Chair’s Message

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that effective and reliable communications services are crucial to Canadians. This adds emphasis to our commitment to continue providing outstanding dispute resolution services to Canadians.

To support our strategic priorities and ensure our continued leadership in delivering the best possible service to consumers and service providers, the CCTS conducted a detailed examination of its service delivery model. We brought in the respected consulting firm cameron.ralph.khoury (CRK) to conduct an independent review of our operations. In August of 2020, CRK provided its report to the CCTS Board of Directors.

The Board has reviewed the report and established a Service Delivery Working Group to study and assess CRK’s recommendations in collaboration with management. This work represents the most significant modernization project in the history of the organization. Innovations in both technology and processes are expected following a series of consultations with stakeholders over the next 12 to 18 months.

Along with this ongoing work, 2020-21 marked the first full year that the CCTS administered the Internet Code of Conduct at the request of the CRTC. The CCTS also monitored the CRTC proceeding on wireless device financing plans and, at the request of the CRTC in March of 2021, agreed to track complaints related to wireless device financing plans. This data will provide the CRTC with necessary information to decide if further action is needed. We continue to monitor other ongoing CRTC proceedings that may impact the CCTS, including proceedings about the provision of paper bills by service providers and regulations to be made under the Accessible Canada Act.

The ongoing pandemic continued to challenge everyone, including the CCTS. The safe work-from-home environment continued, as did the flexibility and commitment of everyone in the organization. I join the Board in thanking the Commissioner, Howard Maker, and all of the CCTS team for their dedication and hard work in trying times. I am confident that these attributes will enable the CCTS to continue to help telecom and TV service providers and their customers to resolve their disputes efficiently and effectively.

Catherine Aczel Boivie
Chair of the Board, CCTS

Signature

Commissioner’s Message

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the economy, in 2020-21 the CCTS has been as busy as ever.

We’ve continued our efforts helping to resolve complaints from Canadian consumers and small business customers about their wireless, internet, TV and phone services. And we’ve also been hard at work on multiple projects.

As part of our 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, the CCTS committed to review our service delivery model to ensure efficient, effective and transparent service to customers and service providers. In order to better meet the needs of our stakeholders, we’re dedicated to modernizing the CCTS.

Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, we were able to continue providing uninterrupted services, with our staff still working remotely (since March of 2020). With this model in place, 88% of complaints were successfully resolved following the intervention of the CCTS.

To promote our goal of enhanced transparency, in June of 2021 we published the Annotated Guide to the Procedural Code. This guide helps service providers and the Canadian public understand how the CCTS interprets and applies the CCTS Procedural Code – the framework for how we accept, investigate and resolve complaints.

Participating Service Providers (PSPs) are expected to follow all of the requirements of participation in the CCTS, including the rules of the Procedural Code. Our Compliance Monitoring Program aims to ensure compliance. As part of the Program, in July of 2021 we released our annual Compliance Monitoring Report to provide information about the results of CCTS’ 2020 compliance monitoring and enforcement activities and to highlight the main areas of PSP non-compliance. Overall, we were pleased to see a decrease in major non-compliance issues and noted a large increase in engagement for lower priority compliance matters.

In 2020-21, we continued our efforts to provide accessible customer service that accommodates persons with disabilities, beginning with the publication of our Accessibility Plan for 2020-2025. We held our annual consultations with participants from five accessibility groups, and the focus of the meeting was the accessibility of our complaint-handling forms, internal processes and the quality of accessible customer service provided by our agents. We subsequently initiated a manual scan of our website with our partners SiteImprove to determine updates that will improve accessibility.

Another initiative undertaken this year was our second Public Awareness Survey, conducted by the independent research company EKOS. The survey results were similar to those of our 2016 survey: perceptions of the CCTS are generally positive and overall awareness of the CCTS has remained stable, although lower than we would like. To further increase public awareness of the CCTS, we continue to develop additional public-facing materials, such as more case studies, a regular newsletter and videos explaining our processes.

This year, we welcomed Janet Lo as our new Assistant Commissioner, Legal, Regulatory & Stakeholder Affairs in May 2021 and Mathieu Pierre Dagonas as our new Director, Stakeholder Affairs & Communications in October 2020. The addition of Janet and Mat strengthen our organizational capacity to deliver on key priorities set out in CCTS’ Strategic Plan, and we look forward to their contributions to our team.

The CCTS staff have shown unflagging dedication and commitment to all of these activities as well as to the broader CCTS mission of providing outstanding dispute resolution services. To all of you I offer my most sincere thanks.

Howard Maker
Commissioner & CEO, CCTS

Signature

Year at a Glance

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

This section provides an overview of significant events and data points for the CCTS in 2020-21.

By the numbers

Successful resolutions

88% of concluded complaints were successfully resolved.

Complaints up

We experienced an increase in complaints of 9% compared to last year.

Top issues

While billing problems were the number one issue for wireless, TV and phone customers, service delivery problems were the top issue for internet customers.

Industry-wide participation

405 brands operated by 295 service providers participate in the CCTS.

Performance levels

210 brands had ZERO complaints. Another 109 had 3 or less.

Investigations required

23% of concluded complaints required an investigation.

Total issues

42,254 issues were raised in 17,506 concluded complaints.

Complaints distribution

83% of complaints were filed against 10 service providers.

Key events

  • First full year of CCTS administering the Internet Code, which applies to Canada’s largest internet providers
  • Published Annotated Guide to the CCTS Procedural Code, a document to help stakeholders understand how the CCTS interprets and applies the CCTS Procedural Code
  • Began stakeholder consultations related to independent review of CCTS’ operations and service delivery
  • Conducted a Public Awareness Survey through a partnership with EKOS
  • Welcomed 27 new service providers to the CCTS
  • Terminated participation of SkyChoice Communications Inc. for non-compliance
  • Terminated participation of three service providers no longer in business (Roam Mobility, Cinco Networks and Suntel Networks Communications Ltd.)
  • Monitored CRTC proceeding on device financing plans and implemented tracking of complaints about device financing plan issues, as requested by the CRTC

Who We Are and What We Do

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Our mandate

The CCTS is Canada’s national and independent organization dedicated to resolving customer complaints about telecommunications and television distribution services. We work with consumers, small businesses and participating Canadian service providers to resolve disputes about most telecom and subscription TV services after direct communications between a customer and a service provider have proven ineffective.

We can help with most types of problems between a customer and service provider, including disputes about contracts, billing, service delivery and credit management.

Services in our mandate: 1. Internet 2. Wireless, including voice, data and text 3. TV, for residential customers only 4. Phone, for home and small business, including long distance, white page directories, directory assistance and operator services

Overview of who we are and what we do

“I don't think I ever could have solved my issue without the CCTS' help. My provider had no intention of ever fixing their billing error.”

Our complaints process

We strive to provide a complaint-handling process that is thorough, fair, effective and efficient.

Our complaint process: Step 1, assessment Step 2, complaint accepted, or out of mandate Step 3, informal resolution Step 4, investigation Step 5, resolved, recommendation or closed Step 6, Decision

Overview of our complaint resolution process

2020-21 Complaints

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

This section provides a broad overview of this year’s complaint data. Additional detailed analysis follows throughout the report. For definitions of the terms used in this section, see the Glossary of Terms.

About our data

We report on the complaints that were accepted between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021 (our fiscal year) as well as on the complaints that were concluded between those dates.

The complaints we receive and investigate after July 31, 2021 will be reported in next year’s Annual Report.

NOTE: A single complaint may raise more than one issue.

To ensure the accuracy of the statistics we report, we audit the data throughout the year.

Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Operational statistics

Table 5.1: Summary of operational statistics

* The number of concluded complaints is higher than the number of accepted complaints because some complaints received in 2019-20 were also concluded in 2020-21.

 

Table 5.2: Leading complaint issues broken down by service type

* The number of issues is higher than the number of complaints accepted because a single complaint may raise more than one issue.

† Other includes long distance and operator services issues. There were no complaints about directory assistance or white pages directories in 2020-21.

 

The largest number of complaint issues were related to wireless services, which account for the highest proportion of billing, contract dispute and credit management issues.

Of the main category of issues (billing, contract dispute, service delivery, and credit management), billing issues remain the top issue across most service types. Billing issues decreased by 6% overall this year despite billing issues related to internet services increasing by 6%.

Overall, service delivery issues increased by 9%, largely driven by a 25% increase of this issue in complaints about internet service. Complaints about internet services account for the highest proportion of service delivery issues, at 43%. There was a 5% increase in credit management issues this year, driven by a 27% increase in credit management issues raised in internet service complaints.

Code of Conduct Reporting

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

When the CCTS investigates customer complaints about telecom and TV services, we try to determine if the service provider has reasonably met its responsibilities to its customer.

Overview of CRTC codes of conduct

We use four mandatory CRTC codes of conduct as yardsticks against which we measure service provider conduct:

  • Wireless Code: For consumer and small business (mobile) wireless services.
  • Deposit & Disconnection (D&D) Code: For residential home phone services.
  • Television Service Provider (TVSP) Code: For residential subscription TV services.
  • Internet Code: For all retail fixed internet access services, including cable, fibre, digital subscriber line (DSL), fixed wireless and satellite services provided by Canada’s ten largest internet service providers and their brands and affiliates. Mobile wireless internet services are covered by the Wireless Code.

