Canada’s largest telecommunications union has submitted a brief to the CRTC backing the demand of consumer and public interest groups for a national wireless code to protect consumer interests. As much as $4 billion is lost to consumers due to a lack of regulation in the telco industry, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada notes in its submission to the CRTC’s Telecom Notice of Consultation.
“The Conservatives are taking advantage of Canadians’ legitimate grievances regarding service and cost to push their ideological agenda,” says CEP President Dave Coles, referring to the omnibus budget released last week proposing that foreign-controlled corporations be allowed to buy Canadian companies holding up to 10 percent of the market.
“This government needs to put the public interest first, instead of setting up laws to line the pockets of its corporate friends.”
“There is more wireless competition in Canada now than there has ever been, yet prices have not dropped and services are not improving.
The CEP brief points to a recent CRTC-commissioned analysis of international prices for wireless service which provides previously unavailable evidence that the expected benefits for wireless users of increased wireless service competition have not been achieved. That, along with consumer surveys and sizable numbers of complaints about mobile telephone service are evidence that users’ needs and interests are not being met, the brief says.
The brief also notes that most provincial legislatures have either passed or are considering passage of laws that cover the provision of telecommunications services.
“More foreign ownership is not the answer, and it will cost us in terms of cultural sovereignty, security, outsourcing and jobs,” says Coles, noting that foreign-owned companies have a long history of killing Canadian jobs.”
“We need a national telecommunications strategy with a long-term vision that protects consumers, our jobs and our culture.”