Government orders the CRTC to investigate high-pressure telecom sales practices

News release

Canadians consumers must be treated fairly

June 14, 2018, Ottawa ON

Canadians have expressed serious concerns about telecommunication companies using misleading and/or aggressive sales tactics. The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure that Canadian consumers are treated fairly.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today announced that the Government directed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to investigate and report on the sales practices used by Canada’s largest telecommunication companies. The Minister wants a public inquiry, where Canadians have an opportunity to be heard and these issues are carefully considered. The report resulting from the inquiry must include potential solutions to ensure Canadian consumers are adequately protected and treated fairly.

The CRTC is responsible for regulating telecommunications services and implementing consumer measures such as the Wireless Code of Conduct. The CRTC has the authority to conduct public inquiries. In light of the Competition Bureau’s expertise, Minister Bains also wrote a letter to the Interim Commissioner of Competition requesting that the Competition Bureau assist the CRTC as needed in its inquiry.


Like many Canadians, we are concerned by allegations of clearly inappropriate sales practices by telecom carriers. We have listened to Canadians about this issue, and we are taking action. I have directed the CRTC to thoroughly investigate this matter. No Canadian should ever be misled or treated unfairly by a telecom corporation, especially those who are most vulnerable.
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • The CRTC will be required to complete its inquiry and report by February 28, 2019.

  • Reportedly, more than 900 Canadians, including over 200 current and former employees of major telecom carriers, contacted the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with accounts corroborating or expanding on the CBC’s initial reports about illegitimate telecom sales practices.

  • In its April 2018 mid-year report, the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services found that complaints against telecommunications providers had increased by 73 percent compared to the previous year.

  • According to the latest CRTC Communications Monitoring Report, about 10 million communications service subscriptions were bundled with at least one other service with the same company.

  • The communications sector is highly concentrated, with the top five ownership groups accounting for 83 percent of revenues.

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Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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