To learn about how we administer the CRTC codes of conduct, watch the video below.

For more detailed information about the preceding codes, see:

Resolving complaints and analyzing code compliance

When we accept a customer complaint, we record and track all of the issues raised in the complaint. Some complaints raise questions about whether a provider has complied with a code of conduct. We call these “alleged breaches.”

The vast majority of complaints are resolved to the satisfaction of the customer and the provider at an early stage of our process. When complaints are resolved, there is no need for us to investigate the underlying issues, including to determine if there have been any violations of a code of conduct. Therefore, these issues remain characterized as “alleged breaches” and are categorized as “not requiring investigation” in the following charts.

In the cases that we do investigate, we can determine whether there has been a violation. We categorize proven violations as “confirmed breaches.” When we investigate and determine that there has not been a violation, we categorize this as “no breach.”

In this section, we present statistical reports on breaches of the four applicable codes using the preceding terminology.

Wireless Code

The Wireless Code seeks to ensure that customers of wireless voice and data services are better informed of the rights and obligations contained in their contracts. The Wireless Code applies to individual and small business consumers, and all wireless service providers must follow its guidelines.

Figure 6.1: Summary of Wireless Code breaches

From 1,925 alleged breaches, 1,703 alleged breaches did not require investigation and 222 breaches were investigated. Out of the 222 breaches investigated, 96 breaches were confirmed and 126 were not confirmed as a breach.

Table 6.1: Wireless Code confirmed breaches by section

There were 96 confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code, a decrease of 48% from last year. This decrease is driven by a significant decline in confirmed breaches for Koodo (101 last year compared to 4 this year).

The majority of confirmed breaches relate to disclosure issues stemming from lack of clarity or accurate information in communications with customers, information in and provision of contracts and related documents, and the Critical Information Summary.

This year, there were 14 confirmed breaches of Section A (Clarity), compared to 1 last year. The main issue was wireless service providers failing to communicate with customers using plain language. An example of this issue is provided in a case summary in Topics & Trends (Disclosure issue with early cancellation fees related to device financing).

Section B (Contracts and related documents) remains the most-breached section of the Wireless Code, accounting for 36.4% of all confirmed breaches – although there was a 57% decrease in confirmed breaches of this section compared to last year. Fourteen of the 29 breaches were because the wireless service provider did not provide a copy of the contract. The remaining 15 breaches were about incomplete disclosure.

Last year, we reported 53 confirmed breaches where wireless providers did not include all of the required key contract terms in the customer’s contract (B.1.(iii) a-e). Breaches of this Code requirement declined by 76% this year, to 13 confirmed breaches.

Section C (Critical Information Summary) remains the second most-breached section, with 29% of all Wireless Code confirmed breaches (down 49% from last year). Fourteen of the 27 confirmed breaches for this Code section were because the Critical Information Summary did not include all required information.

Table 6.2: Wireless Code confirmed breaches by service provider

Koodo had 101 confirmed Wireless Code breaches last year but only 4 this year. Last year, Koodo accounted for most of the confirmed breaches about Section B (Contracts and related documents) and Section C (Critical Information Summary).

Bell had 29 confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code this year, up from 27 last year. Bell’s confirmed breaches account for 30% of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches.

Rogers had 25 confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code this year, up from 17 last year. Rogers’ confirmed breaches account for 26% of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches.

Internet Code

The Internet Code was created so that customers of fixed internet access services are better informed of their rights and responsibilities contained in their contracts with internet service providers (ISPs). The Internet Code aims to make it easier for individual customers to understand their internet service contracts, to prevent bill shock from overage fees and price increases, and to make it easier for Canadians to switch ISPs.

The Internet Code applies only to individual customers; it does not apply to small business customers.

Since the CCTS began to administer the Internet Code when it took effect on January 31, 2020, 2020-21 is the first full year of CCTS reporting on confirmed breaches of the Internet Code.

The Internet Code applies to large facilities-based ISPs and their brands and affiliates listed in Table 6.3.

Figure 6.2: Summary of Internet Code breaches

From 506 alleged breaches, 454 alleged breaches did not require investigation and 52 breaches were investigated. Out of the 542 breaches investigated, 18 breaches were confirmed and 34 were not confirmed as a breach.

There were 18 confirmed breaches of the Internet Code this year. Last year, we reported two confirmed breaches for the six months the Code was in effect.

Forty-four percent (eight) of this year’s confirmed breaches were about Section I (Disconnection). There were four confirmed breaches to each of Section A (Clarity) and Section G (Contract cancellation and extension).

Table 6.3: Service providers governed by the Internet Code
Large facilities-based ISPs’ premium brand Brands and affiliates of premium brand
Bell Canada
  • Bell Aliant
  • Bell MTS
  • Dryden Municipal Telephone System (DMTS)
  • KMTS
  • Virgin Plus (formerly Virgin Mobile)
  • NorthernTel
  • Ontera
  • Telebec, Société en commandite
  • Maskatel
Northwestel Inc.*
  • No brands or affiliates
Cogeco Connexion Inc. (Ontario and Quebec)
  • No brands or affiliates
Eastlink
  • Amtelecom Limited Partnership
  • Coast Cable
  • Delta Cable
  • K-Right Communications Inc.
  • People’s Tel LP
  • Persona Communications Inc.
Rogers
  • Compton Communications
  • Fido
  • Source Cable
Sasktel
  • MaxTV™
Shaw
  • Freedom Mobile
TELUS
  • Mascon Cable
Videotron Ltd.
  • Fizz
Xplornet
  • Netset Communications

NOTE: This list is based on the information PSPs provide to the CCTS.

* Northwestel’s terrestrial retail internet services are regulated by the CRTC; therefore, customers should forward their complaint to the CRTC. Northwestel’s satellite retail internet services are not regulated by the CRTC, so the CCTS may accept complaints about these services.

Table 6.4: Internet Code confirmed breaches by service provider

* Because the Internet Code was administered by the CCTS for only six months of the 2019-20 fiscal year, there is no year-over-year comparison made to data for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Bell accounts for most of the confirmed breaches of the Internet Code, with 78% of confirmed breaches. Eastlink, Rogers, Shaw and Virgin Mobile each had one confirmed breach.

Television Service Provider Code

The Television Service Provider Code (TVSP Code) is intended to make it easier for Canadians to understand their television service agreements and to empower residential customers in their relationships with TVSPs.

The TVSP Code applies only to residential customers (not small businesses), and all licensed TV service providers must follow its guidelines. We address complaints about subscription TV services provided by cable, Internet Protocol television (IPTV) and national satellite direct-to-home (DTH) TV service providers.

Figure 6.3: Summary of TVSP Code breaches

From 162 alleged breaches, 142 alleged breaches did not require investigation and 20 breaches were investigated. Out of the 20 breaches investigated, 5 breaches were confirmed and 15 were not confirmed as a breach.

There were five confirmed breaches to the Television Service Provider Code (TVSP code) this year, down from seven last year. Two breaches were about Section X (changing programming options) and three breaches were about Section XI (notice for changes to programming options, such as channel packages or prices of channels or channel packages).

Table 6.5: TVSP Code confirmed breaches by service provider

Deposit and Disconnection Code

The Deposit and Disconnection Code (D&D Code) provides local phone customers with protection in cases when they’re required to provide a deposit as a condition of obtaining local phone service or when a provider intends to disconnect the customer’s local phone service.

There were five confirmed breaches of the D&D Code this year, down from nine last year. Three breaches were related to Section 3.2 (customer notice at least 14 days prior to disconnection) and two breaches were related to Section 3.3 (advise customer 24 hours prior to disconnection).

Figure 6.4: Summary of D&D Code breaches

From 42 alleged breaches, 37 alleged breaches did not require investigation and 5 breaches were investigated. Out of the 5 breaches investigated, 5 breaches were confirmed and 0 were not confirmed as a breach.

Table 6.6: Deposit and Disconnection Code confirmed breaches by service provider

 

 

Topics and Trends

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

In 2020-21, Canadians filed 17,003 complaints about their service providers, up 9% from last year.

Overview

This year’s data captures a full year of Canadians living through the pandemic, which began midway through the CCTS’ last (2019-20) Annual Report period. During the pandemic, Canadians relied increasingly on their communications services, especially to work and learn remotely. For details about Canadian online behaviour during the pandemic, see the Statistics Canada article “Internet use and COVID-19: How the pandemic increased the amount of time Canadians spend online.”

Notwithstanding the increase in complaints, the CCTS successfully resolved 88% of customer complaints in 2020‑21.

These 17,003 complaints raised just over 42,000 issues that fell within the CCTS mandate. A single complaint can contain multiple issues, which can be seen by the disproportionate number of issues raised compared to complaints received.

Wireless issues continue to be raised most often, representing 44% of all issues raised. Internet issues continue to be in second place, accounting for 31% of issues. Internet issues increased by 12% since last year, which may reflect customers’ increased reliance on internet services due to the pandemic.

