by Christina Peden

The CRTC is challenging Canadian telecommunications companies over their choice to charge customers additional fees for paper bills. The governmental body plans to host a meeting with telecommunications and broadcast companies to discuss its concerns regarding the fees.

The CRTC conducted a fact-finding mission to delve into the issues surrounding paper billing fees and uncovered a wide variation between companies and how they approach the controversial fee.

Overall, the findings indicate that 36 companies do not charge for paper billing, while 27 companies do, with fees ranging from $0.99 to $5.95 per month. The Big Three (Rogers, Bell and Telus) all charge a fee for paper bills. In contrast, Shaw, MTS and Sasktel charge nothing.

The CRTC is concerned that these fees don’t take into account the circumstances of many Canadians, including those with disabilities and those without internet access. While some companies do offer exemptions in some circumstances, many do not ( see here for the full list of companies that do offer exemptions). For instance, Bell will waive the paper billing fee for customers with disabilities, but not for customers without internet access or email.

The meeting between the CRTC and the telcos is set to take place on August 28, 2014 at the CRTC’s central office in Ottawa.

“We are challenging telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies to come up with a comprehensive approach that will enable Canadians to make informed decisions,” CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said Wednesday, “We are prepared to explore regulatory options if the industry fails to find an appropriate approach."

 

Source: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission