A report by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre stated Canadians are paying between $495 and $734 million a year in fees for paper bills. The high cost to everyday Canadians prompted the PIAC to recommended the government take swift action to eliminate this charge from existence.
Jonathan Bishop, PIAC’s Research Analyst, said, “a majority of consumers have indicated their disapproval of being charged extra for a paper bill. Most Canadians believe supplying a paper bill in the mail without having to pay an extra fee is part of the company’s cost of doing business.”
Well, for the vast majority of Canadians this is not happening anytime soon. The CRTC met with various telecom and broadcasting companies — Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Cogeco Cable, Eastlink, Globalive, MTS Allstream, Québecor, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus — and the outcome was less than impressive.
The discussions unanimously agreed that customers who have “no personal or home broadband connection, persons with disabilities who need a paper bill, seniors aged 65 and over and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces” will not be charged a paper bill fee, which could top $6 per month (the exemptions will take effect by January 1st, 2015).
However, for the millions of other customers on the list it is business as usual. The CRTC notes that “it does not go far enough to meet the concerns of all Canadians” and they’ll be seeking additional feedback from Canadians.
Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC, said, “While the companies agreed to adopt consistent exemptions to such fees, they were unable to reach a consensus to eliminate them entirely. Many Canadians who will not benefit from the exemptions will be disappointed with the outcome so far.”