Results of the fact-finding exercise on fees for paper bills

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On 3 July 2013, in response to complaints from consumers, Commission staff initiated a fact-finding exercise concerning the practice of charging consumers an additional fee for a paper copy of their bill. On that date, a letter was sent to all large and small incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs), large broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs), and large wireless service providers, as well as a subset of competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs)/resellers, seeking information on the extent of the practice of charging for paper bills.Footnote 1 The purpose of the fact-finding exercise was to obtain information that would provide the Commission with a better understanding of the extent of this practice across the Canadian communications sector. Several submissions were filed with the Commission later in July 2013, with updates to the submissions being provided in November 2013.

Summary - What are the key findings?

The following are the highlights of this fact-finding exercise:

  1. Some, but not all, Canadian communications companies are charging consumers for paper bills for one or more of the services that they offer.
  2. Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), and TELUS Communications Company (TCC), three of the largest Canadian communications companies, all charge a fee for paper bills for one or more services. In contrast, Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), MTS Inc. (MTS), and Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) do not charge a fee for paper bills.
  3. Some companies only offer electronic bills, and thus do not charge paper bill fees.
  4. Most companies that charge paper bill fees, including Bell Canada, RCI, and TCC, charge $2 per bill per month, which amounts to $24 annually.
  5. However, paper bill fees vary. Some companies charge $1 per bill, whereas others charge $4 or more per bill.
  6. Approximately half of the respondents that charge for paper bills will voluntarily waive the fee for customers with disabilities.
  7. A small number of respondents will waive the fee for customers without residential Internet service, seniors, or other customers on a discretionary basis. These exemptions vary widely by company.
  8. Instead of charging for paper bills, some companies offer or have offered incentives for customers to switch to e-billing.

1. Context

The transition to e-billing is part of a bigger trend of consumers and businesses increasingly using the Internet for commercial transactions. Further, the Government of Canada is encouraging Canadians to use online government services and is using e-government (and direct deposit) to reduce costs. At the same time, not all Canadians are adopting e-commerce and e-government at the same pace.

1.1 The Government of Canada and the digital economy

1.2 Home mail delivery

1.3 Charges for paper bills in other jurisdictions and industries

Other industries

Other countries

1.4 Consumer adoption of e-commerce and e-billing

Internet penetration and use

E-commerce and Canadians

2. Findings

2.1 Canadian communications companies that do not currently charge for paper bills

The following companies that responded to the fact-finding exercise indicated that they do not charge for paper bills:

Note: On 25 October 2013, TekSavvy stopped charging paper bill fees.

2.2 Canadian communications companies that charge for paper bills

20 of the respondents applied a charge for all or some services provided as indicated in the table below (note that some of the respondents provided information for multiple affiliates).

Companies that charge for paper bills Home Phone Wireless Internet BDU

Bell affiliates: Bell Canada, Bell Aliant operating in Ontario and Quebec








Distributel Communications Limited (Distributel) (1 affiliate),
Fibernetics Corporation (Fibernetics)





Videotron G.P. (Videotron) (only for detailed wireless bill),
some Bell Canada affiliates (Bell Mobility/Solo/Virgin, Télébec, Limited Partnership (Télébec), NorthernTel, Limited Partnership (NorthernTel))





Maskatel Inc.,
Téléphone Guèvremont Inc. (Guèvremont) (only in CLEC operating territory)




CoopTel (only in CLEC operating territory)




Convergia Networks Inc. (Convergia);
Globalive Wireless Management Corp. (Globalive) (doing business as OneConnect Services Inc. (One Connect),
WIND Mobile, and Yak Communications (Canada) Corp. (Yak));
Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc. (Primus)



Bruce Telecom,
Execulink Telecom Inc. (Execulink),
Huron Telecommunications Co-operative Limited (HuronTel),
Nexicom Telecommunications Inc. (Nexicom Telecom),
NRTC Communications (NRTC),
WTC Communications (WTC)

(the details specifying to which services these companies apply the fee were submitted in confidence and are omitted from the report)





See the footnote for notes on this table.Footnote 14

2.3 What exemptions are available?

Company Types of customers exempted from paper bill fees
Customers with disabilities / customers who require the bill in an alternative format Customers without Internet service or email Other circumstances (may include grandfathered customers, senior citizens, picking up the bill in person)

Bell Canada and affiliates

(6 companies)




(grandfathered, stand-alone PES)



(includes seniors)



(includes seniors)





(pick up in person)





Globalive affiliates

(3 companies)




(Yak includes seniors)







Three communications companies submitted these details in confidence




2.4 Incentives offered to encourage customers to switch to e-billing

Some companies provide (or have provided) incentives, either ongoing or one-time, to encourage customers to switch to e-billing, as listed in the table below.

Company Incentives used
  • A discount
  • AIR MILES; occasional one-time credits
  • A discount
  • Has used contests in the past; no current incentives
  • Entry into draw for a prize
  • A discount
  • Have provided one-time account credits or one-time pay-per-view credits
  • Certain Shaw customers are eligible for a monthly $4.00 discount if they opt for pre-authorized payment and e-billing

2.5 What is the experience for most Canadian customers?

2.6 Details of the practices of communications service providers charging for paper bills

The following information is as of 28 November 2013.

