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Ottawa, 23 July 2014
File No.: 8661-P8-201314012 and 8480-B54-X
Mr. John Lawford
Counsel for Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Consumers’ Association of Canada
Re: Part 1 Application by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Consumers' Association of Canada regarding certain Telecommunications Service Provider billing practices (Fees for Paper Bills)
Dear Mr. Lawford:
This letter is with respect to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Consumers' Association of Canada (PIAC/CAC) Part 1 application requesting that the CRTC issue certain directives to Telecommunications Service Providers (TSPs) regarding the practice of charging fees for the provision of paper bills.
Prior to receiving PIAC/CAC’s application, on July 3, 2013, CRTC staff launched a fact-finding exercise and gathered information from a variety of communications companies. The purpose of this exercise was to obtain a better understanding of the extent of this practice across the Canadian communications sector. The results of the fact-finding exercise have been published today. As you will see, the results demonstrate that there is a wide variation in practices among service providers.
The CRTC has decided to pursue issues relating to fees charged to Canadian consumers for paper bills in an alternative and comprehensive manner, involving both telecommunications service providers and broadcasting distribution undertakings.
As the CRTC has publically announced that it is pursuing issues related to fees for paper bills charged by TSPs, among others, in an alternative fashion (a copy of the news release is attached), it is closing the PIAC/CAC application related to this matter. By closing the application, the CRTC is not ruling on its merits. It should be noted that the alternative approach to these issues does not preclude the CRTC from taking future regulatory action in this regard. Further, closure of the application does not impact the PIAC/CAC’s application for costs.
c.c.: Bell Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership: email@example.com
MTS Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saskatchewan Telecommunications: Document.email@example.com
TELUS Communications Company: firstname.lastname@example.org
Data & Audio Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc. (Mobilicity): email@example.com
Globalive Wireless Management Corp./Yak Communications (Canada) Corp:
Public Mobile Inc.: Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Access Communications Co-operative Limited: email@example.com
Bragg Communications Incorporated: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cogeco Cable GP Inc.: email@example.com
Novus Entertainment Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaw Telecom Inc.: Regulatory@sjrb.ca
Rogers Communications Partnership: email@example.com
Vidéotron G.P.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooke Telecom Co-operative Limited: email@example.com
Bruce Telecom: firstname.lastname@example.org
CityWest Telephone Corporation: email@example.com
Cochrane Telecom Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
CoopTel coop de telecommunication: email@example.com
Execulink Telecom Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gosfield North Communications Co-operative Limited: email@example.com
Hay Communications Co-operative Limited: firstname.lastname@example.org
Huron Telecommunications Co-Operative Limited: email@example.com
La Cie de Téléphone de Courcelles Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
La Compagnie de Téléphone de Lambton Inc.: email@example.com
La Compagnie de téléphone de St-Victor firstname.lastname@example.org
La Compagnie de téléphone Upton Inc.: email@example.com
Lansdowne Rural Telephone Company Ltd.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mornington Communications Co-operative Limited: email@example.com
Nexicom Telecommunications Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org;
North Frontenac Telephone Corporation Ltd.: email@example.com
NRTC Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org
O.N.Tel Inc. (Ontera): email@example.com
Quadro Communications Co-operative Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roxborough Telephone Company Limited: email@example.com
Sogetel Inc./Téléphone Milot Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Téléphone de St-Éphrem inc.: email@example.com
Téléphone Guèvremont Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
WTC Communications: Accounting@wtccommunications.ca
Tuckersmith Communications Co-operative Limited: email@example.com
Wightman Telecom Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
All Communications Network of Canada Co.: email@example.com
AOL Canada Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Convergia Networks Inc.: email@example.com
Distributel Communications Limited: firstname.lastname@example.org
DERYtelecom Inc.: email@example.com
Fibernetics Corporation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gold Line Telemanagement Inc.: email@example.com
International Comwave Telecommunications: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Iristel Technologies Inc: email@example.com
Maskatel Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.: email@example.com
Sears Connect Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
SSi Micro Ltd.: email@example.com
TekSavvy Solutions Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Télécommunications Xittel Inc.: email@example.com
Vancouver Telephone Company Limited: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vonage Canada Corp: email@example.com
Westman Media Cooperative Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
Xplornet Communications Inc.: email@example.com
Diversity Canada Foundation:firstname.lastname@example.org
Vaxination Informatique: email@example.com
Canadian Network Operators Consortium Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association: email@example.com
CRTC challenges communications industry to address paper bill fees
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that it will host a meeting with telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to discuss the practice of charging additional fees to customers who wish to receive paper bills. The CRTC also released the results of its fact-finding exercise on these practices.
Based on information obtained by the CRTC, there is a wide variation in how companies approach paper bill fees. As of November 2013, 36 companies indicated that they do not charge any fees. However, 27 companies acknowledged that their fees range from $0.99 to $5.95 per month for paper bills. Certain companies provide exemptions to these fees, such as for customers who do not have Internet access, but there is no consistent practice across the industry.
The CRTC is concerned that the approach taken by the industry in the transition from paper to electronic bills may not have taken into account the specific circumstances of some Canadians. The CRTC is inviting representatives from communications companies to a meeting that will be held on August 28, 2014, at its central office.
The meeting will be lead by the CRTC’s Vice-Chairs of Broadcasting and Telecommunications. Participants will be expected to come up with a clear and predictable approach to paper bill fees, if any, as well as exemptions for any such fees. This will ensure that Canadians are able to make informed decisions.
- The CRTC has challenged the communications industry to come up with a clear and predictable approach that addresses consumer issues related to paper bill fees.
- The CRTC will be hosting a meeting with telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to facilitate discussion on the practices related to paper bill fees.
- The CRTC has released the results of its fact-finding exercise on paper bill fees.
“We are concerned that not all Canadians have a reasonable choice when it comes to paper bill fees for communications services. We are challenging telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to come up with a comprehensive approach that will enable Canadians to make informed decisions. We are prepared to explore regulatory options if the industry fails to find an appropriate approach.”
– Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Results of the fact-finding exercise on fees for paper bills
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