Tuesday, October 2, 2018
OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today welcomed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decision to deny an application to require and authorize Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) to block online access to websites engaged in alleged copyright infringement. “The CRTC correctly concluded that it is not the appropriate body to decide matters of copyright policy”, said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC. “Consumers now can trust that the regulator will concentrate on connecting people on the internet and not on censoring, filtering or blocking what Canadians can access.”
High Consumer Risks Associated with Cryptocurrencies, Lack of Relevance for Average Consumers as Payment Systems
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
A new research report by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) shows that there are high consumer risks associated with the use of alternative currencies (referred as “cryptocurrencies” in the report). PIAC’s study indicates that consumers lack knowledge about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, affecting their ability to make well-informed decisions. PIAC’s research shows that cryptocurrencies in their present form also are of little relevance for the average consumer as functioning payment systems. Cryptocurrencies today suffer from a litany of woes resulting from their current design limitations, which affect their speed and potential volume of daily transactions. Cryptocurrencies’ level of acceptance as payment systems by both consumers and merchants consequently remains low.
Monday, August 20, 2018
After over a year of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) asking for it and the intervention of the Federal Cabinet, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) finally is pursuing a public inquiry into reported inappropriate, aggressive and potentially misleading sales of telecommunications and related services. John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, noted that the CRTC released a “Notice of consultation - Report regarding the retail sales practices of Canada’s large telecommunications carriers” over the summer but that Canadians still have 2 weeks to comment and to ask to attend the hearing to give evidence: “The CRTC has asked Canadian consumers and current and former telecom company employees to relate their stories of sales practices of Canada’s major telecommunications and broadcasting companies. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change the buyer-beware culture of internet, phone and TV sales in Canada.”
Friday, June 22, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today published an open letter to Facebook urging the social media giant not to launch the "Facebook Messenger Kids" app in Canada. PIAC's letter points to the collection and retention of young users' actual communications by Facebook, without a clear rationale, something that PIAC claims may, along with other flaws, violate Canadian privacy laws. "This is not a toy," said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. "It is a sophisticated social networking tool with significantly intrusive data collection - and it's intended for kids - who cannot even consent to it themselves." The letter raises a number of concerns that Facebook Messenger Kids, as presently structured, may violate Canadian privacy laws.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today welcomed the announcement of a public inquiry into aggressive and inappropriate sales tactics in the telecommunications industry. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), the Hon. Navdeep Bains, today requested the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to open a public inquiry into how major telecommunications providers sell services such as home internet, cable TV and IPTV, as well as home phone and wireless service to Canadians, from door-to-door sales, to call centres, to retail outlets and online. John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, said in reaction to the inquiry: “The government has heard the groans of Canadian consumers who too often end up with a bad deal for their Internet, TV and phone services," he noted. "We are pleased that the Minister has reversed the CRTC's previous refusal to inquire into these shocking sales practices and we hope that public trust in this industry can be restored as a result.”
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today reacted to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains' [announcement of an agreement with industry to provide affordable Internet access for low-income families] with some hope and much concern. "Today's announcement of a voluntary $10 Internet service from major Internet companies for low-income families is helpful for those Canadians and welcome," noted John Lawford, PIAC's Executive Director and General Counsel. "However, there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians without children who desperately need affordable broadband internet who are left out of this program for no clear reason, other than cost," he added.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Consumer complaints to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) increased by a whopping 73% compared to the same period last year – an increase that must be investigated and fixed, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today. “Canadian consumers are sending a clear message that they are being poorly treated by, and are suffering from misleading sales practices of, Internet, wireless, home phone and subscription TV services,” said John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel. “Such a dramatic increase must be investigated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission,” he added.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Description for Social Justice Articling Position Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario Name and Location of Organization: Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) 1204-ONE Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7 For Articling Year: 2019-2020 Deadline for Application: May 22, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. (EST) Interviews the weeks of: June 4th - 8th and June 11th – 15th, 2018 Offers will be made: June 18, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. (EST)
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has published a report on its review of domestic banks’ retail sales practices (the “Report”). The Report, which follows 9 months of investigation, finds that the banks do not prioritize financial consumer protection, fairness and product suitability and as a result there is an increased risk of mis-selling to consumers and of bank employees breaching market conduct obligations.
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