Statement Article from  Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Archived - Statement from Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC, on monetary penalties and paper bill fees

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Bill C-43, the Economic Action Plan Act, No. 2, recently received Royal Assent. Some of the amendments adopted by Parliament grant new tools and responsibilities to the CRTC.

In particular, the CRTC can now issue monetary penalties to any company or person that violates the Telecommunications Act as well as related CRTC decisions or regulations. Monetary penalties are an addition to our toolkit. They will promote compliance with telecommunications laws and regulations. This will ensure Canadians have access to a world-class communication system—one in which there is sustainable competition and a choice of innovative content and services.

Monetary penalties also give the CRTC greater flexibility to tailor its enforcement approach to each situation and to the facts before it. In some cases, a monetary penalty might be the right approach. We will be providing further guidance in the coming weeks on how and when the CRTC intends to use this new power.

Changes to the Telecommunications Act and Broadcasting Act, under Bill C-43, have also prohibited providers from charging customers a fee to receive paper bills for wireless, Internet, telephone and television services. This includes undertakings that the CRTC has exempted from holding a broadcasting licence.

We are, however, conscious that some service providers may need to update their billing systems to automatically remove these charges. In the meantime, the Commission will consider operators to be in compliance if they manually make adjustments to customer bills in the earliest available billing cycle, through rebates or otherwise, thus reversing charges for paper bills. We encourage providers to work proactively with their customers to ensure the most efficient transition to implement this new legislative requirement.

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