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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."


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.”

High Consumer Risks Associated with Cryptocurrencies, Lack of Relevance for Average Consumers as Payment Systems

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
A new research report by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) shows that there are high consumer risks associated with the use of alternative currencies (referred as “cryptocurrencies” in the report). PIAC’s study indicates that consumers lack knowledge about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, affecting their ability to make well-informed decisions. PIAC’s research shows that cryptocurrencies in their present form also are of little relevance for the average consumer as functioning payment systems. Cryptocurrencies today suffer from a litany of woes resulting from their current design limitations, which affect their speed and potential volume of daily transactions. Cryptocurrencies’ level of acceptance as payment systems by both consumers and merchants consequently remains low.

CRTC Finally Investigating Telecom Sales Practices

Monday, August 20th, 2018
After over a year of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) asking for it and the intervention of the Federal Cabinet, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) finally is pursuing a public inquiry into reported inappropriate, aggressive and potentially misleading sales of telecommunications and related services. John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, noted that the CRTC released a “Notice of consultation - Report regarding the retail sales practices of Canada’s large telecommunications carriers” over the summer but that Canadians still have 2 weeks to comment and to ask to attend the hearing to give evidence: “The CRTC has asked Canadian consumers and current and former telecom company employees to relate their stories of sales practices of Canada’s major telecommunications and broadcasting companies. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change the buyer-beware culture of internet, phone and TV sales in Canada.”

Open Letter to Facebook: Don’t Launch “Messenger Kids” in Canada

Friday, June 22nd, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today published an open letter to Facebook urging the social media giant not to launch the "Facebook Messenger Kids" app in Canada. PIAC's letter points to the collection and retention of young users' actual communications by Facebook, without a clear rationale, something that PIAC claims may, along with other flaws, violate Canadian privacy laws. "This is not a toy," said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. "It is a sophisticated social networking tool with significantly intrusive data collection - and it's intended for kids - who cannot even consent to it themselves." The letter raises a number of concerns that Facebook Messenger Kids, as presently structured, may violate Canadian privacy laws.

Government Hears Consumers and Orders CRTC to Inquire into Communications Overselling

Thursday, June 14th, 2018
OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today welcomed the announcement of a public inquiry into aggressive and inappropriate sales tactics in the telecommunications industry. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), the Hon. Navdeep Bains, today requested the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to open a public inquiry into how major telecommunications providers sell services such as home internet, cable TV and IPTV, as well as home phone and wireless service to Canadians, from door-to-door sales, to call centres, to retail outlets and online. John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, said in reaction to the inquiry: “The government has heard the groans of Canadian consumers who too often end up with a bad deal for their Internet, TV and phone services," he noted. "We are pleased that the Minister has reversed the CRTC's previous refusal to inquire into these shocking sales practices and we hope that public trust in this industry can be restored as a result.”
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