Telecom

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Telecommunications:

  • is an electronic, two-way communication, usually at a distance
  • includes wireless (cellphones, tablets) and wireline telephone and internet services
  • is different from broadcasting, which simply sends the message one way
  • has been a special policy and legal area and has been carefully regulated in Canada since 1905
  • has its own law, the Telecommunications Act.

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Government’s proposed “Policy Direction” to CRTC means lower prices, more protection for consumers in Internet, Wireless

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.

CRTC Report on Telecom Sales Practices Vindicates Consumer Concerns

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.

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."

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.”

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.”

Government Internet Affordability Program Helps Some, Ignores Others

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today reacted to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains' [announcement of an agreement with industry to provide affordable Internet access for low-income families] with some hope and much concern. "Today's announcement of a voluntary $10 Internet service from major Internet companies for low-income families is helpful for those Canadians and welcome," noted John Lawford, PIAC's Executive Director and General Counsel. "However, there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians without children who desperately need affordable broadband internet who are left out of this program for no clear reason, other than cost," he added.

Huge increase in consumer complaints requires CRTC to investigate

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
Consumer complaints to the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) increased by a whopping 73% compared to the same period last year – an increase that must be investigated and fixed, said the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today. “Canadian consumers are sending a clear message that they are being poorly treated by, and are suffering from misleading sales practices of, Internet, wireless, home phone and subscription TV services,” said John Lawford, PIAC Executive Director and General Counsel. “Such a dramatic increase must be investigated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission,” he added.

CRTC throws consumers to telco sales dogs

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today reacted negatively to a letter from the Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rejecting PIAC’s call for the CRTC to pursue a public inquiry into reported inappropriate, aggressive and potentially misleading sales of communications services. John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel at PIAC, said in reaction to the letter: “The CRTC refusal to inquire into the shocking sales practices of Canada’s major telecommunications and broadcasting companies says to consumers ‘You’re on your own.’”
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