Federal legislation will end fees for getting monthly bills on paper: minister

The big telecom companies may have agreed to exempt some customers from fees charged for paper invoices, but the federal government says it’s going to end the whole practice.

OTTAWA — The big telecom companies may have agreed to exempt some customers from fees charged for paper invoices, but the federal government says it’s going to end the whole practice.

Industry Minister James Moore says the government will introduce legislation to end what is called pay-to-pay, the practice of charging people extra for a monthly bill on paper.

“We do not believe that Canadians should pay more to receive a paper copy of their telephone or wireless bill,” Moore said in a statement Friday.

The telecom firms met under the auspices of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission on Thursday and agreed to exempt some people, including seniors, the disabled, military vets and people without Internet access.

The CRTC said it wasn’t enough and called for another round of discussions, but that seems to have been overtaken by Moore’s announcement.

The minister says the practice of charging extra for paper invoices is unfair.

Moore says Canadians expect lower prices and better service from the telecoms.

“That is why our government committed to ending this unfair practice and putting the interests of Canadian consumers first,” he said.

The Thursday meeting included telecom giants Bell (TSX:BCE), Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) and Telus (TSX:T).

Billing practices and fees are a patchwork in the industry.

Cogeco (TSX:CCA, TSX:CGO), which supplies cable, Internet and phone service in Ontario and Quebec, has never adopted the practice, although it does encourage customers to go paperless.

MTS Allstream (TSX:MBT), SaskTel and Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B), also don’t charge extra for paper invoices.

Other companies, however, do charge for paper bills — up to $6 per month in some cases, plus tax — and both the fees and exemption policies vary widely.

Rogers, for instance, has been known to waive its $2 fee if customers object for various reasons.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has estimated consumers pay $734 million every year in fees to get bills on paper.

And that’s the motivation for the telecom giants to keep the fees in place for as long as possible, said NDP critic Andrew Cash.

“It’s a cash cow that just keeps on giving, until the government comes in and puts in some strong legislation that bans the practice altogether,” he said.

“And that’s what we’ve been calling for.”

Cash said he would await the details contained in the legislation before saying whether he would support it, but called the announcement by Moore a positive step.

Just Posted

Driver who backed into Red Deer pizzeria sentenced

David Andrew Amstutz sentenced for failing to remain at the crash scene

Shaw getting ready to raise prices for its main residential service, CEO says

CALGARY — Residential customers of Shaw Communications Inc. will likely see a… Continue reading

Inflation accelerates as higher airfares, vegetable prices offset cheaper gas

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerated to two per cent last… Continue reading

Alberta couple wants cash and charges dropped in meningitis death of their son

CALGARY — An Alberta couple facing a second trial in the meningitis… Continue reading

Moose Jaw wants to challenge Norway for tallest moose statue title

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The City of Moose Jaw, Sask., is on… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

SXSW to screen ‘Run This Town,’ which includes Rob Ford character

TORONTO — A drama that features a portrayal of the late Toronto… Continue reading

Fans buy ‘Little House on the Prairie’ star’s memorabilia

GENOA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — More than 200 items belonging to “Little House… Continue reading

Paying down debt should be priority for low income workers, say experts

TORONTO — Investment planning can often be seen as a luxury for… Continue reading

Russian fighter jets collide over Sea of Japan crews eject

One plane crashed after its crew ejected safely, the other crew also ejected but they have not been found

Judge to deliver verdict in British sailor’s gang rape case

The alleged gang rape took place at a Halifax-area military base in 2015

B.C. minister fears money laundering involves billions of dollars, cites reports

The government had estimated that it was a $200-million a year operation, instead estimates now peg the problem at $1 billion annually

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Most Read