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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.

Government’s proposed “Policy Direction” to CRTC means lower prices, more protection for consumers in Internet, Wireless

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), today hailed yesterday’s announcement by the Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) of a proposed new “Policy Direction” to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that should lead to lower prices, affordable access and more consumer protection for Canadians buying Internet and wireless services. “The Government has signaled with this Policy Direction that it wants the CRTC to change course and put consumer interests first,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “We applaud the Government’s acknowledgement that consumers need affordable access to the Internet, whether at home or on the go, and that consumer protection and increased competition are essential to achieve this goal” he added.

CRTC Report on Telecom Sales Practices Vindicates Consumer Concerns

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today released its Telecom Sales Practices Report to the Federal Cabinet, vindicating the public’s concerns that too many Canadians have suffered misleading, aggressive and unsuitable telecom sales practices at the hands of major telecommunications providers and firmly stating that such practices are unacceptable and must change. “Consumers told us that they were being misled, oversold and treated aggressively when they interacted with their telecom and TV service providers, whether at the door, on the phone, in a store or online,” said John Lawford, Co-Counsel to the FCSC. “We are extremely pleased that the CRTC believed those consumers and mapped out how to help,” he added.

PIAC Supports Keep Me Posted, a Campaign for Protecting the Consumers’ Right to Choose Paper or Digital Communications

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
PIAC has joined a global advocacy campaign, Keep Me Posted (KMP), working for the right of every consumer to choose, free of charge, how they receive important information from their service providers – on paper or electronically. PIAC has actively advocated for consumers’ right to receive bills and statements in paper format, free from any fees. In its 2014 report, “How to Pay the Piper: A Primer on Additional Charges to Consumers in Canada for Paper Billing,” PIAC called for the elimination of fees for paper statements and billing, finding that Canadians are paying between $495 and $734 million annually in fees for monthly bills and statements in paper formats to the banking and communications services industries (phone, TV, home internet and wireless).

PIAC Submission to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Review Panel – 11 January 2019

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019
Please see attached PIAC's submission to the Government's "Review of the Canadian Communications Legislative Framework, Responding to the New Environment: A Call for Comments".  PIAC's major request is that a statutory Universal Service Obligation be added to the Telecommunications Act.

Save PIAC – Update

Friday, December 14th, 2018
*** UPDATE *** As of 24 December 2018, thanks to your generous donations, PIAC will be open at least until mid-January. The fight is not over, however, to our supporters and those who gave so generously, THANK YOU, we will keep working to survive and thrive.  Happy Holidays all! - JL For over four decades, PIAC has been your consumer voice in Canada. We have consistently fought for fair treatment, fair pricing, and your fundamental rights as people, not just customers. PIAC’s work has never been more important: major corporations are more powerful than ever in Canada. But PIAC itself has never been more threatened. We face an acute funding crunch and will be unable to keep going without your urgent help. DONATE NOW TO KEEP PIAC'S WORK GOING.

PIAC to Boycott CRTC “Internet Code” Proceeding

Friday, November 23rd, 2018
OTTAWA - The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today announced it will not participate in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's "Internet Code" proceeding. "The CRTC has issued a 'straw man' Internet Code to comment on but it's terrible for consumers," said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC. "That railroading, along with the refusal to extend the deadlines, means that they have closed their minds. In that case, the only option is protest, so we will boycott this proceeding."

*** ADDRESS CHANGE ***

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018
*** ADDRESS CHANGE *** The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is pleased to inform stakeholders, regulators, supporters, detractors, friends, enemies and the general public that we will be moving to a new address AS OF 1 DECEMBER 2018: Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) 285 McLeod Street, Suite 200 Ottawa, ON K2P 1A1 Please note that our telephone number remains the same: 613-562-4002 and our fax number: 613-562-0007. In addition, our email addresses, website address and social media handles all remain the same.

Media Alert: CRTC Telecom Sales Practices Hearing – TODAY, PIAC to Appear as Part of Fair Communications Sales Coalition

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018
Today, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) will appear today to present oral arguments before the CRTC hearing into the sales practices of major telecommunications service providers as part of the Fair Communications Sales Coalition (FCSC), a coalition of consumer, seniors and low-income public interest groups. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), ACORN Canada (ACORN), National Pensioners Federation (NPF) and CARP (formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) – will argue for stronger protections for consumers to protect from misleading, aggressive and unsuitable sales of Internet, telephone, cellphone and paid TV services to Canadians.

CRTC Refusal to Block Websites is Fair Result

Tuesday, October 2nd, 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.”
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