Table 7.1: Number of issues by service type, YoY change

Figure 7.1: Five-year view of issues by service type

NOTE: TV complaints were not in the CCTS mandate until September 1, 2017.

 

“Your organization relieved the stress and anxiety caused by trying to deal directly with my service provider.”

Spotlight on wireless

  • Wireless is still the most complained-about service.
  • Like last year, wireless issues account for 44% of all issues even though the number of times customers raised wireless issues declined for the second year in a row.
  • Wireless customers raised disclosure issues 11% more often than last year. These issues are about customer concerns that information is not being fully or clearly provided. Disclosure is the leading issue among wireless customers, accounting for 18% of all wireless issues.

  • Incorrect charge is the number two issue for wireless customers, up 16% from last year and accounting for 14% of all wireless issues.
  • Wireless device financing plan issues almost doubled this year (a 97% increase).
  • Issues relating to delayed or missed activation dates also increased by 58%.
  • Wireless customers also complained more about being unable to port their service to a new provider (a 50% increase) and being unable to cancel their service (a 39% increase).
Figure 7.2: Five-year view of wireless issues
Table 7.2: Top 10 wireless issues
Issue Number Proportion YoY (%)
Disclosure issues 3,238 18% 11%
Incorrect charge 2,493 14% 16%
Breach of contract 1,348 7% 5%
Quality of service 1,196 6% 0%
Credit/refund not received 1,069 6% 2%
Credit reporting 776 4% 1%
Data charges 638 3% -40%
Material contract change without notice 488 3% -8%
Legitimacy of early termination fee (ETF) 402 2% 3%
Unable to cancel 366 2% 39%
Figure 7.3: Five-year view of internet issues

 

Spotlight on internet

  • Internet issues account for 31% of all issues raised.
  • Customers raised internet issues 12% more often than last year.
  • The increase in internet issues is largely driven by customers complaining more often about the quality of their internet service. The quality of internet service issue was raised in this year’s complaints 48% more often than last year. Internet quality of service now accounts for 19% of all internet issues, up from 14% last year.
  • Incorrect charge and disclosure issues remain tied as the number two issue, with each accounting for 11% of all internet issues.
  • There are significant increases in some other internet issues:
    • Internet data usage billing issues increased by 67%.
    • Breach of contract issues increased by 53%.

Table 7.3: Top 10 internet issues
Issue Number Proportion YoY (%)
Quality of service 2,532 19% 48%
Incorrect charge 1,471 11% -2%
Disclosure issues 1,414 11% -6%
Breach of contract 842 6% 53%
Credit/refund not received 780 6% 32%
Complete loss of service 518 4% 24%
Legitimacy of early termination fee (ETF) 498 4% 13%
Equipment charges 443 3% 52%
Credit reporting 408 3% 23%
Regular price increase of monthly price plans 377 3% -25%

Spotlight on TV

  • TV issues account for 12% of all issues, decreasing for the second time in the last three years.
  • Incorrect charge is the leading issue, accounting for 16% of all TV issues.
  • Disclosure issues are in second place, accounting for 15% of all TV issues.
  • Quality of service issues account for 9% of all TV issues, up 21% from last year despite a decrease of 13% in the total number of TV issues.
  • Issues about equipment charges increased by 61% from last year, accounting for 5% of all TV issues.
Figure 7.4: TV issues, year-over-year view
Table 7.4: Top 10 TV issues
Issue Number Proportion YoY (%)
Incorrect charge 827 16% -12%
Disclosure issues 779 15% -15%
Quality of service 467 9% 21%
Credit/refund not received 307 6% -4%
Breach of contract 256 5% -8%
Equipment charges 239 5% 61%
Regular price increase of monthly price plans
213 4% -36%
Credit reporting 203 4% 11%
Customer cancellation due date not kept/delayed 160 3% -22%
Invoices not received 136 3% 24%

 

Figure 7.5: Five-year view of phone issues

Spotlight on phone

  • Local phone service (landlines) accounts for 12% of all issues, down for the second year in a row.
  • Incorrect charge and disclosure issues are the top two issues. Incorrect charge issues account for 13% while disclosure issues account for 10% of all local phone issues.
  • Quality of service issues increased by 36% and are the number three issue, accounting for 9% of all local phone issues.
Table 7.5: Top 10 phone issues
Issue Number Proportion YoY (%)
Incorrect charge 674 13% -18%
Disclosure issues 522 10% -24%
Quality of service 434 9% 36%
Legitimacy of ETF 283 6% -5%
Complete loss of service 243 5% 2%
Breach of contract 241 5% -5%
Credit/refund not received
219 4% -14%
Unable to port 182 4% -15%
Customer cancellation due date not kept/delayed 177 4% 1%
Regular price increase of monthly price plans 165 3% -39%

 

Breakdown of issues across all service types

Just like last year, disclosure issues continue to be the top issues raised by all customers, followed by complaints about the incorrect billing of their monthly price plans.

Table 7.6: Top 10 issues across all service types

“Without the CCTS, it is very unlikely that my complaint would have been resolved.”

Disclosure issues

Customers often have concerns about information not being fully or clearly provided. Disclosure is the leading issue raised this year (nearly 6,000 times), a marginal decrease of about 1% from last year.

Disclosure issues account for 14% of all issues across all types of service. Furthermore, over the last five years, disclosure issues have increased by 197%.

Figure 7.6: Five-year view of disclosure issues

Disclosure is the top issue raised by wireless customers and is either the number two or number three issue for internet, TV and phone customers.

Figure 7.7: Disclosure issues by type of service

 

Disclosure issues are raised disproportionately by wireless customers. Although wireless customers account for 44% of all issues raised, they account for more than half of the disclosure issues. Many of the disclosure issues could have been avoided by ensuring that clear, concise and accurate information was provided to customers when they agreed to sign up for service.

Table 7.7 shows disclosure issues for the top 10 service providers. Many providers had a significant increase in disclosure issues from last year despite a 1% decline in overall disclosure issues.

Although Bell Canada (“Bell”) accounts for 25% of all disclosure issues, its customers raised this issue 34% less often than they did last year.

TELUS, Freedom Mobile and Comwave show improvement, with modest decreases in the number of times this issue was raised by their customers.

Table 7.7: Disclosure issues – Top 10 service providers

* The average disclosure resolution rate was 91%.

The most-reported type of disclosure issue is contract conflicts with agreement, which concerns a conflict or mismatch between what a customer has agreed to purchase and what their contract indicates. (The contract is often sent to customers after the transaction.) This type of disclosure issue accounts for 75% of all disclosure issues, up from 69% last year.

The number two disclosure issue is a lack of full disclosure about promotions, which accounts for 12% of all disclosure issues, down from 18% last year.

Table 7.8: Types of disclosure issues, broken down by service type

Contract conflicts with agreement

Of all disclosure issues raised, 75% are the result of a conflict or mismatch between what the customer believes they agreed to purchase (often orally) and what is indicated in their contract, which is sent to them after the transaction occurred. This type of disclosure issue was raised 4,475 times this year — more than half of the time by wireless customers (53%) and 24% of the time by internet customers.

Of the 4,475 times this issue was raised, 94% was after a customer had entered into an agreement at a distance, either over the phone or online. This represents an 18% increase from last year, which likely reflects that consumers are increasingly entering into agreements at a distance in these unusual pandemic times. The remaining 6% of this issue occurred when customers agreed to their contracts in-store.

Figure 7.8: Contract conflicts with agreement issues by type of service

 

The top three service providers with this type of disclosure issue are Bell (26%), Rogers (15%) and Videotron (14%).

Table 7.9: Disclosure – Contract conflicts with agreement: Top 3 service providers
Service provider Number of times issue was raised Proportion of issue
Bell 1,154 26%
Rogers 672 15%
Videotron 624 14%

 

Case Summary

Monthly service charges do not match contract or agreement

A customer contacted the CCTS after attempts to resolve a dispute with his service provider were unsuccessful. The customer told us that he was offered a new wireless plan via text message, which he accepted. He said he was assured the plan would include 6 GB of data for $40 and that he would not need to pay the $45 fee to move his existing number over to the provider. However, he told the CCTS that, after receiving the first invoice, he was charged $55 for the plan and $45 for the number change fee, contrary to what he was promised.

During our investigation, we found that the agreement sent to the customer indicated a monthly price plan of $45 rather than the $55 the customer was billed. Because the customer indicated he was to be billed $40 per month, we also obtained a copy of the call recording. After reviewing the call recording, we found that the customer was indeed advised he would be billed $40 per month.

Section C.1(iii)(a) of the Wireless Code requires that the Critical Information Summary (CIS) provide a complete description of all key contract terms and conditions, including the minimum monthly charge. Because the price in the customer’s CIS was different than what was agreed, we found that the provider was in breach of its requirements.

After further review of the account notes, we were unable to find a promise to the customer to waive the $45 number change fee. However, during our investigation the provider advised that this fee did not apply to the customer and should not have been billed.

The provider corrected the customer’s plan, credited the difference for the incorrectly billed months, and provided a $45 credit for the improper number change fee. The provider also applied a $50 credit as compensation.

We found the resolution presented by the provider to be fair and reasonable.

