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PIAC to Hold its Annual Dinner November 28th 2019

Friday, November 15th, 2019
OTTAWA - The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today announced its Annual Dinner 2019 will be held at the magnificent National Arts Centre, Rossy Pavilion, on Thursday, 28 November 2019 from 6 p.m.  PIAC's Annual Dinner is an Ottawa highlight for collegiality among the many stakeholders in Canada's consumer protection, communications, privacy, air transportation, electronic commerce and competition advocates, regulators, lawyers, experts, policy analysts, journalists, academics and students. Traditionally, PIAC attracts a high-profile speaker to inform and entertain attendees with developments in their regulatory and policy area and to explain new developments in their field and what their agency is doing to advance consumer interests in Canada. This year is no exception, as PIAC welcomes the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Mr. Daniel Therrien, to address the Annual Dinner. Mr. Therrien will speak on data breach regulation, privacy legislation reform and the intersection of privacy and communications and we greatly anticipate his remarks, which we have no doubt will be of interest and value to our attendees.

Le CDIP souhaite la bienvenue aux nouveaux membres du conseil d’administration

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
Le Centre pour la défense de l’intérêt public (CDIP) a annoncé aujourd’hui l’élection récente de quatre nouveaux administrateurs à son conseil, tous experts en télécommunications, en radiodiffusion ou en recours collectifs.

PIAC Welcomes New Board Members

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), today announced the recent election of four new directors to its Board, all experts in either telecommunications, broadcasting or class actions.

Consumers Left Unprotected by CRTC’s Internet Code

Thursday, August 1st, 2019
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) warns home Internet consumers in Canada that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) yesterday released its “Internet Code” but that the Code has many traps for unwary consumers and likely will not assist customers who have had Internet service price increases, overage charges or early cancellation fees. “The CRTC’s Internet Code is a trap for unwary consumers because they may think it protects them but on issues that matter, like the ability of Internet Service Providers to change prices mid-contract or to charge you for cancelling service, it blesses those abuses” stated John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. The Internet Code will come into effect on January 31, 2020. However, it is “largely a glorified notice to consumers to beware of Internet Service Providers,” Lawford added.

Steps Required to Reduce Switching Barriers and Enhance Consumer Choice in Canadian Communications Services Market

Thursday, May 16th, 2019
Canadians do not switch communications providers despite their dissatisfaction with pricing and service, says a new research report released by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). The report finds significant barriers to switching in the Canadian retail communications services market, with limited regulatory action taken so far to promote consumer participation in these markets. The retail communications services markets studied include: home Internet access services, home (wired) telephone, mobile phone (including telephone and data services), and paid television services (broadcast distribution, excluding “over-the-top” services). ”Consumers are reluctant to try out competitive communications services, despite feeling they can and should,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC. “There are clearly behavioural barriers as well as market barriers to exercising choice in these markets,” he added. The report notes that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has, over the past decade, tentatively addressed some switching costs barriers for some services (notably wireless telecommunications services) in regulatory codes of conduct. However, the report finds that regulatory and political action promoting choice and switching in all four communications services has been limited and uncoordinated.

Social Justice Articling Position at PIAC (2020-2021), Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario – APPLY NOW

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
Description for Social Justice Articling Position Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario Name and Location of Organization: Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) 200-285 McLeod Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 1A1 For Articling Year: 2020-2021 Deadline for Application: May 21, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) Interviews the weeks of: June 3rd - 7th and June 10th – 13th, 2019 Offers will be made: June 14, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. (EDT)

The CRTC is listening, get your mobile wireless problems heard!

Friday, April 12th, 2019
Have you faced any issues with your mobile wireless service – cellphones – be it your bills being too high, data overage fees, high roaming charges, poor quality of service, or any other problems? The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is reviewing the mobile wireless services. With this public consultation, the CRTC will be specifically looking at: the state of competition in the retail wireless service market; regulation of wholesale mobile wireless service and the provision and competition implications of the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) access; and the future of mobile wireless services in Canada- 5G technology and other developments. Here’s your chance to share your experiences and ideas with the CRTC; enabling them to better understand your wireless concerns, and accordingly, plan and take the required measures. PIAC encourages you all to participate, and share your views regarding the available choices within the retail wireless industry, issues you have faced with mobile wireless services, and any measures needed for improvement. It is important that you comment in detail, and be as specific as possible about your issues and ideas.

PIAC Supports New Policy Direction to CRTC; expects lower costs, more choice in wireless and Internet

Monday, April 8th, 2019
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today expressed its support in a comment filed in answer to a consultation in the Canada Gazette for the Government's proposed new "Policy Direction" to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), intended to protect consumers, encourage affordability, increase competition and encourage innovation in telecommunications services. "PIAC supports the Government's proposed New Policy Direction to the CRTC to re-focus Canadian telecommunications regulation on consumers, cost and choice," said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC.  "We expect it will encourage concrete changes like more wireless service options, more Internet service options at higher speeds and all of it at prices Canadians can better afford."

Communications Companies Playing Hardball with Consumers – CCTS Mid-Year Report

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
The annual “Mid-Year Report” of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) (2018-19) released today shows an increase of 44% in consumer complaints compared to the same period last year – showing that there are continuing problems with the communications sector, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today.  Worryingly, more consumers are being denied clear rights in the Wireless Code and other consumer protections and are facing increasing willingness of companies to cut off their service. “We see a hardening of attitudes towards consumer complaints in these numbers,” said John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel, referring to an increase of complaints about lack of notice of wireless disconnections and an increase in complaints about matters such as mid-month cancellations. “Consumers have clear rights that are being flouted – so the only remedy is for consumers to bring forward even more complaints until the companies change their attitude,” he added.

PIAC’s Research Finds Low Consumer Awareness about Payday Loan Rights and Help Resources; Need for a Fair, Impartial, and Transparent Redress System

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019
A new research report published by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) shows that many payday loan users remain unaware of their rights, and find it difficult to calculate payday loans’ high interest rates and costs. Repeat borrowing and continuous debt-cycles continue to prevail, with many users uninformed on how to deal with debt cycles, and better manage their finances. The research indicates that the existing government resources on payday loans, i.e., provincial information websites and complaint filing processes may be underused, as many payday loan users do not know of their existence. “Payday loans are ‘expensive’ for customers because the repayment is due so soon, not just because the interest is high,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel, PIAC. “Payday loan customers make better financial choices when this obscure fact is made clear – and they can learn fast and start saving money right away,” he added.
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