Latest News

Huge increase in consumer complaints requires CRTC to investigate

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
Consumer complaints to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) increased by a whopping 73% compared to the same period last year – an increase that must be investigated and fixed, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today. “Canadian consumers are sending a clear message that they are being poorly treated by, and are suffering from misleading sales practices of, Internet, wireless, home phone and subscription TV services,” said John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel. “Such a dramatic increase must be investigated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission,” he added.

Social Justice Articling Position Funded for 2019-2020 – Apply Now

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
Description for Social Justice Articling Position Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario Name and Location of Organization: Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) 1204-ONE Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7 For Articling Year: 2019-2020 Deadline for Application: May 22, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. (EST) Interviews the weeks of: June 4th - 8th and June 11th – 15th, 2018 Offers will be made: June 18, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. (EST)

BACKGROUNDER on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Domestic Bank Sales Practices Review

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has published a report on its review of domestic banks’ retail sales practices (the “Report”). The Report, which follows 9 months of investigation, finds that the banks do not prioritize financial consumer protection, fairness and product suitability and as a result there is an increased risk of mis-selling to consumers and of bank employees breaching market conduct obligations.

FCAC confirms banks “mis-selling” products to consumers

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
Two of Canada’s leading consumer groups, FAIR Canada and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), today welcomed a government report that confirmed major Canadian banks incentivize their employees to “mis-sell” unsuitable financial products to Canadians. “This report shows what PIAC has said all along,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “Banking consumers need a Financial Consumer Code to protect the rights of Canadian banking customers.”

PIAC Remarks on Bill C-49 (Airline Rights) to Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications (TRCM)

Thursday, March 1st, 2018
PIAC presented to the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications (TRCM) last night on Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, on the subject of air passenger rights. Here is the written text of the oral remarks: "Our message today is simple: we support Bill C-49 as written. It will vastly improve airline travel for average Canadians and it likely will provide acceptable levels of redress for consumers that are mistreated by airlines."

CRTC throws consumers to telco sales dogs

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today reacted negatively to a letter from the Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rejecting PIAC’s call for the CRTC to pursue a public inquiry into reported inappropriate, aggressive and potentially misleading sales of communications services. John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, said in reaction to the letter: “The CRTC refusal to inquire into the shocking sales practices of Canada’s major telecommunications and broadcasting companies says to consumers ‘You’re on your own.’”

CRTC widens the digital divide

Thursday, January 25th, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), ACORN Canada (ACORN) and National Pensioners Federation (NPF) today reacted negatively to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) rejection of their review of the CRTC’s previous decision to deny creating a fund to ensure all Canadians, including lower-income Canadians, have equal access to broadband and other telecommunications services. John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, said “We are once again shocked that the CRTC will do precisely nothing to support affordable internet access. They are widening the digital divide by saying ‘it’s not our problem.’”

PIAC Request for Commission Inquiry into Sales Practices of Major Communications Providers

Monday, January 8th, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today requested in a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that the CRTC hold a public inquiry into the sales practices of major telecommunications and broadcasting service providers, given recent media reports into potentially misleading and aggressive sales tactics.

FAIR Canada and PIAC Welcome Steps to Ensure Compliance with OBSI Requirements

Friday, December 8th, 2017
FAIR Canada and PIAC welcome the CSA, IIROC and MFDA taking a step in the right direction to improve compliance with the OBSI dispute resolution process for securities complaints. We are also pleased to see that the CSA, IIROC and MFDA may view refusals or low ball offers as an indication of problems with a registered firm’s complaint handling practices including their obligation to deal fairly, honestly and in good faith with clients, act within the applicable standard of care, or have implemented and maintained effective complaint handling procedures.

PIAC Research Finds Increasing Legal Risk in Payment Systems Being Borne by Consumers

Friday, December 1st, 2017
A new research report published by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today demonstrates increasing legal risk being borne by consumers when using established as well as new innovative electronic payment systems. The report finds inconsistent allocation of legal risk from electronic payments transactions depending on their form, jurisdictional overlaps and gaps between federal and provincial rules and asymmetrical service provider contracts that leave consumers at a distinct disadvantage.
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