Key Message

The Wireless Code states that a Critical Information Summary (CIS) and a contract must be provided to customers. The Wireless Code also stipulates that a CIS must provide a complete description of all key contract terms and conditions, including the minimum monthly charge for services, so customers have a clear understanding of the agreement. Service providers must supply clear and accurate information to customers and are expected to honour the commitments made by their employees.

To avoid subsequent disputes, we recommend that customers use electronic communications such as email and webchat whenever possible and that they keep a record of their communications. In addition, customers should check their invoices soon after entering a new agreement to ensure they are being billed correctly.

Case Summary

Mismatch between customer oral agreement and contract received

A customer told us that in January of 2020, she agreed to a 24-month term for TV and internet services for $187 per month in a sales call with her service provider. When she later received a copy of the service agreement, it listed only TV services for $187 per month although she was receiving both services. The customer reached out to the provider requesting a correction to the agreement to include the missing internet service because the written contract did not match their oral agreement. They were unable to reach a resolution, so the customer submitted a complaint to the CCTS.

During our investigation, we listened to the call recording of the sales call and confirmed that the customer was indeed promised both TV and internet services for $187 per month for 24 months. We confirmed that the service agreement did not match the oral agreement that was made with the customer because internet services were not listed.

When we discussed our findings with the provider, it advised that the deficient service agreement had been generated as a result of a system error. The provider confirmed that the customer was receiving both TV and internet services since January of 2020, and provided the customer’s invoices that showed both services listed for the agreed-upon price. The provider stated that it would continue to provide both services for $187 per month until the end of the 24-month term to honour the agreement.

To correct its system error, the provider reprinted the customer’s service agreement to show both services for $187 per month, provided a credit for one month of service, and provided the option for the customer to cancel the agreement without penalty should she choose to do so. We concluded the complaint because we found the remedies offered to be reasonable given the circumstances.

Case Summary

Disclosure issue with early cancellation fees related to device financing

A customer agreed to a 24-month contract for wireless service and a new device but decided to cancel his contract early. The service provider sent the customer a final invoice with two early cancellation fees: $866 and $904. The customer disputed the $904 cancellation charge. When the parties were unable to resolve the matter, the customer contacted the CCTS.

During our investigation, the provider explained that the contract included an “Agreement Credit” and a reduced device price (the retail device price minus the Agreement Credit). Both the Agreement Credit and the reduced device price were device financing plans. The customer was billed two early cancellation fees: one fee for each of these items.

NOTE: Device financing plans enable customers to pay for a new mobile device in monthly installments until the device is fully paid for, usually over 24 months.

We reviewed the agreement and found it outlined that the early cancellation fee was the remaining device balance. However, the agreement failed to clearly indicate that “Agreement Credit” is another term used to describe the device balance. In effect, the contract had created two separate device balances, which resulted in two early cancellation fees.

We determined that the term “Agreement Credit” as used in the Critical Information Summary (CIS) does not satisfy the Wireless Code’s plain language requirement because it is ambiguous, lacks clarity, and could lead to confusion regarding customers’ obligations in the event of an early cancellation. The term could easily be misinterpreted to mean an amount that does not need to be repaid, as happened in this situation — the customer did not understand that there were two early cancellation fees.

As a remedy to this failure, the provider agreed to waive the early cancellation fee related to the “Agreement Credit” ($904) and credited the customer for late payment fees. The customer was satisfied, and the complaint was resolved.

Key Message

The Wireless Code requires clarity when setting out the terms of an agreement, including any financed amounts that may result in early cancellation fees for the customer, both in the contract and in the Critical Information Summary. These are fundamental requirements to ensure that customers are aware of which cancellation fees will apply when they are choosing their service provider.

We strongly recommend that providers review their practices, contracts and critical information summaries to ensure that all early cancellation fees are clearly disclosed, including any repayment of the balance of a device financing plan. Service provider device financing plans should comply with the recent CRTC decision, which clarified that these plans fall under the scope of the Wireless Code, given the inextricable relationship between wireless service plans and device financing plans.

Lack of disclosure about promotions

Another source of disclosure issues is when the customer is missing information about promotions, which accounts for 12% of all disclosure issues (down from 18% last year). Wireless customers disproportionately raised 56% of these issues, up from 50% last year.

Last year we reported that Bell accounted for a disproportionate percentage of these issues, with 40% of disclosure issues relating to terms associated with promotions. Bell customers raised this issue less often this year, and Bell now accounts for 20% of issues arising from lack of disclosure about promotions.

Table 7.10: Disclosure – Promotion details: Top 3 service providers
Service provider Number of times issue was raised Proportion of issue
Bell 142 20%
Rogers 141 20%
Fido 88 12%

Case Summary

Customer unclear about details of promotion

A customer noticed that the price of his internet service had increased by $15 per month. After being unable to resolve his dispute with his service provider, the customer filed a complaint with the CCTS.

The customer told us he was advised that his promotional discounts had ended. However, he was completely unaware that he had been receiving a promotional discounted rate.

We reached out to the provider for documentation and an explanation of the customer’s service pricing. The provider demonstrated in its account notes that the customer had been provided with two different monthly discounts: one for $15 per month lasting 24 months, and one for $5 per month lasting 6 months.

In our investigation, we found that the expiration dates for each discount were listed on each of the customer’s invoices. The provider’s terms of service also stated that a minimum of 30 days’ notice was required for any account changes or price increases. We found that because the provider clearly disclosed the duration of the promotions that were offered, it had the right to cease applying those promotions on the dates disclosed.

Even though it had no obligation to do so, the provider offered to apply the $15 per month discount for another 24 months and to extend the $5 per month discount for another 12 months. The customer acknowledged our assessment that the provider offered a reasonable resolution to the matter and opted to decline the offer. The customer indicated that he wanted to continue negotiating with the provider independently, and agreed to close his complaint.

Case Summary

Customer unaware of eligibility requirements to maintain promotion

A customer went in store prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and upgraded his device. The customer accepted a special offer to receive a $20 discount on his two wireless lines.

On completion of the 24-month contract for the device upgrade, the customer decided to move one of his lines to a competitor, which caused the loss of the $20 discount. The customer contacted the first service provider and was informed the discount was contingent on maintaining two wireless lines, which the customer told us had not been disclosed in store during sign-up. The customer then requested that his bill be reduced to a more manageable amount because he was struggling to pay rent and other bills through the pandemic. The customer was unable to resolve the matter independently, so submitted a complaint to the CCTS.

In discussion with the customer, we advised that we would review documentation, including the service agreement, account notes and invoices. The customer told us that he did not review the agreement prior to signing in store. We confirmed that the customer’s contract did in fact disclose the condition that the $20 discount required maintaining two wireless lines and that the provider had the right to remove the promotional discount when that condition was no longer met. The customer then consented to conclude the complaint based on this information.

Key Message

Given that lack of disclosure about promotions is a significant issue raised year over year, service providers should carefully review their practices to ensure that their employees are properly informing customers about any conditions associated with promotions, such as the time period of a promotion or required services to maintain the promotion price.

At the point of sale, customers should clarify with their providers when and how providers can change the promotion and should consider using electronic communications such as email and webchat whenever possible to keep a record of their communications. Customers should also carefully review their contracts to ensure that any promises are captured there and that they fully understand any conditions for promotions they are offered.

Breach of contract

In the course of providing service to customers, providers are required to follow their own terms of service, agreements with customers, any specific offers they have made to a customer, as well as terms and conditions imposed by the CRTC’s Codes of Conduct. Any alleged failure by a PSP to do so is classified as a “breach of contract”.

Breach of contract is the number two contract dispute issue, accounting for 21% of all contract dispute issues (up from 17% last year). This issue was raised 14% more often than last year.

Wireless customers account for a disproportionate number of this issue. While wireless services account for 44% of all issues, they account for 50% of all breach of contract issues.

Complaints about internet account for 31% of all breach of contract issues, an increase of 53% compared to last year.

Figure 7.9: Breach of contract issues by service type

 

Bell experienced an 18% decrease in breach of contract issues compared to last year. It now accounts for 22% of all breach of contract issues, down from 31% last year.

Fido saw the highest increase for this issue, with an increase of 149%. Fido customers raised breach of contract issues 221 more times than last year. Overall, Fido accounts for 14% of all breach of contract issues.

Table 7.11: Breach of contract issues – Top 3 service providers
Service provider Number of times issue was raised Proportion of issue
Bell 593 22%
Rogers 372 14%
Fido 369 14%

Case Summary

Failure to gain customer consent

A customer submitted a complaint to the CCTS stating that her wireless service was changed from post-paid to pre-paid in error, which generated a new service agreement. The customer told the CCTS that a $45 suspension fee was billed to her account as a result of this plan change, which confused the customer because her service was not suspended and she had not requested a service suspension. The customer was unable to resolve the matter with her provider independently.

During our investigation, the service provider acknowledged that it had erroneously made changes to the customer’s plan without her knowledge or consent. As a reasonable remedy, the provider immediately credited the $45 suspension fee and voided the service agreement that was created in error on the customer’s account. This resolution satisfied the customer.

