OTTAWA, September 6, 2023 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) hailed yesterday’s Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decision to reject a proposed price increase for Basic TV service and ensure continuing affordable access to essential TV for seniors and consumers.
“Canadian consumers deserve a basic TV package at an affordable rate if they want or need one, as they need access essential news and information about their society,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “The CRTC heard the voice of consumers facing higher prices everywhere post-pandemic and rejected this application as unnecessary,” he added.
PIAC and NPF argued the proposed price increase, initially requested by Bell Canada, Cogeco Communications Inc., Bragg Communications Incorporated, carrying on business as Eastlink, and Saskatchewan Telecommunications, would affect over 1.5 million Canadians, was unnecessary for the TV service providers given their other earnings on paid television subscriptions for higher bundles and that the basic TV service was intended as a social measure to ensure consumer access when over-the-air TV was left unsupported by the regulator and government post-digital transition.
Trish McAuliffe, President, NPF lauded the CRTC decision: “Seniors rely on the basic TV service to ensure connection with their community, for local news and information about politics and democracy and for entertainment when many are on fixed incomes facing other price increases. We were gratified that the CRTC both rejected the proposed 12% increase in the Basic TV price and the companies’ request to index that increase – which would have further eroded seniors’ access to broadcasting.”
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
tel: 1-613-562-4002 ext. 125
National Pensioners Federation
— 30 —