Ottawa Will Introduce Legislation to Eliminate Paper-Billing Practice in Telecom Sector

by Istvan Fekete on September 2, 2014

Following the meeting between the regulator, the Canadian Radio-television Commission (CRTC), and telecom companies, which has been described as “very disappointing”, Industry Minister James Moore expressed the government’s position regarding the practice of charging for paper bills.

According to Moore, the government is ready to introduce new legislation that aims to end the industry practice. He said: “Today, the Harper Government is announcing that it will introduce legislation to end pay-to-pay billing practices in the telecommunications sector. Canadian consumers have been clear that they expect lower prices and better services from telecommunications providers. That is why our government committed to ending this unfair practice and putting the interests of Canadian consumers first.

“More and more Canadians are finding a new charge appearing on their monthly bills, including their wireless bill. This fee is charged to those who receive their bill in the mail. Increasingly, many Canadians are being charged this new fee by companies from whom they have been receiving service for decades. We do not believe that Canadians should pay more to receive a paper copy of their telephone or wireless bill.”

Actually, both the PIAC (Public Interest Advocacy Centre) and the CAC (Consumers’ Association of Canada) reacted to the CRTC’s announcement that it had failed last week to convince Canadian telcos and broadcast distributors to eliminate fees for paper bills. As a result, they say, legislation is needed from the federal government to end this practice.

“Consumers are clearly opposed to paying for paper bills and the federal government has clearly committed to ‘eliminating’ these charges,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC, “it is telling that the telecommunications and broadcasting industries could not be persuaded, even by the CRTC, to respond to the wants and needs of their customers when this much money was at stake.”

The PIAC released a report earlier last week, a day before the CRTC’s private, closed-door meeting with the telcos. The report estimated that Canadians pay roughly $500 million per year for receiving paper bills.

Industry Minister James Moore’s statement came before the public interest advocacy group’s press release. In the end, it looks like Canadians won’t have to pay for receiving their phone/Internet/cable TV bill on paper. Well, after the legislation passes.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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