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CCTS Mid-Year Report Shows Troubling Internet Issues

Monday, March 29th, 2021
OTTAWA, 29 March 2021 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today noted that the 2020-21 Mid-Year Report of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) released today shows a 6% year over year increase in consumer complaints during the months of August 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021. Customers raised more issue Internet-related issues during COVID-19 lockdown, concerning poor service quality and complete loss of service at a time when Canadians rely on internet services to complete essential activities. “As expected, increased home internet usage by Canadians under lockdown showed the weaknesses in Canada’s Internet industry and regulation,” noted John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel. “The CRTC’s ‘Internet Code’ had only four violations despite thousands of Internet complaints – proving it’s a dead letter,” he added.

We Fight for That – Episode 5 –The Epic Battle for Your Privacy with Yuka Sai

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021
We discuss Bill C-11, a proposed law to change our federal private sector privacy act that protects consumers private information when they deal with businesses. PIAC's articling student, Yuka Sai, joins John Lawford to discuss the epic battle between business, with an assist from the federal government, and consumers over privacy. This battle centres on Bill C-11 and in particular, the part called the "Consumer Privacy Protection Act". This doublespeak title hides the facts that the bill will amend our present Canadian private sector privacy act, the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), to allow collection and use of your personal information for any "business purpose" without your consent. This is a reversal of the law that, what, they thought we would just not notice? Seriously?

PIAC to talk on The Action to Get Affordability panel at the Affordable Internet Day of Action

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021
OTTAWA – March 16, 2021 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre will participate in today’s Affordable Internet Day of Action, taking place at 1 p.m. E.D.T., virtually. Executive Director and General Counsel, John Lawford, is a panellist during the 4 p.m. discussion “ The Action We Need Right Now – How We Get Affordability: It’s time for new approaches and a break from the status quo.” Mr. Lawford will present PIAC’s argument for how to move from a solid legal ground to affordable internet to consumer action to achieve it. The one-day virtual conference includes a coalition of partners and organizations dedicated to demanding affordable internet for all Canadians. The event is open to the public and pre-registration is available here. Full agenda and further details at

Rogers-Shaw Deal is Bad Medicine for Consumers

Monday, March 15th, 2021
OTTAWA, March 15, 2021 - The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today expressed serious concern with the announcement by Rogers Communications Inc. (“Rogers”) that it will acquire the business of Shaw Communications Inc. (“Shaw”). The deal would cover cable TV, Internet and wireless assets. The result would mean fewer wireless competitors in many Canadian markets. “Canadians will not benefit from having fewer wireless competitors; they will pay more,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC.

PIAC to participate in National Day of Action for Affordable Internet

Friday, February 26th, 2021
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre announced today its participation in the upcoming National Day of Action for Affordable Internet on March 16. The one-day virtual conference includes a coalition of partners and organizations dedicated to demanding affordable internet for all Canadians. “All consumers, but especially low-income Canadians, struggle to afford internet and cellphone connections in an environment made infinitely more difficult by inadequate laws, regulatory capture and market dominance by big companies. The first step is protest, the next is action on all of these barriers,” noted John Lawford, PIAC’s Executive Director and General Counsel.

Canadian consumers demand $50 broadband benefit during COVID, like in U.S.

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021
Consumer, seniors and low-income groups today demanded the Canadian federal government create a $50 a month “Canadian Broadband Benefit” (CBB) during the remainder of the COVID-19 emergency. This payment would simply reduce internet bills by $50 a month for low-income Canadians, seniors on fixed incomes and for those Canadians qualifying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit due to reduced income.  The Canadian Broadband Benefit would largely parallel the $USD 50 benefit recently approved in Congress for needy Americans in the United States. The groups include ACORN Canada (ACORN), the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). Together the groups represent over a million Canadians and advocate for many more who are similarly situated. “There is just as much need for broadband during a pandemic in Canada as there is in the United States, but our Parliament, the CRTC and the Internet companies have done little to help,” said John Lawford, Executive Director of PIAC. Internet companies in Canada offered a free data overage no disconnections from March to June 2020 and then restored usual prices.

We Fight for That – Episode 4 – Broadcasting and Why it Matters to You with Monica Auer

Thursday, December 24th, 2020
The CanCon is coming! The CanCon is coming! Or not.  Today we discuss Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, phew! Today's guest Monica Auer, Executive Director of Canada’s Forum for Research and Policy in Communications (FRPC) strives mightily to explain broadcasting regulation in Canada and how the federal government wants to change it.  What could go wrong? Turns out a lot, if you hurry to do it, have a very specific goal in mind but ignore the rest, and just rip the heart out of it. Surgery or a roadmap? You decide.

CCTS Annual Report 2019-20 Shows Internet Code, TV Code are Dead Letters

Monday, November 30th, 2020
The Commission for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS) Annual Report 2019-20 of consumer complaints about communications services shows that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) "Internet Code" and "TV Service Provider Code" do not protect consumers and indeed are "dead letters" that mislead consumers into believing their Internet and TV use is protected when it is not, today said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

Telecom Fail – CCTS Compliance Report 2019

Thursday, November 19th, 2020
Ottawa - 19 November 2020 - Canadian telecommunications companies are unacceptably failing to comply with resolutions and in some cases falsely claiming to resolve consumer complaints to Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services (CCTS), according to the 2019 Compliance Monitoring Report, says consumer advocacy group the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). "We are shocked, but not surprised, at the companies' variety of non-compliance with a simple complaint resolution scheme for telecom customers," stated John Lawford, PIAC's Executive Director and General Counsel. "Consumers have told us for years that problems exist with the process."

Privacy Bill C-11 Hollows out Consumer Privacy

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020
OTTAWA– (16 November 2020) Consumer privacy in Canada will be destroyed if Bill C-11, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 [including Part 1 - Consumer Privacy Protection Act], is passed, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (“PIAC”) today . This new Bill is intended to replace and strengthen the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and but conversely hurts consumer privacy by removing key consent requirements. PIAC Executive Director, John Lawford stated: “We are aghast that the federal government feels it can weaken consumer privacy with a doublespeak Bill that removes a consumer’s right to protect his or her personal information that is used for any ‘business activity’ if it is 'de-identified' or used for what the government deems is a 'socially beneficial purpose'. This counterproductive Bill should be withdrawn and rewritten to protect consumers, not to favour big business,” he added.
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