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PIAC submission to the Manitoba Wireless Consultation calls for a principled basis for segregation

“The Public Interest Advocacy Centre is highly supportive of Manitoba’s review of consumer protection legislation in the province, its holistic approach and in particular its open engagement with all parties, and in particular citizens and consumers, in the development of policy,” the Ottawa-based consumer group wrote on Jan. 17. 2011.

The six-page submission to the Manitoba Wireless Consultation released today notes: “Quebec has for some years been reforming its consumer protection law, in planned substantive tranches, and recently has tackled the problemof consumer discontent with telecommunications services, in particular wireless contracts. It is a positive development for Manitoba to try to chart a similar course. That said, the consumer protection landscape in telecommunications is a minefield. Most of the concerns in trying to deal with consumer protection in relation to wireless contracts are jurisdictional. Quite simply, anything that is in pith and substance “telecommunications” is wholly federal.”

“It is PIAC’s belief that the Manitoba paper is discussing all consumer issues with wireless and thus has cast its net too wide. In our view, the prudent course is to mirror Quebec’s main substantive reforms, namely limits on early termination fees and to mandate disclosure.

“PIAC thus recommends a new consultation with a restated set of proposals that have a principled basis for their segregation into categories of provincial, federal and potentially shared jurisdiction.”

The comment was written by John Lawford, counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Download the submission to the Manitoba Wireless Consultation

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