Canada Eliminates Telecom Paper Billing Fees, Consumer Groups Applaud Move

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today has applauded the Federal Government’s move to eliminate paper billing fees for telecommunications and broadcasting services consumers, once provisions come into force after the passing of Bill C-43, the Budget Implementation Act.

The PIAC previously estimated Canadians had been paying between $495 to $734 million annually in paper billing fees for their monthly bills and statements. John Lawford, the Executive Director and General Counsel for PIAC said in a statement “The government listened to consumers who want a monthly bill in the format of their choice without penalty.”

In late August the CRTC met with telecoms over paper billing fees and concessions were made for a small group of consumers such as seniors or those in the Armed Forces, for example. Despite these exemptions, the CRTC stated it was “very disappointed” at the time a broader consensus was not reached. Looks like that has changed today with the passing of Bill C-43.

According to the Leader Post, the new legislation also provides the CRTC with more authority to fine companies that break rules related to the Wireless Code, with possible penalties ranging up to $10 million for the first offence and $15 million thereafter.

The next issue of paper billing fees still remains as Canadian banking institutions still charge for paper copies of statements each month, which the PIAC aims to pursue on behalf of Canadian consumers.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • mrideas

    Prepare for plan fees to go up by the amount of the paper billing fee. Likely twice that amount. Just because they can.

  • Z S

    And suddenly everyone’s basic fees went up by $2 or more. Making all contracts be a max of 2 years was supposed to help us and they all just jacked up prices by $15-20/month.

    The CRTC really needs to force the big 3 to divulge what makes up their basic charges, compare their revenue to their needs, and put a cap on how much of it is profit.

  • Tobi

    Like everyone has mentioned, plan prices will just compensate and increase a few dollars. the CRTC needs cap plan pricing, and set standard pricing.

  • Al

    Yup… Like I said back when this outcry from PIAC first started… The fee will just get tacked onto the plans. And, in fact, we will be paying $2 for EVERY service if, for example, we are with Bell and have mobile, and satellite, and phone, and Internet… Now we’ll be paying $8 extra!

    It pisses me off to no end that these short-sighted advocacy groups just love to hear themselves complain over actually using their brains to rationalize the effects of if they get what they wish for. Stupid, stupid people.

  • Salinger

    This was a bogus fee, just like the “SAF”. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that people are actually defending a multi-billion dollar corporation’s practice of charging customers for billing them for services. Imagine a clothing store charging you a loonie to give you a receipt at the end of your transaction?!

    Providing a written invoice is part of the cost of doing business. Rather than charging customers to receive the bill they are fully entitled to receive, why didn’t they choose to give a $2 credit to anyone signing up for e-billing?

    People’s attitude with the telecoms though seems to be “let’s not poke the bear”. We have to get out of this mindset that we shouldn’t do what’s right because they’re just going to find another way to screw us over; they were going to do that anyway.