OTTAWA, 6 December 2021 – Consumers are struggling with Internet services during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), citing today’s release of the 2020-21 Annual Report of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS).

The CCTC Annual Report shows a 9% year over year increase in consumer complaints during the months of August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021. Customers raised 12% more Internet-related issues during COVID-19 lockdown, with nearly one quarter of these concerning poor service quality and complete loss of service at a time when Canadians rely on internet services to complete essential activities.

“Increased home internet usage by Canadians during COVID-19 restrictions highlights serious problems with Canada’s Internet industry and regulation,” noted John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “The CRTC’s ‘Internet Code’ had only 18 confirmed violations despite consumers raising over 13,000 Internet issues – or less than 0.2%,” he added. “That’s a ridiculously low number that we think means the Internet Code has no real substantive consumer protections while consumers are led by regulators and industry to think that it protects them.”

Wireless services continued to be the most complained about service, at 44% of consumer complaints overall, versus 31% for Internet services and 12% each for TV and home phone service. Disclosure issues continue to worsen as they were the top consumer concern (14% of all issues for all service), followed by incorrect charges (13%) and poor quality of service (11%). Within the service quality category, complaints relating to Internet quality of service saw a whopping 48% increase.

PIAC notes that disclosure concerns also are a common issue again this year despite a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Report on Misleading or Aggressive Retail Sales Practices of Canada’s communications providers that clearly described flaws in industry behaviour.

For more information, please contact:

John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
613-562-4002 ext. 125 (New)
(613) 447-8125 (cell)