Case Summary

Failure to provide invoices in agreed-upon format

A customer contacted his service provider after noticing he had stopped receiving his monthly paper invoices beginning in March of 2021. At the pre-investigation stage, the provider told the customer that it had made a unilateral change for all customers to receive e-billing instead. When the customer insisted that he wanted a paper bill, the provider agreed to continue providing paper bills to the customer, starting on the next billing cycle in July.

When the customer did not receive his July invoice by mail, he believed the matter was a breach of the specific promise the provider had made to continue paper billing, and the complaint proceeded to investigation.

In our investigation, we reached out to the provider to determine if the customer had been switched back to paper billing in June of 2021. The provider advised that there had been a system error that prevented the customer’s July invoice from being generated on paper. However, it confirmed that the customer was subscribed to paper billing as of July 2021.

To compensate for its delay, the provider applied a $15 credit to the account, which appeared to be a reasonable remedy given the circumstances. The customer accepted the resolution and concluded his complaint.

Key Message

When a customer alleges a breach of contract, service providers ought to review the root cause of this allegation. Providers should consider, in addition to the obligations they have in their general terms of service, whether specific promises were made to a customer or whether there were any changes to the customer’s services or agreement with the provider that may have resulted in errors that aggrieve the customer.

Billing issues

Billing issues account for 39% of all issues raised. Billing issues decreased for the second straight year, down 6% from last year and 15% from the year before. However, over the last five years billing issues have increased by 116%.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been financially challenging for many Canadians and small businesses. In many complaints about billing issues, customers told us about their struggles to make ends meet and to make every dollar count. We invite service providers to consider how they can be sensitive to customers’ financial challenges and work with customers quickly to resolve any billing issues.

Figure 7.10: Five-year view of billing issues

 

Figure 7.11: Billing issues by service type


Videotron and Comwave customers reported a significant increase in billing issues: 68% and 39% respectively.

While Bell accounts for the highest proportion of all billing issues (23%), this is down significantly from 33% last year and represents a 35% year-over-year decrease.

Six of the top 10 service providers for billing issues saw increases in billing issues despite the overall 6% decrease in billing issues.

Table 7.12: Billing issues – Top 10 service providers

* The average billing resolution rate was 88%.

 

The top billing issues are incorrect charges for monthly price plans followed by credit or refund not received.

Table 7.13: Top 10 billing issues
Issue Number
Incorrect charge 5,553
Credit/refund not received 2,387
Equipment charges 1,070
Regular price increase of monthly price plans 979
Final bill charges after cancellation 813
Invoices not received 728
Data charges 638
Late-payment fees 482
Activation/reactivation charges
398
Misapplied payments 379

 

Incorrect charge relating to monthly price plan

Thirty-four percent of all billing issues are about customers being charged incorrectly for their monthly price plans. This issue was raised 5,553 times in 2020-21, making it the number one issue under the billing category. Incorrect charge is also the number two issue overall, accounting for 13% of all issues raised across all types of service.

Incorrect charge is the leading issue for wireless, TV and phone customers. Both TV and phone customers raise this issue disproportionately given their share of the overall issues raised.

Figure 7.12: Incorrect charge to monthly price plan by service type

The top three service providers with billing issues related to incorrect charges to monthly price plans are Bell (24%), Rogers (16%) and Videotron (12%).

Fido and Videotron customers contributed the most to the increase. Fido, although not a top 3 provider for this issue, had an increase of 41%. Videotron saw an increase of 52% for incorrect charge issues.

Table 7.14: Incorrect charge to monthly price plan by service type – Top 3 service providers
Service provider Number of times issue was raised Proportion of issue
Bell 1,357 24%
Rogers 906 16%
Videotron 661 12%

 

Case Summary

Incorrect charge for service after service change

A wireless customer contacted the CCTS because he claimed he was being billed incorrectly for monthly services. The customer had requested the removal of a $10 per month roaming feature add-on to his wireless service plan because he no longer needed roaming minutes. The customer stated the service provider agreed that he would continue to receive the same phone plan (minus the roaming feature) for $35 per month. The customer said that after he removed the $10 per month roaming feature, his monthly invoice was $43 instead of the expected $35. The customer was unable to resolve the matter with his provider directly.

In our investigation, we requested an explanation from the provider of what occurred along with the account notes, invoices and any applicable service agreements. After reviewing the documentation and receiving the provider’s response, we found that the provider changed the customer to a different monthly plan for $35 per month with a voicemail add-on for $8. The provider was unable to demonstrate that either of these plan changes were disclosed to or agreed to by the customer.

To fix the issue, the provider credited the $8 per month voicemail charges. In addition, the provider offered one month of free service ($35 plus tax) and a $10 per month credit for six months, which appeared reasonable given the circumstances. The customer accepted the resolution, and the complaint was resolved.

Case Summary

Misunderstanding about account balance

A small business customer with three services (phone, internet and TV) stated that during a COVID-19 lockdown his service provider reassured him that the business would not be charged for monthly services for 90 days because his business would be unable to operate during that time. The customer said he continued to receive charges for service during the 90-day period and was unable to resolve the complaint independently, so he submitted a complaint to the CCTS.

In our investigation, we listened to the call recordings, where we found that the customer was misinformed regarding his account balance. In the recording, the provider advised the customer that the account reflected zero dollars owing when in fact the account balance was $123. The CCTS brought this finding to the provider, which issued a $123 credit to the customer’s account as a remedy for its error.

After reviewing all other available documentation, we were unable to confirm a promise to the customer that the provider would waive all service charges for 90 days during the lockdown. The customer accepted our assessment and the credit offered and concluded the complaint.

Key Message

We encourage customers to review their detailed monthly invoices to ensure they are being billed correctly. When in doubt, customers should follow up with their service provider immediately regarding any unusual charges or discrepancies.

Billing issues can stem from a lack of clear information, which may result in customer expectations not being met or suspicions of being incorrectly charged. We urge providers to strive for greater clarity when setting billing expectations and to work with customers to resolve billing disputes.

Credit/refund not received

This year, customers raised concerns about not receiving a promised credit or refund 2,387 times. This is a 7% year-over-year increase despite a 6% decrease in overall billing issues, making credit or refund not received the number two billing-related issue. This issue accounts for 15% of all billing issues.

Figure 7.13: Credit or refund not received issues by service type

 

Customers raised concerns about not receiving a promised credit or refund 7% more often than last year. Internet customers were impacted the most, having complained about this issue 32% more often than last year. Internet customers now account for 33% of all such issues.

The top three providers for this issue are Bell, Videotron and Rogers.

Fido, although not part of the top 3 providers, accounts for the greatest increase in the credit or refund not received issue from internet services — an almost 1,000% increase from last year.

Table 7.15: Credit or refund not received – Top 3 service providers
Service provider Number of times issue was raised Proportion of issue
Bell 497 21%
Videotron 361 15%
Rogers 312 13%

 

Case Summary

Customer charged for router that he never had

A long-time customer of an internet service provider cancelled service prior to moving. Shortly after, he received a letter from the provider advising that he had an outstanding balance for an internet router, which the customer told us he never had. The customer opted to make the payment but continued to dispute the charges. The provider maintained that the charges were valid in full, so the customer brought his complaint to the CCTS.

In our investigation, we requested documentation to demonstrate that the charges were valid and the customer possessed the router. The provider did not submit the requested documentation and instead responded by issuing a credit for the disputed charges and correcting the customer’s credit report. The resolution appeared reasonable, and the customer was satisfied.

Case Summary

Customer requires refund for cancellation during trial period

A wireless customer, who self-identified as a person with a disability, decided to cancel her services and return her device during the extended 30-day trial period provided to persons with disabilities under the Wireless Code (section G.4(iv)). The customer told us she expected a refund for the amounts she had paid prior to cancelling, but the service provider had instead processed a credit to her account. The customer wanted a refund so she could move to a new provider. She filed a complaint with the CCTS.

During our investigation, we considered the provider’s terms of service. We found that the terms of service did not require the provider to issue a refund rather than a credit. We spoke to the provider and asked if it would be willing to refund the credited amount to the customer. To resolve the complaint, the provider agreed to refund the credit balance to the credit card on file. The customer was satisfied with the resolution and concluded her complaint.

Case Summary

Missing credits for roaming charges

A customer was travelling overseas and using an $8 per day service that allowed her to use her domestic wireless plan while abroad. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was required to lengthen her stay, so she contacted her service provider regarding the roaming charges being incurred during this time. The customer later told the CCTS that the provider agreed to waive all roaming fees from March through June of 2020. However, she continued to receive monthly invoices that included the daily roaming service fees, which she disputed. The parties were unable to resolve the dispute, leading the customer to contact the CCTS.

In our investigation, we asked whether the provider promised to waive all roaming charges from March through June. The provider supplied its account notes for our review, which demonstrated that it had offered to waive roaming fees from March 18 to April 30 for all customers. The provider also demonstrated that the customer had received some adjustments to her roaming charges during this period; however, some charges remained.

To remedy this error, the provider confirmed it would apply the missing credits for roaming charges incurred between March 18 and April 30. In addition, the provider credited the late payment fees incurred on the account as part of the resolution to the complaint. The customer accepted the resolution.