Large ILECs and BDUs
Company Fee amount Residential Services Exemptions Notes
Wireline/VoIP (Local) Wireless Internet BDU (TV) Other Disabilities No Internet Senior Other
Bell Canada $2 X X X X X
see notes
  • Other exemptions
    • Customers who subscribe to stand-alone residential PES, on an unbundled basis, with no other services (i.e. TV or Internet)
    • Bell Canada residential wireline customers from before 11 December 2011 who have not added Bell Internet or Bell TV after that date
    • Bell Canada residential wireline customers who have switched from residential PES to Bell Canada’s Home Phone service after 11 December 2011 are not grandfathered
Bell Canada - Bell Aliant in Ontario and Quebec $2 X X X X X
see notes
  • See notes for Bell Canada
Bell Canada - Bell Mobility/Solo/Virgin $2 X X
  • The fee also applies to Bell Mobility’s small business customers and Bell Mobility Employee Purchase Plan customers
Bell Canada- Bell TV $2 X X


Bell Canada - NorthernTel $2 X X


Bell Canada - Télébec $2 X X


RCI $2 X X X X X X X X
see notes
  • RCI uses a different billing system for business customers; business customers are not subject to the fee
  • The paper bill fee for wireless also applies to the Fido brand
  • Other exemptions
    • “exceptional circumstances”
TCC $2 see notes X X see notes X X X
  • TCC has separate billing procedures for wireline and wireless customers
  • TCC only charges Optik TV or wireline phone service customers the fee if they have also subscribed to TCC’s Internet Service
  • The paper bill fee for wireless applies to all of TCC’s brands (TELUS, Koodo, PC Mobile)
Eastlink $2 X X X
see notes
  • Offers occasional incentives for wireless customers to switch to e-billing (e.g. AIRMILES or one-time credits)
  • As Eastlink has recently launched its wireless service, it has no formal process to address special circumstances but is looking at cases where it may need to waive the fee as part of a larger initiative to consider the special needs of certain customers
Videotron $3 X
see notes
  • Videotron only charges wireless customers who request a detailed paper bill which lists all phone calls made or received, all texts sent or received, and all data downloads and uploads
  • No charge is applied for a standard bill


Small ILECs (also operate as a CLEC)
Company Fee amount Residential Services Exemptions Notes
Wireline/VoIP (Local) Wireless Internet BDU (TV) Other Disabilities No Internet Senior Other
Bruce Telecom
  • Details submitted in confidence
CoopTel $1 X
see notes
  • Only charges customers where Cooptel operates as a CLEC
  • Details submitted in confidence
Guèvremont $3 see notes X X
  • Customers subscribing to bundles that include telephone service with either Internet or TV are subject to the fee
  • Details submitted in confidence
Maskatel $3 see notes X X
  • Service bundles that include telephone with either television or Internet services are subject to the fee
Nexicom Telecom
  • Details submitted in confidence
  • Details submitted in confidence
TBayTel $2 X X
  • The fee applies to residential mobility customers only
  • Details submitted in confidence


CLECs/Internet service providers
Company Fee amount Residential Services Exemptions Notes
Wireline/VoIP (Local) Wireless Internet BDU (TV) Other Disabilities No Internet Senior Other
Convergia $1.99 X X
Distributel $2 X
see notes
  • Only one affiliate of Distributel provides a paper billing option; all other affiliates offer only e-billing
  • Can avoid the fee by picking up the bill in person
Fibernetics $2 X
see notes
  • Fibernetics issues only e-bills for all services except for one exception:
    • Some customers acquired in Eastern Canada from Canada receive a paper bill
Globalive - OneConnect $5.95 X n/a X
see notes
see notes
  • Also applies the fee to bills for long distance and data services
  • Will waive the fee as a goodwill gesture in certain cases
Globalive - WIND Mobile $4 X n/a X
Globalive - Yak $1.95 X X n/a X
see notes
see notes
  • Also applies the fee to bills for long distance services
  • Will waive the fee as a goodwill gesture in certain cases
Primus $0.99 X X X n/a X
see notes
see notes
  • Applies a fee to all residential and business services including long distance and post-paid calling cards
  • Business customers are charged $2 for a summary paper bill or $2.37 for detailed paper billing
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services under the brand of Unlimitel do not provide paper billing and require e-billing
  • A subset of grandfathered customers receive a $0.50 credit for selecting e-billing
  • Other exemptions
    • Discretionary for customers requesting accommodation due to a special requirement


Footnote 1

The questions asked as part of the fact-finding exercise are available on the Commission's website at the following link: All of the submissions made by the companies are available on the Commission's website at the following link:

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Footnote 4 and

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Footnote 7

Referred to as a multichannel video service provider in the U.S.

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Footnote 14

Some of the Bell Canada affiliates do not apply the charge or apply the charge to a subset of services. Bell Aliant does not apply the charge in Atlantic Canada. DMTS, KMTS, and Northwestel do not charge for paper bills at all. Télébec and NorthernTel apply the charge to wireless and Internet services only. TCC also applies the fee to bundles including Internet services with either telephone and/or television service. In general, Distributel affiliates do not provide paper bills.

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Footnote 15

The rates that companies may charge consumers for local exchange telephone services are regulated by the Commission in those markets where the Commission has determined that there is not enough competition for market forces to protect consumers.

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Footnote 16

Stand-alone PES is primary exchange service (i.e. local telephone service) which is not bundled with other services, such as wireless or Internet.

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Footnote 17

Based on table 5.5.5, Wireless subscriber market share, by province, 2012 from the CRTC 2013 Communications Monitoring Report

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Footnote 18

Post-paid wireless service is wireless service for which the customer is billed after using the services, typically on a monthly basis, based on the terms of a contract and/or on their usage. For pre-paid wireless service, the customer purchases credits in advance of using the service and therefore does not receive a monthly bill.

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