Latest News

Phase II of Air Passenger Protection Regulations Go Live on December 15, 2019!

Friday, December 13th, 2019
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) welcomes the launch of the second phase of the Canadian Transportation Agency’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) that become effective from December 15, 2019. APPR is a regulation passed by the CTA, setting out clearer and consistent air passenger rights by stipulating airlines’ obligations to passengers and providing a clear redress mechanism. PIAC has over the years been a strong advocate for air passenger protections, and is pleased to see them materialize. “Airline passengers deserve to arrive reasonably on time. When the airline is at fault for a delay or cancellation, consumers can now get money and other help for their inconvenience,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. We strongly encourage you all to know your rights and be aware of the redress mechanisms available.

Thank you for Attending PIAC’s Annual Dinner 2019!

Monday, December 9th, 2019
We would like to once again extend our sincere gratitude to the Privacy Commissioner, Daniel Therrien, for speaking at our event. Mr Therrien spoke about the privacy law reform, impact of data-driven technologies on privacy and what it means to have a rights based law i.e. a law that confers enforceable rights to individuals, while also allowing for responsible innovation. If you missed the Dinner, you can read the Privacy Commissioner’s full remarks at the Annual Dinner by clicking through to the full post.

Increasing Consumer Worries and Woes – CCTS Annual Report

Thursday, November 28th, 2019
The Annual Report 2018-19 of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) released today shows an increase of 35% in consumer complaints for all communications services compared to last year. Wireless problems continue to lead the pack by service type, rising 53% over last years’ complaints and constituting more than 40% of all communications complaints.  Leading issues in wireless are billing and contract disputes, despite the protections of the Wireless Code; a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) “Report on Misleading or Aggressive Communications Retail Sales Practices”; and high retail pricing compared to other comparable countries, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) noted. “The Wireless industry is being reviewed by the CRTC right now. It is clear that billing, contracts and service standards are not meeting the reasonable expectations of Canadians,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “Canadians are increasingly frustrated by high costs of wireless service and the hassle of continued problems and so they are starting to complain.”

Stronger Regulatory Regime needed to address Consumer Issues regarding Retail Internet Access Services

Monday, November 25th, 2019
Canadians continue to face several issues with their home Internet access services and recent regulatory efforts to address them still fall short, a new Report released today by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) outlines. Prominent consumer internet service issues include billing; home Internet speed, often claimed to be either slow, or subject to throttling and poor quality of service (often a mismatch between the advertised Internet speed and what is actually delivered); lack of contract clarity; and challenges in installing and cancelling Internet access services. The Report also reviewed how a potential “Internet Code” could be effective in addressing several of the above consumer issues regarding retail Internet access. While the Report was being drafted, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released its “Internet Code” decision. The Report analyzes the CRTC’s Internet Code and finds that it does not adequately address several consumer issues, including speed claims and in one case, installation fees, actually permits additional unwarranted charges to be added to bills by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). “The CRTC missed a golden opportunity to fix Internet service by rushing out the Internet Code with minimal safeguards for consumers,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC.

UPDATE: 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)
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