Service delivery issues

Customers raised concerns about service delivery 11,130 times this year, up 9% from last year. These issues account for 26% of all issues raised by customers, up from 24% last year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in Canadians spending much more time online for a variety of activities: remote work, remote learning, access to medical care, keeping in touch with loved ones, ordering essential items, and leisure activities such as watching movies and streaming live video. For details about Canadian online behaviour during the pandemic, see the Statistics Canada article “Internet use and COVID-19: How the pandemic increased the amount of time Canadians spend online.”

The increase in service delivery issues this year may be related to this greater reliance on communications services during the pandemic.

Over the last five years, service delivery issues have increased by 199%.

Figure 7.14: Five-year view of service delivery issues

 

Internet customers raised concerns about service delivery issues 4,740 times (43%), a disproportionately high amount given that internet customers make up 31% of all issues raised.

Figure 7.15: Service delivery issues by service type

 

Of the 10 service providers with the most service delivery issues, Comwave, Videotron and Fido customers reported significant increases in these issues, with increases of 117%, 51% and 44% respectively. Koodo, although not in the list of providers for this issue in Table 7.16 below, had a 40% increase in the number of service delivery issues raised.

Table 7.16: Service delivery issues – Top 10 service providers

* The average service delivery resolution rate was 86%.

 

In the service delivery category, problems with quality of service are the top issue reported. Quality of service accounts for 42% of all service delivery issues, up from 36% last year. Complete loss of service is in second place, accounting for 11% of all service delivery issues.

Table 7.17: Top 10 service delivery issues
Issue Number
Quality of service 4,651
Complete loss of service 1,206
Customer cancellation due date not kept/delayed 1,017
Unable to cancel 948
Install/activate due date not kept/delayed 829
Non-payment/collections 693
Unable to port 499
Service repair/loss due date not kept/delayed 439
Installation error 324
Seasonal suspension 119

Quality of service

Customers raised concerns about the quality of their service 28% more often than last year, raising this issue over 4,600 times across all types of service. Quality of service, such as when service is inadequate or intermittent, is an area of increasing concern for customers.

Table 7.18: Quality of service issues – Top 3 service providers
Service provider Number of times issue was raised Proportion of issue
Bell 791 17%
Rogers 685 15%
Xplornet 460 10%

For internet customers, quality of service is the leading issue. Internet customers raised this issue 825 more times than last year, a 48% increase. Moreover, internet customers raised this issue disproportionately: internet service issues account for 31% of all issues but 54% of quality of service issues. This may be indicative of customers’ increased reliance on internet connectivity and increased service demands with remote work and virtual schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figure 7.16: Quality of service issues by service type

 

Wireless customers account for the second highest proportion of quality of service issues at 26%, down from 33% last year.

Just like last year, customers in rural areas of Canada raised more internet quality of service issues than customers in urban areas. While only 11% of all issues are raised by rural customers, 21% of all internet quality of service issues are raised by rural customers. (Our classification of areas as “rural” or “urban” is as designated by Canadian postal codes.)

Xplornet customers complained about the quality of their internet service 74% more often than last year. Xplornet accounts for 17% of all internet quality of service issues, which is a large proportion given that it accounts for only 6% of all issues about internet services.

Videotron, Rogers and Comwave saw a significant increase in the number of internet quality issues reported, with increases of 162%, 122% and 114% respectively.

Table 7.19: Internet quality of service issues – Top 10 service providers

* The average resolution rate for internet quality of service issues was 87%.

 

Sometimes customer expectations cannot be met because of technology limitations inside their home (e.g., their device, distance from the wireless router, or the number of devices connected to the network) or because of other factors such as network congestion during certain times of day. Other times, customers are not aware that speeds are often advertised as “up to” a specified Mbps, meaning that the advertised speeds may not be reached. Full and proper disclosure of service limitations to customers would help to decrease complaints.

Case Summary

Ongoing internet service issues

A customer in a rural area told us that she switched home internet service providers because she required a stable connection to work from home and conduct online meetings. The customer stated that her new provider had assured her that the new service would meet her needs. However, two weeks into the new service, the customer was receiving download speeds of only 1 Mbps for most of her work although she had a 10 Mbps plan. After spending hours troubleshooting the issue with the provider with no resolution, the customer brought her dispute to the CCTS.

During our investigation, we reviewed the provider’s terms of service. We explained to the customer that the provider’s terms of service do not guarantee internet speeds and that there are many factors that could affect internet speed and performance.

During discussions with the customer, we were able to clarify her goal, which was to reduce the cost of the service to better match the speeds she was receiving and remove the cancelation penalty should she decide to cancel the service at any time.

We brought this request to the provider, which offered the customer a $40 per month discount for six months. As a goodwill gesture, the provider also agreed to remove the cancelation penalty if the customer decided to cancel service at any time. The customer was content with the resolution and concluded the complaint.

Case Summary

Troubleshooting issues with internet and TV outages

A customer submitted a complaint to the CCTS after experiencing numerous internet and TV service outages from February through August of 2020 that his service provider was unable to address to his satisfaction. The customer specifically disputed over 50 days of service delivery issues. The customer asked for compensation for half of the cost of his services from February through August.

In our investigation of the complaint, we reviewed the provider’s terms of service, which stated that it does not guarantee uninterrupted performance of its internet and TV services, and that the customer’s internet speed was provided on an “up to” basis, to signal to customers that advertised speeds might not be reached. The provider’s terms of service also direct customers to contact the provider for technical support when experiencing technical issues.

We then requested the provider’s policies and processes for troubleshooting to ensure that the service provider followed its own processes. In review of the account and technician notes, we identified nine incidents where the customer reported either intermittent service delivery or complete loss of service issues to his service provider. The reviewed notes showed that the provider followed its troubleshooting process except in two of the customer’s reported incidents. We found that the provider could not demonstrate that it had followed its own troubleshooting processes in these instances.

We also requested the customer’s internet usage records, which confirmed that the customer had reasonable access to his internet services during the time period because his average usage volume was over 400 GB per month. Our review of the provider’s available internet plans suggested that the customer was on the best plan for his needs, based on the customer’s usage and pricing.

As a resolution to the complaint, the provider offered the customer a credit of $234.50, which the CCTS determined was a reasonable remedy given the provider’s failure to demonstrate that it had followed its own troubleshooting processes for two of nine reported instances of service delivery issues.

Key Message

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased customers’ demands for reliable internet connectivity to support remote work and learning. Service providers are aware of these high expectations on quality of service and we encourage them to be responsive to customer issues, help customers troubleshoot issues, and keep customers informed.

We urge providers who are dealing with customer complaints to thoroughly explore the cause of the mismatch between their offers and the service quality the customer is receiving, and to work with customers to explore appropriate plans for the customer’s usage and pricing needs. For example, if a customer is receiving a significantly lower speed than the advertised “up to” speed, a provider could consider whether a lower-tier plan better matches the customer’s actual received speeds.

Credit reporting issues

Credit management issues account for 4% of all issues. Credit management issues have increased by 141% over the last five years.

Figure 7.17: Five-year view of credit management issues

 

Credit reporting issues are a subset of credit management issues, and the vast majority of credit management issues are about credit reporting.

Credit reporting issues increased by 6% from last year, driven mainly by internet and TV customers. Wireless customers account for just over half of credit reporting issues (55%).

Figure 7.18: Credit reporting issues by service type

 

Bell had 313 credit reporting issues this year, accounting for 21% of all credit reporting issues and down from 26% last year.

Rogers’ credit reporting issues increased by 35% since last year. Rogers had 274 credit reporting issues, accounting for 19% of all credit reporting.

Table 7.20: Credit reporting issues – Top 3 service providers
Service provider Number of times issue was raised Proportion of issue
Bell 313 21%
Rogers 274 19%
TELUS 152 10%

Although not among the top three service providers for credit reporting issues, the number of times Videotron, Shaw and Freedom Mobile customers raised this issue increased significantly — 70%, 56% and 52% respectively.

Case Summary

Incorrect negative credit report damages customer’s credit rating

A wireless customer noticed that a missed payment was negatively reported to the credit reporting agency. The customer told us he had made the payment via credit card on time, but the provider said the payment was reversed. The customer’s credit card statements did not show any payment reversal, so the customer requested proof of reversal from the provider and correction to the negative credit report. The customer filed a complaint with the CCTS when he was unable to resolve this with his service provider.

At the pre-investigation stage, the provider clarified to the customer which payments were made and reversed, confirmed that the customer had made the payment on time, and scheduled a follow-up to confirm that the customer’s account balance was zero. The provider reported the complaint as resolved, but the customer disputed this because the issue of the negative credit report correction was outstanding. The customer said that the incorrect report of an unpaid bill dramatically affected his credit score, and his loan applications were rejected because of this issue.

During our investigation, the provider said it would check if a negative report was sent regarding any late payment notices. The customer provided a copy of his credit report demonstrating that the provider had indeed reported negative information regarding late payments to the credit bureau.

We then requested evidence from the service provider that it had taken steps to correct the negative credit reporting. The provider provided us its account notes, which showed that the correction was issued to the credit bureau. The provider also advised that the customer should check his credit report later in the month or the next month. Given the details of the complaint, the correction of the negative information appeared to be a reasonable resolution. The customer accepted the explanation and concluded the complaint.

