Update: Manitoba’s new cellphone legislation now in effect

Ian Hardy

April 24, 2012 8:35 pm


Manitoba’s new simplified cellphone contracts, otherwise known as the The Consumer Protection Amendment Act (Cell Phone Contracts), will officially go into effect on September 15th. This is similar to what Quebec has done with Bill 60. Under the new legislation (listed below) wireless carriers like Rogers, Bell and regional carrier MTS will have to abide by the rules. If they are found guilty The Consumer Protection Office can lay down “administrative penalties” that range from $1k to $5k.

Carriers will be required to:
– provide a copy of the contract to consumers before the contract begins;
– fully disclose and explain all charges, fees and terms;
– restrict companies from making unilateral changes to contract terms;
– allows consumers to cancel contracts at any time for a reasonable cancellation fee;
– have the minimum monthly cost to be included in cellphone advertisements;
– restrict automatic cellphone contract renewals; and
– increase consumer protection for cellphone contracts not made in person including contracts made over the Internet.

Healthy Living, Seniors & Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau stated that “We’ve listened to Manitobans and we’re responding with some of the best consumer protection in Canada for cellphone contracts. These new rules will ensure Manitobans will have clearer cellphone contracts, fair cancellation fees and reasonable rules for unilateral changes to contracts.”

September 15th is only 6 long months away… Mark your calendars Manitobans.

Update: This programs is now in place – learn more here.

Source: Manitoba Gov’t press release

  • EddieWinslow

    This needs to come to Ontario ASAP.

    • John

      Not just Ontario, this needs to come to all the provinces and territories!!!

      The big 3 cell companies are scams!

  • TomHutchinson

    i second EddieWinslow’s post! The big three have gotten away with too much!

  • Big 3

    they forgot the 2-year contract term limit!

  • David

    What constitutes reasonable cancellation fee? I think they need to be more specific. To the Big 3, $1000 cancellation fee is very reasonable.

    • Dealer Rep

      Its the cost of the phone and not a penny more. No more buying out contracts.

    • Curtis

      Who has $1000 cancelations fees now?? Every carrier has moved to formats based around the cost of the phone.

  • Nikos

    The biggest problem is most people want a subsidized phone, but want no cancellation fee should they want to cancel….

    • EddieWinslow

      You are right, but as stated earlier, they have should have a max of 2 year terms. All contracts should then be you pay off what is left owing for phone you subsidized, no 20-30 bucks per remaining month. you pay the phone 3 times over doing that.

  • Ramon

    The Gravy Train is coming to a halt, Robelus!
    How does it make you feel? Hahah :D

  • Tim

    I agree Nikos. It also comes down to the fact though that 3 years is a little too long to get a subsidized device though. 2 Years I think is more appropriate, 3 years if you want “extra subsidy” (e.g. 2 year smartphone is $149.99 up front and 3 year $49.99 upfront. I’m just tossing numbers out there.)

    This coming from someone who works for one of the big three too. :D

    I personally purchase my phone outright when I do get a new one (which is about once every 8-12 months), but not everyone can afford to do that.

    • Kriilin Namek

      I would rather just purchase my phone outright too, but I don’t get a break on the service. If they split the two up, it would give people options. And besides, some people may be happy to use their phone for more than one contract. (mobilesyrup readers notwithstanding ;)

  • Nikos

    They have that currently in the Tab concept. Yet people still complain when they want to cancel or upgrade and half to pay off the remaining cost.

    Truth be told, I think everyone would be better off if phone subsidies didn’t exist.. Then those who can afford the high end devices would get them, and those who simply cannot afford them, would stick with devices that are within their means…

  • Robelus

    Have fun paying higher for phones. FYI If your contract started before this goes in to effect, your still stuck under the old terms and conditions Ha Ha

    • Dealer Rep

      Have fun paying for a phone full out? It only makes sense to buy something when you can afford it! It means you have to SAVE UP, you know, that pink piggy bank your parents bought you when you were 5… We have lost that thinking and all we want is to consume consume and consume.

      No wonder Canadians are ridden with debt, car lease here, phone subsidy there, mortgage, lease payments for furniture, credit card debt, student loans…. on and on i can go.

  • Robelus

    Nikos, your the first REASONABLE person(besides myself) on here

  • 2pacs tshirt

    aint a big deal, since most of the big 3 if not ALL already have something like this in place

    no need to get all excited lol

  • TH8MA3

    The tab system is crap. Try to pay off a 600$ nexus when they only take 10% of your monthly bill eg about 6-7$ a month. Takes about 7 years to pay for the device.

    • Hastings

      then buy the $600 phone and not worry about a contract duhhhhh

    • milesclarence

      I bought out of a tab contract to upgrade to the Galaxy Nexus when it came out and I was fine with it. There was a decent amount left on my tab, but it was expected. It wasn’t a huge buy out fee or anything. I knew that I’d have to pay off my current phone to bring myself back to 0 to get the new one. It made sense, was straight forward and can be viewed at any given time online.

