Canada’s 2023 Budget to Tackle Internet Overage and Telecom Roaming Fees

canada 2023 budget

The federal government, in its 2023 budget released today, aims to tackle the issue of junk fees that Canadians face daily, specifically calling out internet overage charges and telecom roaming fees.

These unexpected, hidden, and additional fees accumulate rapidly, affecting the affordability of various services for Canadians, explains the government.

Ottawa plans to collaborate with regulatory agencies, provinces, and territories to reduce junk fees, which may include high telecom roaming charges, excessive baggage fees, event and concert fees, and unjustified shipping and freight fees.

To achieve this objective, the feds say it intends to strengthen existing tools or create new ones, including implementing new legislative amendments.

Recently, Telus and Bell increased their U.S. and international roaming fees for wireless customers, ahead of spring break vacations. Rogers told iPhone in Canada last week it has no plans to raise its international roaming fees.

Last week, Industry, Science and Technology Minister François-Philippe Champagne asked the CRTC to “look into” the recent trend of increasing international roaming rates.

This plan to target junk fees, according to the federal government, builds on other recent steps it has taken to protect Canadians.

These include amending the Competition Act to strengthen protections against hidden prices, updating the Bank Act and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act to safeguard Canadians’ rights and interests when interacting with their banks, and implementing a new policy direction for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to ensure that Canadians can affordably and easily modify, downgrade, or terminate their services, explains the 2023 Budget.

The budget makes no mention of “competition” for wireless and internet sectors, nor mentions anything about reducing cellphone bills, which the current government has long touted as one of its previous re-election goals.