The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Federal legislation will end fees for getting monthly bills on paper: minister

  • Print

OTTAWA - The big telecom companies may have agreed to exempt some customers from fees charged for paper invoices, but the federal government says it's going to end the whole practice.

Industry Minister James Moore says the government will introduce legislation to end what is called pay-to-pay, the practice of charging people extra for a monthly bill on paper.

"We do not believe that Canadians should pay more to receive a paper copy of their telephone or wireless bill," Moore said in a statement Friday.

The telecom firms met under the auspices of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission on Thursday and agreed to exempt some people, including seniors, the disabled, military vets and people without Internet access.

The CRTC said it wasn't enough and called for another round of discussions, but that seems to have been overtaken by Moore's announcement.

The minister says the practice of charging extra for paper invoices is unfair.

Moore says Canadians expect lower prices and better service from the telecoms.

"That is why our government committed to ending this unfair practice and putting the interests of Canadian consumers first," he said.

The Thursday meeting included telecom giants Bell (TSX:BCE), Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) and Telus (TSX:T).

Billing practices and fees are a patchwork in the industry.

Cogeco (TSX:CCA, TSX:CGO), which supplies cable, Internet and phone service in Ontario and Quebec, has never adopted the practice, although it does encourage customers to go paperless.

MTS Allstream (TSX:MBT), SaskTel and Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B), also don't charge extra for paper invoices.

Other companies, however, do charge for paper bills — up to $6 per month in some cases, plus tax — and both the fees and exemption policies vary widely.

Rogers, for instance, has been known to waive its $2 fee if customers object for various reasons.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has estimated consumers pay $734 million every year in fees to get bills on paper.

And that's the motivation for the telecom giants to keep the fees in place for as long as possible, said NDP critic Andrew Cash.

"It's a cash cow that just keeps on giving, until the government comes in and puts in some strong legislation that bans the practice altogether," he said.

"And that's what we've been calling for."

Cash said he would await the details contained in the legislation before saying whether he would support it, but called the announcement by Moore a positive step.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Rinelle Harper and family thank man who found her

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the throne speech renewed your confidence in the provincial government?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google