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.
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.
Friday, April 12th, 2019
Have you faced any issues with your mobile wireless service – cellphones – be it your bills being too high, data overage fees, high roaming charges, poor quality of service, or any other problems? The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is reviewing the mobile wireless services. With this public consultation, the CRTC will be specifically looking at: the state of competition in the retail wireless service market; regulation of wholesale mobile wireless service and the provision and competition implications of the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) access; and the future of mobile wireless services in Canada- 5G technology and other developments.
Here’s your chance to share your experiences and ideas with the CRTC; enabling them to better understand your wireless concerns, and accordingly, plan and take the required measures. PIAC encourages you all to participate, and share your views regarding the available choices within the retail wireless industry, issues you have faced with mobile wireless services, and any measures needed for improvement. It is important that you comment in detail, and be as specific as possible about your issues and ideas.
Monday, April 8th, 2019
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today expressed its support in a comment filed in answer to a consultation in the Canada Gazette for the Government's proposed new "Policy Direction" to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), intended to protect consumers, encourage affordability, increase competition and encourage innovation in telecommunications services.
"PIAC supports the Government's proposed New Policy Direction to the CRTC to re-focus Canadian telecommunications regulation on consumers, cost and choice," said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC. "We expect it will encourage concrete changes like more wireless service options, more Internet service options at higher speeds and all of it at prices Canadians can better afford."
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
The annual “Mid-Year Report” of the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) (2018-19) released today shows an increase of 44% in consumer complaints compared to the same period last year – showing that there are continuing problems with the communications sector, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today. Worryingly, more consumers are being denied clear rights in the Wireless Code and other consumer protections and are facing increasing willingness of companies to cut off their service.
“We see a hardening of attitudes towards consumer complaints in these numbers,” said John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel, referring to an increase of complaints about lack of notice of wireless disconnections and an increase in complaints about matters such as mid-month cancellations. “Consumers have clear rights that are being flouted – so the only remedy is for consumers to bring forward even more complaints until the companies change their attitude,” he added.
Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), today hailed yesterday’s announcement by the Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) of a proposed new “Policy Direction” to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that should lead to lower prices, affordable access and more consumer protection for Canadians buying Internet and wireless services.
“The Government has signaled with this Policy Direction that it wants the CRTC to change course and put consumer interests first,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “We applaud the Government’s acknowledgement that consumers need affordable access to the Internet, whether at home or on the go, and that consumer protection and increased competition are essential to achieve this goal” he added.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today released its Telecom Sales Practices Report to the Federal Cabinet, vindicating the public’s concerns that too many Canadians have suffered misleading, aggressive and unsuitable telecom sales practices at the hands of major telecommunications providers and firmly stating that such practices are unacceptable and must change.
“Consumers told us that they were being misled, oversold and treated aggressively when they interacted with their telecom and TV service providers, whether at the door, on the phone, in a store or online,” said John Lawford, Co-Counsel to the FCSC. “We are extremely pleased that the CRTC believed those consumers and mapped out how to help,” he added.
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.
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."
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.