Ottawa Introduces Bill to Eliminate Telecom Paper Fees

by Istvan Fekete on October 27, 2014

The Conservative government has presented a bill that will end the telecommunication companies’ practice of charging customers for paper bills and also give federal authorities more power for national security reviews conducted under the Investment Canada Act.

The new bill addresses an issue that made headlines earlier this year: telecom companies (among others) charge customers an additional $2 for sending out a paper bill. Ottawa’s bill C-43 is apparently the Conservative government’s answer to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s promise to end “pay to pay” billing policies so that consumers will no longer have to pay extra to receive paper bills.

With bill C-43, the telecom regulator will now have the legislative grounds to enforce that promise, but it also gives the telecommunication regulators additional powers to impose financial penalties on companies breaking the Wireless Code.

Starting next spring, telecom companies violating the Wireless Code will face financial penalties of up to $10 million for the first offence, and up to $15 million thereafter.

Ahead of the public debate on paper bills, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre released a report emphasizing that Canadians are paying between $495 million and $734 million per year in fees for monthly paper bills and statements, and that includes telecom companies.

The C-43 bill also gives the government more powers when it comes to national security reviews: it allows for more flexibility to inform Canadians about the reasons for its decisions on proposed investment being examined.

Changes to the Investment Canada Act would also allow the government to extend the time frame for making decisions under the national security review process. Currently, the government has an initial 45 days to rule on proposed foreign investments over set financial thresholds, but can take another 30 days if deemed necessary, informs the Leader Post

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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