Letter from the Minister of ISED to the Interim Commissioner of Competition

Backgrounder

On June 14, 2018, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, sent a letter to Mr. Matthew Boswell, Interim Commissioner of Competition, regarding the Government's direction to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to investigate and report on high-pressure telecom sales practices. In the letter, the Minister requests that the Interim Commissioner assist the CRTC as needed in its inquiry.

Below is the full text of the letter:

Mr. Matthew Boswell
Interim Commissioner of Competition
Competition Bureau
50 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0C9

Dear Mr. Boswell:

I am writing regarding reports of high-pressure or misleading sales tactics in the retail telecommunications marketplace.

In recent months, there has been a series of such reports alleging certain practices by sales agents of telecommunications carriers such as aggressive upselling or failing to provide necessary information for Canadians to make informed decisions. There are reports that these practices exploit the unequal level of information possessed by sales agents relative to consumers and that vulnerable Canadians are more likely to be harmed. As such, Canadians have expressed substantial concern regarding these alleged practices, and whether there is enough protection for consumers in the retail telecommunications marketplace.

The Government believes that Canadians deserve a competitive marketplace where consumers are treated fairly. Pursuant to section 14 of the Telecommunications Act, and on my recommendation, the Governor in Council has required that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) make a report on the retail sales practices of Canada's large telecommunications carriers and their sales agents, the risks to consumers, and potential solutions, by February 28, 2019.

In recognition that you and your officials have expertise and experience with respect to deceptive marketing practices that could be useful in assessing the reports of high pressure sales tactics, I request that you assist the CRTC in its inquiry leading to the report in the manner and to the extent that you judge appropriate.

Thank you for your assistance in this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

c.c.: Mr. Ian Scott, Chair, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission


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