ARCHIVED - Telecom Order CRTC 2003-375

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Telecom Order CRTC 2003-375

  Ottawa, 12 September 2003

Bell Canada

  Reference: Tariff Notice 6750

Enhanced employee discount plan

  The Commission denies the introduction of Enhanced Employee Discount Plan which would extend a 35% discount on a range of services and products offered by Bell Canada to the employees and pensioners of selected Bell Canada and BCE Inc. affiliates.


The Commission received an application by Bell Canada, dated 16 May 2003, proposing tariff revisions to General Tariff item 21, to introduce the Enhanced Employee Discount Plan (the Plan). The Plan would extend a 35% discount on a range of services and products offered by Bell Canada to its employees under subsection 27(6)(a) of the Telecommunications Act (the Act) to the employees and pensioners of selected Bell Canada and BCE Inc. affiliates. Bell Canada stated that its application was made pursuant to subsection 27(6)(b) of the Act.


By letter dated 18 June 2003, the Commission requested that Bell Canada respond to several questions. In its reply, Bell Canada submitted that the Plan was not contrary to subsection 27(2) of the Act because it did not discriminate, give a preference or subject a person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage.


Bell Canada submitted that the proposed Plan was an employment privilege, just like any other employment privilege provided by the company and its affiliates to their employees and pensioners. Bell Canada argued that there was nothing exceptional or unusual about the Plan that would support a finding that the Plan was unjustly discriminatory or gave an undue or unreasonable preference.


Bell Canada stated that employees and pensioners of the company and of participating affiliates could be distinguished from the general body of customers receiving the same services. Bell Canada also stated that the substantially different circumstances of employees and pensioners of Bell Canada are explicitly recognized in subsection 27(6)(a) of the Act, which permits the company to offer its employees and pensioners regulated services at reduced prices. Bell Canada argued that it was reasonable to extend the same treatment to employees and pensioners of affiliates that have common ownership and control.


The Commission received no comments with respect to the application.

Commission analysis and determination


Subsections 27(6)(a) and (b) of the Act state:

27(6) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), a Canadian carrier
          may provide telecommunications services at no charge or at a
          reduced rate


(a) to the carrier's directors, officers, employees or former
     employees; or


(b) with the approval of the Commission, to any charitable
     organization or disadvantaged person or other person.


The Commission notes that, under subsection 27(6)(b) of the Act, the Commission can approve the exception in subsection 27(6), to any charitable organization, or disadvantaged person or other person.


The Commission finds that, while the employees and pensioners of the selected Bell Canada and BCE Inc. affiliates are distinguishable from the general body of customers for the purposes of employment privileges, the reasons provided by Bell Canada do not justify extending, pursuant to subsection 27(6)(b), the exception in subsection 27(6) to the employees and pensioners of the selected affiliates.


The Commission is of the view that, in particular, the exception for "or other person" set out in subsection 27(6)(b) is intended to apply to a person that is similarly situated as "any charitable organization or disadvantaged person".


In light of the above, the Commission denies Bell Canada's application.
  Secretary General
  This document is available in alternative format upon request and may also be examined at the following Internet site:

Date Modified: 2003-09-12

Date modified: