ACT gets involved in the CRTC’s public consultation process:

As of August 2018, we are actively encouraging Canadians – especially older adults – to participate in an important public consultation process recently opened by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

The CRTC is asking Canadians to share their negative experiences with Canadian phone, radio, and Internet companies. Specifically, the CRTC wants to know if Canadians have experienced misleading or aggressive sales practices.

Canadians can participate in the consultation process here.

ACT will participate in the public consultation by submitting a report to the CRTC before August 30

Why is a public consultation process taking place?

Earlier this year, former employees of Canadian telecommunications companies went on the record to talk about the misleading and predatory practices of the companies for which they had worked.

Months later, and as a result of the significant efforts of groups like the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), the Canadian Government finally mandated the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to open public consultation (read more: here).

You can find media coverage on this below.

Why is ACT getting involved?

While these disturbing stories were hitting the headlines across Canada, Montreal-based ACT researchers were in the midst of hosting focus groups with seniors to understand their responses to the rapid digitization of traditional media forms (television and radio).

While we were speaking to our interviewees, we noticed that many of them were saying similar things: they were concerned that they are being taken advantage of by telecom companies and they told us they often feel overwhelmed by too many options. We also listened to stories of blatant scams, convoluted language, and situations in which seniors were being sold services they would never use.

During this time, we were also building a connection with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), an Ottawa-based, non-profit organization that has been working for years to advocate for the rights of Canadian citizens. PIAC had been hearing similar stories about telecommunications companies’ mistreatment of consumers.

Together with PIAC, we decided to open a telephone line ( 1-800-835-1979) to invite people from across Canada to share their experiences with telecommunication companies and services.

We then decided to write an opinion piece, with the hope of bringing greater awareness to the issue. The Op-Ed was published in the Montreal Gazette on April 18, 2018. After the Op-Ed was published, we heard from seniors from British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec.

ACT in the Media

April 18, 2018 – Montreal Gazette, Opinion: Sales tactics for internet, phone, TV require scrutiny.

Researchers
Kim Sawchuk, Concordia University

Constance Lafontaine, Concordia University

Kendra Besanger, ACT Project, Concordia University

Funding
ACT-SSHRC

Research Areas:

Telecommunication Technologies

ACT Partners
Concordia University