Archived—Order Requiring the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to report to the Governor in Council on Consumer Complaints

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Order Requiring the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to report to the Governor in Council on Consumer Complaints

Whereas the Governor in Council considers that an independent agency with a mandate to resolve complaints from individual and small business retail customers ("Consumer Agency") should be an integral component of a deregulated telecommunications market;

Whereas section 14 of the Telecommunications Act provides that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ("the Commission") shall, on the request of the Governor in Council, make a report on any matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission;

Whereas, in its report of March 2006, the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel recommended the creation of a telecommunications consumer agency that would be mandated to resolve complaints from individual and small business retail customers of any telecommunications service provider, which agency would be self-funding, independent, industry established, and whose structure and functions would be determined by the Commission;

Whereas, in Telecom Decision 2006-15, Forbearance from the regulation of retail local exchange services, the Commission invited the industry to propose for its approval an industry self-regulatory system, and noted that an appropriate system would be one designed in consultation with groups representing customers, that set out clear rules and standards and that provided a reliable mechanism for expeditiously resolving customer complaints;

Whereas the Governor in Council, by Order in Council P.C. 2007-0532 of April 4 2007, has varied CRTC Telecom Decision 2006-15 to provide a more appropriate and timely framework for the deregulation of local exchange services provided by incumbent local exchange carriers;

Whereas the Commission currently receives complaints and inquiries regarding services provided by telecommunications service providers;

Whereas the Governor in Council considers that the mandate of an effective Consumer Agency should include (in addition to resolving complaints) the development or approval of related industry codes of conduct and standards; publishing an annual report on the nature, number and resolution of complaints received for each telecommunications service provider; and, as appropriate, identifying issues or trends that may warrant further attention by the Commission or the government;

Whereas the Governor in Council considers that the governance structure of an effective Consumer Agency should be designed to ensure its independence from the telecommunications industry by incorporating elements such as: a governing body composed of a majority of members who are not affiliated with any telecommunications service provider; a chief executive officer appointed by the governing body and also not affiliated with any telecommunications service provider; and a budget set by its governing body and provided by the industry at a level sufficient to effectively execute its mandate;

And whereas the Governor in Council also considers that all telecommunications service providers should participate in and contribute to the financing of an effective Consumer Agency and that its structure and mandate would be approved by the Commission;

Therefore, Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Industry, pursuant to section 14 of the Telecommunications Act, hereby requires the Commission to make a report to the Governor in Council at least once per year, the first of which shall be submitted no later than April 6, 2008, regarding services provided by telecommunications service providers as outlined below:

  1. each report shall outline complaints received from individuals and small business retail customers regarding services provided by telecommunications service providers and shall include:
    1. statistical information, for each telecommunications service provider and in total, on the nature and number of complaints received and the standing of these complaints when the report was compiled,
    2. an identification of issues or trends that may warrant further attention by the Commission or by the government, such as the availability of consumer choice, the impact of marketing strategies and practices, consumer billing and contracts, and
    3. a report on progress made toward the establishment of a Consumer Agency; and
  2. the Commission shall continue to make reports until such time as a Consumer Agency has been established by industry and approved by the Commission.
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