Canadian non-profit organization and open-Internet proponent, OpenMedia, has publicly called out Bell, Telus, and Rogers in a series of tweets for misappropriating and abusing COVID-19 aid funds from the government.
Big Telecom gobbled up hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency COVID wage relief from our federal government — then turned around and paid it out to their investors. Sign the petition to make them pay it back NOW! https://t.co/cpyYDEMsj5 #PayItBack
— OpenMedia (@OpenMediaOrg) February 13, 2021
OpenMedia is outraged that incumbent telcos collectively raked in $240,000,000 CAD from the federal government‘s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, meant to help pay employee salaries through the pandemic and prevent terminations, while increasing dividend payouts to shareholders and also axing jobs.
OpenMedia says after a cash injection of close to a quarter-billion dollars meant to pay employee salaries, Telus went and increased its payouts to shareholders, Rogers terminated droves of employees despite the government having paid for their wages, and Bell did both as well.
Even after government aid and record-breaking profits last year, telecommunications providers are now suddenly firing hundreds of employees, talking about “streamlining” and corporate financial hardship.
To top it all off, the Big 3 are constantly increasing phone and internet rates, further padding its profits, says OpenMedia.
To that effect, OpenMedia has created a petition demanding Bell, Rogers, and Telus not only answer for their apparent misconduct but also return every penny of the emergency public funds received.