Monday, November 2nd, 2020
In episode 3 of PIAC's podcast, "We Fight for That", we explore the world of "wholesale" regulation of Internet service and why it matters to consumers with Matt Stein, CNOC President and Chairman, and Distributel CEO. Wholesale regulation of Internet (and wireless, maybe?) is fundamental to competition in Canadian telecommunications services. We give a short lecture on the concept and then interview Matt Stein, CNOC President and Chairman, and Distributel CEO, to bring listeners up to date on recent disputes about wholesale rates for Internet service and how this arcane regulatory question affects the price consumers pay for Internet as well as the choice of providers and innovation in the industry. Matt reveals why consumers should have optimism that things are going in the right direction.
Friday, October 16th, 2020
OTTAWA– (16 October 2020) The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (“PIAC”) today responded to the government of Ontario’s Consultation to strengthen privacy protections in Ontario with PIAC’s recommendations for strengthening privacy protections in Ontario’s private sector, preferably by strengthening the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and introducing provincial employment privacy legislation.
PIAC recommended bolstering privacy protections – whether in PIPEDA or a new Ontario statute – by making privacy a right, by widening the scope of privacy legislation and by greatly increasing compliance and enforcement powers of privacy authorities.
Wednesday, September 16th, 2020
As part of PIAC's filing a CRTC Part 1 Application Regarding “COVID Alert” App, “ABTraceTogether” App and Related Matters, we filed in the Appendix a Position Paper, giving full exploration of digital contact tracing technologies (DCTTs). To make this document, A “Privacy-First” Canadian Public Policy Approach to Digital Contact Tracing Technology (“DCTT”) Related to COVID-19 & Future Pandemics, more visible, we have separated this document out at this link. This study was prepared by Deborah Smith-Webber, external counsel to PIAC.
PIAC also has discussed our Application to the CRTC regarding COVID Alert and ABTraceTogether, among other DCTTs, in our first "We Fight for That" podcast, which is available for download now. Please subscribe! We are also preparing our next podcast to update you on the status of this Application.
Friday, September 11th, 2020
OTTAWA, 11 September 2020: "We fight for that" - the new podcast from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), launches today. This first episode includes an introduction to PIAC, asking and answering why you, as a Canadian consumer, keep asking "Am I Going Crazy?" when you have a problem with your purchases and subscriptions; and a detailed explanation of PIAC's COVID Alert app CRTC Application, that seeks to limit government access to any personal information from contact-tracing in Canada. The podcast is available on all major podcast providers. Please find our main podcast page at this link. We hope you enjoy listening
Wednesday, September 9th, 2020
OTTAWA - 9 September 2020 - The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) an Application requesting CRTC oversight of potential linkages between IP addresses generated by use of Health Canada's "COVID Alert" app (as well as similar uses of IP addresses and additionally, mobile phone numbers, by the "ABTraceTogether" app in Alberta) and telecommunications subscriber information.
The Application requests that the CRTC ensure that all Canadian cellphone and Internet companies' involvement in potential or actual linkages of information from contact-tracing apps to confidential telecommunications information held by cellphone and Internet companies for public health purposes is done in accordance with privacy requirements of Canada's telecommunications law.
PIAC Executive Director John Lawford stated: "Now we know how COVID Alert and ABTraceTogether work, PIAC sees a potential personal information "leak" if the government uses info from the apps to ask cellphone companies for more information on users. The CRTC must set out rules limiting any such access requests by the government to protect Canadians' privacy."
Thursday, June 4th, 2020
Social Justice Articling Position at PIAC (2021-2022), Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario – APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED
Description for Social Justice Articling Positions Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario
Name and Location of Organization:
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
2-285 McLeod Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 1A1
For Articling Year: 2021-2022
Deadline for Application: July 20, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. (EST)
Interviews the weeks of: 17 August and if necessary, 24 August
Offers will be made: August 28, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. (EST)
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
OTTAWA, June 2, 2020 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) filed yesterday a Petition to Cabinet of the Federal government to reverse the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decision to allow Koodo Mobile (owned by TELUS Communications Inc.) to change their customers’ monthly bill from paper to electronic format.
“Canadian consumers deserve a paper bill if they want or need one,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “The CRTC and wireless companies pretend that seniors and others will not be hurt but that’s not what we heard,” he added.
Tuesday, May 12th, 2020
OTTAWA, 12 May 2020 – The Mid-Year Report 2019-2020 of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) released today shows that Canadian communications customers face a crisis of confidence due to the actions of their service providers.
Wireless issues, as in previous years, continue to lead all services in consumer complaints – with 10,527 (44.2%) out of all 23,839 telecommunications and paid TV service complaints – representing a huge 28% year over year increase in wireless complaints relative to other services.
However, most disturbing in the report is that the leading complaint category for all services (wireless, home Internet, home phone and TV) was found to be “disclosure issues” – a CCTS euphemism for non-disclosure of key terms or providing misleading information about terms of service to the customer. For the first time, such disagreements topped the more mundane issue of “incorrect charges”, followed, as usual, by “intermittent/inadequate quality of service”.
Monday, May 4th, 2020
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today filed an Application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requesting oversight of pandemic "contact-tracing" apps and network services that may be offered for Canadians to download to their smartphones.
The Application requests that the CRTC ensure that all Canadian telecommunications service providers’ involvement in potential or actual pandemic contact-tracing for public health purposes is in accordance with privacy requirements under Canada's telecommunications legislation.
PIAC Executive Director John Lawford stated: "PIAC is seeking oversight, clarity and transparency from the CRTC so that Canadians know what role their mobile wireless service providers and home internet providers may play in COVID-19 tracking and that they appropriately safeguard privacy while not in any way impeding appropriate public health measures."
Tuesday, April 7th, 2020
OTTAWA, April 7, 2020 – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), ACORN Canada (ACORN) and the National Pensioners Federation (NPF) together called today for the Federal government, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Canada’s Internet service providers (ISPs) and Wireless Service Providers (WSPs) to do more for Canadians. Their list of demands includes calls for unlimited internet access and low-income Internet and wireless plans to help all Canadians stay connected while isolating at home.
“Canadian government has told Canadians to stay at home which we are doing,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “But this means that Canadians must have affordable Internet and wireless service to survive and stay informed. We demand that the government, the CRTC and ISPs and WSPs do more for all Canadians,” he added.