No consumer left behind part II....


Jonathan Bishop and Alysia Lau


Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)




While there may be several barriers to the adoption of communications services, this report examines whether there is an affordability problem for these services in Canada. While the term, “affordability”, has been employed in many contexts, this report focuses on affordability for low-income households. In carrying out this research, PIAC conducted an extensive literature review, consulted with a range of stakeholders engaged in the affordability of communications and other essential services, and commissioned a comprehensive survey of 752 low-income individuals across Canada.

PIAC’s survey of low-income respondents highlighted this affordability challenge for low-income Canadians. According to PIAC’s No Consumer Left Behind Part I report, Canadians should spend no more than 4% to 6% of their household income on communications services. However, PIAC’s survey showed that low-income families spend on average an estimated 8% of their income on communications expenditures, with some families spending closer to 10%.

Addressing the affordability challenges of low-income consumers requires a multi-pronged approach which includes both public and private funding. A flexible end-user subsidy would most effectively address the affordability challenges for communication services by providing the choice and flexibility for low-income Canadians to make telecommunications choices that suit their needs.

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

Contact information

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)
285 McLeod Street, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON   K2P 1A1
(613) 562-4002
(613) 562-0007

Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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