OpenMedia.ca lauds proposed measures to protect Ontario cell phone users
April 12, 2012 – Today, the Ontario government announced plans to adopt measures to protect cell phone users.
Grassroots group OpenMedia.ca is lauding these measures, noting that with only three large companies controlling 94 percent of the cell phone market in Canada, there simply isn’t enough choice to ensure Canadians are getting a fair deal.
The bill, which includes measures originally introduced by MPP David Orazietti, would make contract terms clearer and cap cancellation fees, among other things. The details of the proposed bill can be found here.
The CRTC, Canada’s telecommunications regulator, also recently launched a consultation around the possibility of minimum national standards that would protect wireless customers. Through a form on the OpenMedia.ca website, Canadians are asking the CRTC to build on the proposed Ontario rules, as well as the protections in Manitoba and Quebec, in developing those standards.
“Canadians have been speaking out about unfair practices for a long time,” says OpenMedia.ca Executive Director Steve Anderson. “Over 63,000 people have added their names to the petition at StopTheSqueeze.ca to protest the lack of choice and affordability in the Canadian cell phone market, and even more have spoken out against the Big Three cell phone companies’ price-gouging and restrictive contracts.”
The proposed rules in Ontario must first pass a vote in the provincial legislature. The Ontario government said the proposed legislation will take effect six months after being passed.
OpenMedia.ca is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group's primary goal is to increase informed participation in Internet governance.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
According to a statement issued by MPP David Orazietti, the new rules would contain the following measures:
- Allowing consumers to cancel their wireless phone agreements at any time, with caps on cancellation costs;
- Ensuring companies clearly disclose which services are included in the minimum cost of an agreement and which services would result in added costs;
- Requiring companies to use clear and plain language in their agreements so consumers have a better understanding of their contract;
- Requiring the express consent of the consumer before a service provider may renew, extend or amend a consumer’s contract for wireless service;
- Introducing all-inclusive price advertising for cell phone service plans;
- Prohibiting providers from charging consumers for services while devices under warranty are being repaired;
- Requiring suppliers to give notice to consumers who are about to incur additional charges for exceeding service limits;
- Strengthening consumer remedies and rights to triple recovery if forced to make a claim or sue the company.