Battle Won, War Rages On: CRTC Tells Telcos to Stop Charging for Paper Bills

The CRTC’s Vice-Chairpersons of Broadcasting and Telecommunications today hosted a meeting with nearly a dozen telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to discuss charges for paper bills.

A recently published report from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre estimates that Canadians are paying up to $734 million annually in fees for monthly bills and statements in paper formats to the banking and communications services industries.

At the CRTC’s meeting, the companies that charge paper bill fees have agreed to provide exemptions for customers who have no personal or home broadband connection, persons with disabilities who need a paper bill, seniors aged 65 and over and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces—all of which must come into effect by the end of the year.

“The discussion was frank and wide-ranging, and we appreciate that the participants were able to find common ground with respect to exemptions for some Canadians,” said Tom Pentefountas, Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting. “We are very disappointed, however, that they were unable to reach a broader consensus that would have taken into account the concerns of all Canadians.”

The CRTC agrees, and adds that while these moves are a step in the right direction, “it does not go far enough to meet the concerns of all Canadians.” The meeting concluded with a recommendation that the CRTC reinitiate a public process to seek the views of Canadians.

“We have recommended to our colleagues that the CRTC seek the views of Canadians to verify whether this approach would enable them to make informed choices regarding how they are billed for their communication services,” said Peter Menzies, Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications.