CRTC Internet Code to offer new customer rights to Canadians

News release

July 31, 2019 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

The CRTC today took an important step to better protect Canadians with the publication of a code of conduct for Internet service providers (ISPs). The Internet Code will come into effect on January 31, 2020 and will provide Canadians with additional safeguards against unexpectedly high bills and help them resolve disputes with their ISP.

When the Code comes into effect, Canadians will benefit from:

  • easier-to-understand contracts, documentation and policies surrounding service calls, outages, security deposits and disconnections
  • clearer information about prices, including for bundles, promotions and time-limited discounts, thanks to the critical information summary
  • bill shock protection, through notifications when customers approach and reach their data-usage limits, and
  • greater flexibility thanks to new rules permitting customers to cancel a contract within 45 days, without paying early cancellation fees, if the contract differs from the offer.

The Code will apply to large ISPs and will be administered by the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS). The CRTC expects all other ISPs to behave in a manner consistent with the principles set out in the Code.

Quotes

“During our consultations, many Canadians told us about the challenges they face with their Internet service providers, including unclear agreements, unanticipated price increases and inconsistencies between offers and their bills. With the new Internet Code, we are closing the gap and providing Canadians with protections for the Internet, wireless and TV services in their bundle. The new Code will empower customers and make it easier for them to take advantage of competitive offers.”

- Ian Scott, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC

Quick facts

  • The CCTS helps Canadians resolve disputes with their telecommunications providers. The CCTS can require a company to provide a refund, correct a billing error and provide up to $5,000 in compensation per complaint.

  • The Internet Code will come into force on January 31, 2020 and apply to the following ISPs:

    • Bell Canada
    • Rogers Communications
    • TELUS
    • Cogeco
    • SaskTel
    • Videotron
    • Eastlink
    • Shaw Telecom
    • Xplornet
    • Northwestel
  • About 90% of Canadian households have an Internet service subscription and 87% of those are with large ISPs.

  • ISPs will need to notify a customer when they reach, 75%, 90% and 100% of their data-usage limit within a single monthly billing cycle.

  • The Commission plans to review the Code within three years to ensure it is an effective tool in resolving customer complaints.

  • In its 2017-18 annual report, the CCTS noted a 56% increase in Internet-related complaints over the previous year.

  • In anticipation of the Internet Code’s creation, and to get a better understating of the needs and views of Canadians and the Industry, the CRTC held two consultations, including one on Facebook.

  • The CRTC created the Wireless Code in 2013 and the Television Service Provider Code in 2017.

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