CRTC Considers Fining Iristel and Telus Up To $1.25 Million CAD For Telecom Act Violations

The CRTC is considering fines for both Iristel and Telus up to $1.25 million each for violating the Telecommunications Act.

After years of dispute, the CRTC is weighing potential fines for both Iristel and Telus after the two companies engaged in ‘self-serving’ actions related to the ilegal routing and termination of phone calls to a northern Canadian area code.

“The Commission is of the preliminary view that it would be appropriate to impose AMPs on both Iristel and TCI, and that a penalty in the range of $750,000 to $1,250,000 may be appropriate for each company,” reads the CRTC notice posted last week.

In August 2018, Ice Wireless parent company Iristel complained to the Canadian telecommunications watchdog that Telus was actively blocking calls from its customers to Ice Wireless customers for a number of months.

Telus denied, eventually stating in a September 2018 submission to the CRTC that it was trying to “control the flow of traffic to Iristel,” accusing it of engaging in “traffic stimulation” — a practice in which Iristel numbers in Northern Canada were assigned to services located elsewhere, thus boosting its profits through terms of a previous agreement.

The CRTC has now concluded Iristel gave itself an “undue advantage” through the practice, thus violating the Telecommunications Act.

“Both Iristel and TCI [Telus Communications Inc.] acted in a way that was self-serving,” the Canadian watchdog said. “Such behaviour, which undermines the establishment of an orderly telecommunications system in Canada and the efficiency and competitiveness of that system, cannot be tolerated.”

The commission is now inviting the public to share their thoughts on whether or not the fines on Iristel and Telus are just, and, if so, what dollar amount is warranted.