Case Summary

Customer unaware of provider’s credit reporting policy

A small business wireless customer contacted their service provider during the COVID-19 pandemic advising that due to substantial losses to their business during this time, they were having great difficultly settling their business expenses. The customer came to a payment arrangement with the provider and later told the CCTS that they were reassured this would avoid any negative remarks to their credit report. The customer stated they met the payment arrangements made with their provider but months later discovered delinquency on their credit report due to these same payments. The customer was unable to come to a resolution with the provider independently, so brought the complaint to the CCTS.

In our investigation we reviewed all available documentation, including the call recording from the date the arrangement was made. Our investigation found that the provider’s usual procedure, per its terms of service, is to continue to report payments as late even with a payment arrangement. Its payment arrangement policies stipulate that the arrangement will suspend collection calls and/or service suspensions when an account has a past due balance but does not prevent credit reporting from occurring.

After listening to the call recording with the customer and reviewing the account notes, we did not find evidence that the provider agreed to suspend the credit reporting. We explained to the customer that the provider appeared to have met its obligations, and concluded the complaint.

Case Summary

Provider accurately reports payment history

A customer made a complaint to the CCTS about negative information on her credit report. The customer had cancelled her wireless service and received a final bill of $250. She said she made regular payments to her account, finally paying off the final bill exactly 90 days after she received it. She also stated that her service provider was aware she had every intention of paying off her balance because she was making regular payments to the account.

During our investigation, we reviewed the provider’s terms of service, which stated it has the right to report any late payment activity on the account to credit reporting agencies. We also reviewed the provider’s internal policies and procedures for credit reporting. We then reviewed the customer’s invoices and payment history, month by month. We found that the customer had made irregular payments to her final invoice well past the due date stated on the invoice. The provider had the right to report late payments to the credit reporting agency, in accordance with its terms of service. Based on our analysis, it appeared as though the provider met its obligations. The customer accepted our explanation and concluded the complaint.

Key Message

Customers expect full disclosure surrounding credit matters because this can affect them long-term. This year has been stressful for many Canadians, who have struggled with the various hardships brought on suddenly through the COVID-19 pandemic, such as financial uncertainty.

Service providers are aware of the impact that negative information on a credit report can have and should provide up-front clarity regarding their credit reporting and payment arrangement policies when an arrangement is made. We encourage providers who are dealing with customers’ complaints about credit reporting to look into the reason behind these discrepancies between what customers are saying was promised and the service provider’s policies.

Working with Service Providers

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

The CCTS’ role is to help customers and Participating Service Providers (PSPs) resolve disputes.

When customers and PSPs are unable to resolve their disputes, the CCTS investigates to determine how they should be concluded. The CCTS works to identify the key drivers of consumer complaints so that PSPs can better understand and consider internal changes to address their customers’ issues.

In this section, we present the results for those PSPs that have been the subject of the greatest number of complaints and also discuss our Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program.

Top 25 Participating Service Providers

Table 8.1: Top 25 PSPs by complaints accepted

* The number of concluded complaints can be higher than the number of accepted complaints because some complaints received in 2019-20 were also concluded in 2020-21.
† The resolution rate is the percentage of all resolved complaints vs. all concluded complaints (88.4% overall).
‡ The escalation rate is the percentage of all escalated complaints vs. all concluded complaints (23.1% overall).

NOTE: Where a complaint remains unresolved after the pre-investigation or initial referral period, the complaint escalates to a CCTS investigation.

 

Together, the top 25 PSPs account for 94% of all accepted complaints in 2020-21. The Top 10 are discussed in more detail later in the Top 10 PSP profiles section.

There are a few changes to the list of service providers that fall into the Top 25 PSPs list this year.

Of the providers in the preceding table, Rogers, Fido, Videotron, Xplornet, Chatr Wireless, Carry Telecom and Suntel experienced large increases in the number of complaints since last year, well above the year-over-year increase of 9% for overall complaints.

Suntel moved into the Top 25 list in 2020-21 with a 214% increase in complaints. Suntel was a small internet, TV and home phone reseller, with customers subscribed to pre-paid services.

In August of 2020, Suntel closed and stopped providing services to customers. Many Suntel customers abruptly lost service, were unable to reach the provider, and were unable to recover funds already paid towards their pre-paid services. Suntel customers complained about complete loss of service, breach of contract and not receiving refunds.

Most of these complaints were unresolved (3% resolution rate), and all complaints were escalated to investigation because Suntel did not attempt to resolve disputes with its customers. The CCTS closed all the complaints because the company was no longer in business, and terminated Suntel’s participation on January 27, 2021.

While situations such as this are rare, where a provider goes out of business, customers can be left without any recourse.

Carry Telecom also moved into the Top 25 list in 2020-21 due to a 104% increase in complaints. The main issues raised were regular price increase of monthly price plans (an issue that was not raised by Carry Telecom customers last year), quality of service (a 153% increase) and disclosure issues (a 211% increase).

In 2019-20, we reported that Cogeco had a significant decrease in complaints after reporting a very high increase in 2018-19. In 2020-21, Cogeco continued to see a decline in complaints.

Top 10 Participating Service Providers profiles

In this section, we identify areas of good performance as well as areas of improvement for the top 10 PSPs.

 

Figure 8.1: Top 10 PSPs by complaints accepted

 

Figure 8.2: Top 10 PSPs by resolution rate

NOTE: The global average resolution rate was 88.4%

Bell

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Bell complaints decreased for the second year in a row (by 8% this year) compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Bell accounts for 21% of all accepted complaints, down from 24% last year.
  • Forty-three percent of Bell’s issues are about wireless services, up from 36% last year. Bell’s proportion of wireless issues is now similar to the overall proportion of wireless issues across all providers.
  • TV issues decreased by 46%, a significant decrease in view of an overall decrease of 13% across all providers. TV issues account for 14% of all Bell issues, down from 18% last year.
  • Bell’s proportion of internet issues (27%) is lower than the proportion of internet issues raised across all providers (31%).
  • Bell’s top issue is disclosure. It accounts for 16% of Bell’s issues even though its customers raised this issue 34% fewer times compared to last year.
  • Bell had 29 confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code. This accounts for 30% of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches, up from 15% last year. Of the 29 confirmed breaches, 22 were related to disclosure issues such as failing to include all required information in the Critical Information Summary (CIS), use of plain language in the CIS, and providing inaccurate information to the customer.
  • Bell had 14 confirmed breaches of the Internet Code, accounting for 82% of all confirmed Internet Code breaches. Six of the 14 confirmed breaches were about disconnection issues.

Statistics

3,517 accepted complaints
-7.8% change in accepted complaints 20.7% of all accepted complaints
3,112 resolved complaints
2,332 resolved at pre-investigation 780 resolved at investigation 87.3% resolution rate (global – 88.4%)
48 Code breaches
29 Wireless Code breaches 14 Internet Code breaches 2 TVSP Code breaches 3 D&D Code breaches

Rogers

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Rogers’ complaints increased by 33% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Rogers accounts for 14% of all accepted complaints, up from 11% last year.
  • Wireless issues account for 40% of all Rogers’ issues, down from 51% last year.
  • Rogers’ TV issues increased by 49%, a significant increase considering that overall TV issues decreased by 13%.
  • Internet issues account for 32% of all Rogers’ issues. Rogers’ customers raised internet issues 61% more often than last year, a significant increase considering that overall internet issues rose by 12%.
  • Rogers’ customers raised the following issues more often than last year:
    • internet quality of service issues, up by 122%;
    • credit reporting issues, up by 35%;
    • issues about incorrect charge, up by 30%;
    • disclosure issues, up by 24%.
  • Rogers had 25 confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code. This accounts for 26% of all confirmed Wireless Code breaches, up from 9% last year. Of the 25 breaches, 19 were about failure to give the customer a copy of the written contract or the Critical Information Summary.

Statistics

2,361 accepted complaints
32.6% change in accepted complaints 13.9% of all accepted complaints
2,071 resolved complaints
1,678 resolved at pre-investigation 393 resolved at investigation 87.0% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
27 Code breaches
25 Wireless Code breaches 1 Internet Code breach 1 TVSP Code breach 0 D&D Code breaches

Fido (owned by Rogers)

Wireless Internet

Highlights

  • Fido complaints increased by 49% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Fido accounts for 10% of all accepted complaints, up from 7% last year.
  • Fido’s wireless issues increased by 15% while overall wireless issues decreased by 3%.
  • Internet issues increased by 348%, a significant increase that translates to 20% of all Fido issues, up from 6% last year.
  • Disclosure issues increased by 48%, accounting for 10% of all disclosure issues. Fido saw an increase of 55% in disclosure issues about contract conflicting with agreement.
  • Breach of contract is the most-increased issue raised by Fido internet customers, with 187 complaints this year compared to 7 last year. These internet breach of contract issues account for 30% of Fido’s issues, up from 5% last year.
  • Fido also saw a significant increase in some billing issues:
    • Issues about not receiving a credit or refund by Fido internet customers increased by 943%. This accounts for 24% of all issues raised by Fido internet customers, up from 10% last year.
    • Issues about incorrect charge to monthly price plan increased by 42%.
  • Fido’s confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code decreased by 31%, dropping to 9 from 13 last year. Eight of nine breaches were about Fido not including all required information in the customer’s contract or Critical Information Summary.

