OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today commended the Government of Canada for following through on its commitment to eliminate fees for paper bills. Bill C-43, the Budget Implementation Act, eliminates the application of paper bill fees for consumers of telecommunication and broadcasting services once these provisions come into force. PIAC recommended the elimination of fees for paper billing in a recent report, entitled, How to Pay the Piper: A Primer on Additional Charges to Consumers in Canada for Paper Billing.
PIAC’s report examined the conduct of service providers in Canada who had begun to charge consumers for a paper bill or statement and the impact of these practices on consumers. PIAC estimates that Canadians are paying between $495 and $734 million annually in fees for monthly bills and statements in paper. “The government listened to consumers who want a monthly bill in the format of their choice without penalty,” noted John Lawford, the Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC.
One outstanding issue remains: the application of fees by Canadian banking institutions to obtain a paper statement each month. On May 27, 2014, the Minister of Finance announced a number of Canadian banks entered into a voluntary agreement to expand their low-cost and no-cost accounts, including free mailed monthly statements, however this fee waiver only applies to those eligible for the low- or no-cost accounts. “We contend consumers do not distinguish between a fee paid for a monthly paper bill and fee paid for a monthly paper statement,” suggested Jonathan Bishop, PIAC’s Research Analyst and author of the report. Bishop suggested that, “It’s time for the Canadian banks to completely stamp out the application of fees for mailed paper statements.”
For more information please contact:
Jonathan Bishop
Research & Parliamentary Analyst
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002×23
John Lawford
Executive Director & General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
(613) 562-4002×25
Mobile (613)447-8125