Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT) of Concordia University joins the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) in its decision to boycott the CRTC’s “Internet Code” proceeding.

Release Date: November 29, 2018

MONTREAL, QC – On November 23, 2018 the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) announced it will not participate in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) proceeding on the elaboration of an Internet Code meant to address increasing complaints from Canadians about telecommunication providers. Our research organization, Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT), supports PIAC in this decision and will also boycott the CRTC’s Proceeding to establish a mandatory code for Internet services: CRTC 2018-422.

READ MEDIA FULL RELEASE HERE.

In July 2018, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission released a “Notice of consultation” in order to open a public, Canada-wide inquiry into the use of misleading or aggressive sales practices by large telecommunications service providers.

The consultation process consisted of three phases:

Phase 1 (July 16-August 30,2018) – Public submission of comments through an online form

Phase 2 (August 27-September 9, 2018) – Online survey

Phase 3 (October 22-26, 2018) – Public Hearing

ACT participated in each of the three phases and also submitted a post-hearing report on November 9, 2018.

Find ACT’s submissions and presentations in chronological order below.

Presentation (October 23, 2018): ACT Concordia – CRTC Intervention – October 23, 2018. This is the text from ACT’s presentation at the CRTC’s public hearing. Transcripts for other presentations can be found here.

Other Information:

Throughout August 2018, ACT compiled research findings in order to participate in the CRTC’s public consultation process around aggressive and misleading sales practices. Additionally, we actively encouraged older adults in our network to participate in the CRTC’s public inquiry.

ACT submitted a report to the CRTC on August 29, 2018.

Why did the CRTC open a public consultation on misleading sales practices?

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 issue below.

Why is ACT getting involved?

While these disturbing stories were hitting the headlines across Canada (during the early months of 2018), Montreal-based ACT researchers were in the midst of holding 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 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 opened a telephone line ( 1-800-835-1979) to invite people from across Canada to share their experiences with telecommunication companies and services.

We then wrote an opinion piece to bring 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. Since that date, ACT has published two more Op-Eds, one in HuffPost QC and another in the Toronto Star.

ACT in the Media

August 24, 2018 – Toronto Star, Seniors fall prey to telecom tactics

August 23, 2018 – HuffPost Quebec, Télécoms: les aînés désavantagés par les pratiques de vente trompeuses et agressives.

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, Concordia University

Noura Brek, Concordia University

Scott DeJong, Concordia University

Funding
ACT-SSHRC

Research Areas:

Telecommunication Technologies

ACT Partners
Concordia University