CRTC invites public to weigh in on ISP code of conduct

The CRTC is inviting Canadians to share their views on its Facebook page until Mar. 4 on the possible creation of a mandatory code of conduct for internet service providers (ISPs).

The commission says it wants to hear from all Canadians, but especially internet subscribers who may have experienced issues related to contract clarity, bill shock, and cancelling or changing service providers.

Facebook posts that comply with the CRTC’s Rules of Engagement and that are posted in the #InternetCode: Have your say! album will be added to the public record for the ongoing proceeding.

“With this proceeding, we are reaching out to Canadians on the digital platforms they use, such as Facebook. This is a great opportunity for Canadians to share with us their ideas to solve the various issues they may face when dealing with the business practices of internet service providers,” said Ian Scott, CRTC chair, in a press release.

The public comment period comes amidst contention that intervenors weren’t given enough time to adequately respond during the initial consultation period from Nov. 9 – Dec. 19, 2018. A who’s who of Canadian telecom researchers and consumer advocacy organizations declined to participate, given the tight timeline proposed. Open Media, the Consumers Association of Canada (National and Manitoba branch), Ageing + Communication + Technologies (ACT), the Forum for Research and Policy in Communication (FRPC), the Consumers Council of Canada, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) were among those who boycotted the proceeding saying they could not work within the 28 business day deadline allocated to prepare initial comments. The groups also cited overlap with the work of the ongoing Broadcast and Telecommunications Legislative Review.

The proposed code would, among other things, establish consumer-friendly business practices, ensure contracts are easy-to-understand, and make it easier for Canadians to switch providers to take advantage of competitive offers.