09/02/2016 10:11 EDT | Updated 09/03/2017 01:12 EDT

CRTC says Quebec cannot block access to websites without regulator's approval

MONTREAL — The CRTC has told Quebec the province cannot lawfully order Internet companies to block people's access to certain websites without first obtaining the federal regulator's approval.

CRTC secretary general Danielle May-Cuconato told Quebec on Thursday about the broadcast regulator's preliminary decision.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre filed an application with the CRTC in July asking it to state its position regarding the new law passed by the Quebec government.

The law forces Internet companies to block citizens' access to online gambling websites not authorized by the provincial government.

Canada's wireless telecom lobby has challenged Quebec's legislation in court, calling it unconstitutional and a violation of federal law.

The CRTC says federal law states it is the only body that can order Internet sites be blocked and, even then, only under exceptional circumstances.

Thursday's CRTC decision is preliminary and Quebec has two weeks to respond in writing.