      It was nice to see what I was walking into. Not to mention, I struck it rich when Virgin messed up and credited my account an extra 250 after it was all said and done so I had 3 months free after upgrading.

    • Zombie Ted Rogers

      Wind Tab gets wiped clean after 3 years. After those three years the balance is zero and you’re free to do whatever you like.

      Don’t spread the same BS as Robellus.

  • aregularonhofo

    Don’t expect too much from our pathetic Liberal government, yet having a minority may help things and hopefully someone one will push the similar bill through.

    Rogers is giving Home Phone promos with basic features for $28, however if you cancel it’s $20 for every month you didn’t use and that is BS…they also send you a contract after the first month of use and that is BS. These are minor visible issues…the huge problems are getting overlooked.

  • ToniCipriani

    What about phone unlocking?

  • vaskjas

    we need 18mth contracts, and unlimited data.

    and also why do we still not have google music officially in canada?

    • Jason

      Google music in Canada will never happen, there is a great work around that works flawlessly google it.

  • Domingo

    If these carriers were ethical all this would be a no brainer without a “law” to tell them how to behave. The problem is these companies are run by criminal “types” that think they’re entitled to do whatever they want. There is no difference in my mind other than the suits they have on when they’re behaving like criminals.

  • Jay

    Telus rogers and fido’s cancellation policy, in ontario is fair. They basically amortize the phone over the period of the agreement. Bell and virgin currently still have cancellation fees, but when purchasing I think asking the policy should be done if not known by the consumer or explained by the sales associate. If the consumer doesn’t agree, then DON’T GET IN A CONTRACT!! Only makes sense. The tab system is what it is. Again I’m sure its explained and thus fair because those are the terms one agrees to.

  • Greedy

    That’s a first world issue, Dealer, not just Canada.

    The cell phone companies themselves have devalued phones by providing subsidies, so they’ve done a lot to fuel that consumption, to their own benefit.

    Finally having cancellation fees related directly to the actual subsidy is long, long overdue.

  • ExcessDan

    We need this in Ontario but not just for cell phones, for cable tv, internet, phone lines, etc. Bell got me to switch from Rogers for an awesome price on all of my services, 4 months later we keep getting bills for all kinds of prices we never agreed to and nobody believes anything that we were promised even though I wrote down everything with all costs. Somehow I am still under contract even though I haven’t agreed to the prices. If I cancel and refuse to pay the cancellation fees on a contract I never agreed to I’m sure they’ll just send me to collections and ruin my credit.

    Now if they sent me a contract to sign then I’d be set and wouldn’t have to deal with wrong bills every month. Legislation like this is necessary for all of Canada!

  • Marcello

    I think that cell phones are so over priced! When you think you can get an ipod touch or GALAXY S WiFi 5.0 for under $200. How does three times the price come in…for adding a phone???

  • Aiden

    I live in Manitoba glad to see some change finally. I actually feel bad for my classmates who signed up for rogers and pay $75+/month for average usage. Rogers really is the worst here. Ontop of that if you cancel it’s going to cost you more than the phone.

    • Kid.Canada

      That would be me. Signed a 3 year contract December 2010 with Rogers and have been paying $78/month since. I really wish they added a 2 year contract limit to that list which was the most important change I wanted to happen on my list. Someone make a petition for this so it could be added to the list before September if it’s even possible. Im so desperate for that!!

  • Tomatoes

    Wait a second. Carriers can automatically renew contracts?

  • 2pacs tshirt

    some of you are so upset about your contracts.

    YOU got into them lol, blame yourself, not the carriers

    buncha girls

  • Spock

    This is all a wash. Nothing specific. Its just window dressing to try and show the government is trying to serve the people.

    Nothing real for us cell users that is going to help us.

    Everybody just move along, nothing to see here.

  • bobo jones

    the U K put into law 2 year contracts

  • Craig

    How about having a reasonable “outright” cost for these phones, rather than the rediculously marked-up costs they have now. I fail to understand how you can buy a 10 inch Android tablet for $400.00 outright, but a 4.5″ android smartphone lists for nearly double that amount. Then we are tied to 3 year contracts at artifically jacked-up amounts to compensate for the “huge discount” they offered you to sell you the phone.

  • Chris

    Going to take alot of Ontarians protesting to make this government do anything similiar to Manitoba… I’m sure theirs some sort of cash incentive for MR.Dalton and his party to lay off this as Ontario is the largest $ market for these carriers

  • Alex

    As a Manitoban, all I can say is that the gov is DOING IT WRONG.

    These vague ‘regulations’ barely touch the real issue between customers and cell phone providers/ manufacturers. The cost of the phones are too high, they cannot last for three years, and they buy- outs need a SPECIFIC CAP.

    Nova Scotia just passed regulation that’s going into effect almost immedidately (not six months from now <– seriously..?) that caps contract buy-outs at $50 + remaining cost of the phone. I think they are also required to explain how much you are paying into the phone/ per month. THIS IS WHAT WE NEED- clear and straight forward.

    I am expecting to see nearly no- change in my cancelation fee when this legislation goes into effect.