June 10th, 2019 - 7:17pm
NDP Motion in the House of Commons outlined the actions to protect consumers
OTTAWA – Today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh along with Brian Masse, M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Critic unveiled the NDP’s plan to make sure Canadians save money on their telecommunications bill in an opposition motion debated in the House of Commons.
“We know that Canadians rely on cellphones and access to the internet in their day to day lives. But these essential services are becoming more expensive and less reliable,” said Singh. “Canadians pay some of the highest prices for mobile wireless and broadband subscriptions. Telecom companies are making billions of dollars on the backs of Canadian families. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
In annual studies, including those commissioned by the federal government since 2008, it has been well established that Canadians pay amongst highest telecom rates in the world. The profits of the five largest telecom companies in 2017 totalled $7.49 billion and their profit margins have reached 38.3 per cent. Despite these astounding profits, Bell, Rogers and Telus received close to $50 million in subsidies and more than $700 million in contracts from Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.
Canadian telecoms companies make more revenue per gigabyte of data than almost any other company in the world. In 2018, the total revenue per gigabyte in Canada is roughly 70 times higher than in India and 23 times higher than in Finland. As a result, Canada has lower data use than almost any other country in the world. Furthermore, even though Australia has larger geographical challenges than Canada, it invested more per capita on telecommunication services between 2005 and 2015 — and offers faster network connection speeds, while all of their plans are cheaper than those available in Canada.
From 2001 until 2019 the government has taken in $17.6 billion from Spectrum auctions yet none had mandates for the companies to ensure consumer protections, provide competitive prices, and guarantee investments in infrastructure so that Canadians living in rural and remote areas have access to affordable high speed broadband and wireless services.
“In this market, Canadians are being forced to pay more than $20 more than the average monthly prices of other OECD countries,” said NDP Critic for Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Brian Masse. “Canadians deserve a government that will use every tool available, as we have done in the past, to use regulation to protect consumers and make life more affordable for people.”
The NDP plan will introduce a price cap to ensure every Canadian saves money on their bill, will establish a Telecoms Consumers’ Bill of Rights, will put an end to the egregious and outrageous sales and services practices of the telecom companies to protect Canadians, and revisit the structure of spectrum auctions to make sure its everyday Canadians who benefit from the revenue.