Including low-income consumers as recipients of telecommunications services: how does Canada rate? (in French only)


Me Anthony Hémond


Union des consommateurs




The main feature of telecommunications services to be considered, when speaking of access to such services by low-income households, is economic accessibility. (The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), when addressing the issue of economic accessibility, calls it “affordability”; we have also used this term in the present report.) Our study will focus on measures to increase the affordability of telecommunications services for low-income households.

The first part of the study examines the access to telecommunications services of low-income families in Canada. We draw a general portrait of low-income people, with special attention to problems related to affordability. We also examine the main reasons why some low-income people have no telecommunications services.

In this first part, we also consider how the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission defines the affordability of telecommunications services; we present a few measures decreed by the CRTC and established by telecommunications service providers, whether incumbent local service companies, small incumbent local service companies or competing local service companies, as a result of decrees or voluntarily.

The second part of our study focuses on measures and programs established in a number of countries, such as the United States, France, Belgium, Austria, the United Kingdom and Australia, to facilitate economic access to telecommunications services. We have detailed those programs to determine whether they result from legislative or regulatory intervention or are set up voluntarily by companies, to identify the programs’ access criteria and funding methods, etc. When applicable, we have examined the results and criticisms of the programs.

This second part also considers the possibility and relevance of adopting such measures in Canada. We close this second part with a summary that proposes the application of certain seminal measures.

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French only

OCA Funded Research
This research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.

Contact information

Union des consommateurs
7000 Parc Ave, Suite 201
Montreal, QC  H3N 1X1
(514) 521-6820
(514) 521-0736

Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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