning of the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers and the Government Advisory Council (GAC), and recommendations about whether another mechanism is needed and what it might look like. The questionnaire is available at the WGIG site: A TC comment to the discussion wiki accompanying the questionnaire is available here.

Civil Society

TC had a major presence at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO sponsored conference "Paving the road to Tunis WSIS II: The views of Canada's Civil Society on the Geneva Plan of Action and the Prospects for Phase II" Winnipeg, May 13-15, 2005.

The following TC directors were in attendance:

  • Brian Beaton,
  • Michael Gurstein,
  • Marita Moll,
  • David Murdoch,
  • Peter Royce,
  • Gareth Shearman,

The TC statement "Beyond the Information Society; Enabling Communities to Create the World We Want / Au-delà de la société de l'information; Permettre aux communautés de créer le monde que nous désirons" was well received and is listed in the final communiqué of the conference among the WSIS sites available for further consultation.

TC President, Gary Shearman and Peter Frampton, chair of the National Association of Community Access Programs participated in a panel on "Civil society's role in building a global information society." Their presentation 10 years of investment -- CAP -- The Community Access program in Canada is available here.

A Brief History of TC

Meetings, Legal Documents, and Bylaws

Historic Web Site Section

2017: TeleCommunities Web Update in Progress

We are slowly (very, very, very slowly, even imperceptibly) updating this most ancient, historic, and now venerable section of our Web Site. That involves deciding what this site should be about, choosing open-source software to build it, and then keeping it updated.

Until our site update is complete, treat much of this historic material as "the way were were" not "the way we are"!

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