Telecom and Broadcasting Commission Letter Addressed to John Lawford (Public Interest Advocacy Centre)

Ottawa, 7 November 2018

Our reference: 1011-NOC2018-0246

BY E-MAIL

Mr. John Lawford
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
jlawford@piac.ca

Subject: Report regarding the retail sales practices of Canada’s large telecommunications carriers, Telecom and Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2018-246– Request for disclosure relating to an undertaking filed by Bell Canada

Dear Mr. Lawford:

On 2 November 2018, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now Canada, National Pensioners Federation and CARP, collectively the Fair Communications Sales Coalition (FCSC) filed a request for disclosure relating to an undertaking filed by Bell Canada (Bell).

FCSC requested that Bell disclose the percentage of pay attributable to base salary for sales agents in each sales method or channel, noting that Bell revealed only that “the majority of their compensation results generally from their base salary”. FCSC argued that such disclosure would help interveners identify which sales channels are potentially a greater risk for consumers, given the levels of incentives to sales agents, and whether the level of pay and the incentive structure may encourage inappropriate, misleading or aggressive sales generally at Bell.

In its response dated 5 November 2018, Bell submitted that this information is competitively sensitive and that its release would provide existing or potential competitors with invaluable competitively sensitive information that would not otherwise be available to them. In addition, Bell submitted that interveners do not require data on specific compensation rates in order to participate meaningfully in this proceeding. Bell noted that this information directly mirrors their response to the Commission’s request for information Bell et al.(CRTC)16Aug18-28, that FCSC made a similar request regarding this information, and that the Commission upheld the confidentiality of this information.

Requests for disclosure of information designated as confidential are addressed in light of sections 38 and 39 of the Telecommunications Act(the Act) and sections 30 and following of the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules of Procedure).In evaluating a request, an assessment is made as to whether the information falls into a category of information that can be designated confidential pursuant to section 39 of the Act. An assessment is then made as to whether there is any specific direct harm likely to result from the disclosure of the information in question and whether any such harm outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The factors to be considered are set out in Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961, 23 December 2010, as amended by Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-961-1, 26 October 2012.

The Commission has reviewed the request filed by FCSC, as well as Bell’s response. The Commission determines that Bell has established that the likelihood of specific and direct harm outweighs the public interest in the disclosure of the designated information. The Commission therefore denies FCSC’s request.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Claude Doucet
Secretary General

cc: Distribution list
Bell Canada
Bragg Communications Incorporated, carrying on business as Eastlink
Cogeco Connexion Inc.
Northwestel Inc.
Rogers Communications Canada Inc.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications
Shaw Communications Inc.
TBayTel
TekSavvy Solutions Inc.
TELUS Communications Inc.
Videotron Ltd.
Xplornet Communications Inc.
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

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