Statistics

1,676 accepted complaints
49.2% change in accepted complaints 9.9% of all accepted complaints
1,526 resolved complaints
1,372 resolved at pre-investigation 154 resolved at investigation 91.0% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
9 Code breaches
9 Wireless Code breaches 0 Internet Code breaches

TELUS

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • TELUS complaints increased by 5% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. TELUS accounts for 7% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • Wireless issues account for 48% of all TELUS issues compared to 44% across all service providers.
  • Internet issues account for 28% of all TELUS issues, up 5% from last year.
  • TV issues account for 13% of all TELUS issues, up 2% from last year.
  • TELUS customers raised issues about quality of service 46% more often than last year. This issue also accounts for 15% of all TELUS issues, up from 10% last year.
  • Incorrect charge issues increased by 12% from last year, accounting for 13% of all TELUS issues.
  • TELUS’ confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code decreased by 47%, dropping to 8 from 15 last year. Three of the confirmed breaches were about TELUS not providing accurate information to the customer.

Statistics

1,221 accepted complaints
4.7% change in accepted complaints 7.2% of all accepted complaints
1,084 resolved complaints
897 resolved at pre-investigation 187 resolved at investigation 88.7% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
8 Code breaches
8 Wireless Code breaches 0 Internet Code breaches 0 TVSP Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Virgin Plus (owned by Bell)

Wireless Internet Phone

Highlights

  • Virgin Plus (formerly Virgin Mobile Canada) complaints increased by 13% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Virgin Plus accounts for 7% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • Wireless issues increased by 12% despite overall wireless issues decreasing by 3%.
  • Virgin Plus customers raised internet issues 8% more often than last year. Internet issues also account for 11% of all issues raised by Virgin Plus customers.
  • Disclosure is the number one issue, accounting for 17% of all Virgin Plus issues. This issue increased by 45% compared to last year, and this is significant because overall disclosure issues decreased by 1%.
  • Quality of service issues account for 6% of all issues raised by Virgin Plus customers, an increase of 49% while the same issue increased by 28% across all service providers.
  • Breach of contract accounts for 8% of Virgin Plus issues, a 29% year-over-year decrease.
  • Virgin Plus had six confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code, up from four last year. Four of six breaches were about not providing accurate information to the customer.

Statistics

1,167 accepted complaints
12.6% change in accepted complaints 6.9% of all accepted complaints
1,026 resolved complaints
709 resolved at pre-investigation 317 resolved at investigation 86.7% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
7 Code breaches
6 Wireless Code breaches 1 Internet Code breach 0 D&D Code breaches

Videotron

Wireless Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Videotron complaints increased by 57% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Videotron accounts for 6% of all accepted complaints, up from 4% last year.
  • Wireless issues increased by 57% while overall wireless issues decreased by 3%. Wireless issues account for 28% of all Videotron issues.
  • Videotron internet issues increased by 83% while overall internet issues increased by 12%. Internet issues account for 34% of all Videotron issues. Notably, issues about Videotron’s quality of internet service increased by 162%.
  • Videotron TV issues increased by 82% while overall TV issues decreased by 13%. TV issues account for 26% of all Videotron issues.
  • The top three issues raised by Videotron customers were:
    • disclosure issues (21% of Videotron’s issues, up a significant 75% from last year);
    • incorrect charge (18% of Videotron’s issues, up 52% from last year);
    • credit/refund not received (10% of Videotron’s issues, up 64% from last year).
  • Videotron also saw an increase in a number of issues: contract conflicts with agreement (up by 74%), incorrect charge to monthly price plan (up by 52%), service delivery issues (up by 51%), and credit reporting issues (up by 70%).
  • Videotron had six confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code, up from four last year. All of the confirmed breaches were about disconnection notice issues.

Statistics

1,074 accepted complaints
57.0% change in accepted complaints 6.3% of all accepted complaints
1,017 resolved complaints
877 resolved at pre-investigation 140 resolved at investigation 94.6% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
8 Code breaches
6 Wireless Code breaches 0 Internet Code breaches 2 TVSP Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Freedom Mobile (owned by Shaw)

Wireless

Highlights

  • Freedom Mobile complaints decreased for the second year in a row. While complaints for all service providers to the CCTS increased by 9%, Freedom Mobile complaints decreased by 7%. Freedom Mobile accounts for 6% of all accepted complaints, down from 7% last year.
  • Freedom Mobile customers raised 21 internet issues this year compared to no internet issues last year. Freedom Mobile began offering internet services in 2019.
  • The top three issues raised by Freedom Mobile customers were:
    • disclosure issues (14% of Freedom Mobile’s issues, down 17% from last year;
    • incorrect charge (12% of Freedom Mobile’s issues, up 20% from last year;
    • quality of service (11% of Freedom Mobile’s issues, down 28% from last
  • Freedom Mobile had five confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code, up from one last year.

Statistics

995 accepted complaints
-6.7% change in accepted complaints 5.9% of all accepted complaints
1,014 resolved complaints
842 resolved at pre-investigation 172 resolved at investigation 94.9% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
5 Code breaches
5 Wireless Code breaches

Shaw

Internet Phone TV

Highlights

  • Shaw complaints increased by 13% compared to a 9% increase in complaints for all service providers to the CCTS. Shaw accounts for 5% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • Shaw customers raised 139 wireless issues this year compared to no wireless issues last year. This is likely due to the launch of Shaw Mobile on July 30, 2020. Wireless issues account for 6% of all Shaw issues.
  • Internet issues increased by 11%, accounting for 52% of all Shaw issues, the same proportion as last year.
  • TV issues account for 30% of all Shaw issues, down from 33% last year. This is significant because overall TV issues decreased by 13%.
  • Shaw saw an increase of 53% in quality of service issues compared to an overall increase of 28% for all providers. This issue also accounts for 14% of all Shaw issues, up from 10% last year.
  • Disclosure issues raised by Shaw customers increased by 31% while overall disclosure issues decreased by 1%. Disclosure issues account for 14% of all Shaw issues, up from 12% last year.
  • Shaw had three confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code this year compared to none last year. All of the breaches were about disclosure issues.

Statistics

870 accepted complaints
12.8% change in accepted complaints 5.1% of all accepted complaints
797 resolved complaints
719 resolved at pre-investigation 78 resolved at investigation 90.4% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
3 Code breaches
0 Internet Code breaches 0 TVSP Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Koodo (owned by TELUS)

Wireless

Highlights

  • Koodo complaints increased by 9%, which is equal to the increase in overall complaints for all service providers to the CCTS this year. Koodo accounts for 4% of all accepted complaints, unchanged from last year.
  • The top three Koodo issues are:
    • incorrect charge (14% of Koodo’s issues, up 17% from last year);
    • disclosure issues (12% of Koodo’s issues, up 4% from last year);
    • credit reporting (8% of Koodo’s issues, up 3% from last year).
  • There were some significant increases in certain issues raised by Koodo customers this year. Issues about inability to cancel services increased by 100%, and issues about missed or delayed customer-initiated cancellation date increased by 135%.
  • Last year, we reported a very high number of confirmed breaches of the Wireless Code for Koodo, with 101 confirmed breaches. This year, Koodo’s confirmed Wireless Code breaches decreased significantly, to 4 breaches. All of the confirmed breaches were about failure to include all required information in the customer’s contract or Critical Information Summary.

Statistics

749 accepted complaints
9.0% change in accepted complaints 4.4% of all accepted complaints
702 resolved complaints
647 resolved at pre-investigation 55 resolved at investigation 92.6% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
4 Code breaches
4 Wireless Code breaches

Xplornet

Internet Phone

Highlights

  • While complaints for all service providers to the CCTS increased by 9% overall, Xplornet complaints increased by 35%. Xplornet accounts for 3% of all accepted complaints, up from 2% last year.
  • Xplornet had a 47% increase in internet issues compared to a 12% increase in internet issues across all service providers.
  • Although internet issues account for 94% of all of Xplornet issues because Xplornet is primarily an internet service provider, Xplornet had zero breaches of the Internet Code.
  • The increase in Xplornet’s internet issues is driven mostly by quality of service issues. Xplornet internet customers raised these issues 74% more often than last year. Notably, Xplornet accounts for 17% of all internet quality of service issues, a large proportion considering that Xplornet accounts for only 6% of internet issues. Complete loss of internet service issues also increased by 70%.

Statistics

500 accepted complaints
35.1% change in accepted complaints 2.9% of all accepted complaints
496 resolved complaints
352 resolved at pre-investigation 144 resolved at investigation 91.2% resolution rate (Global – 88.4%)
0 Code breaches
0 Internet Code breaches 0 D&D Code breaches

Monitoring service provider compliance

There are two categories of service provider requirements: the CRTC requirement to participate in the CCTS; and the CCTS requirements that service providers agree to when they become a Participating Service Provider (PSP).

To ensure the CCTS can provide free and effective service to customers when they need it, the CRTC requires companies that provide retail telecom services in Canada as well as licensed TV service providers to participate in the CCTS. We also receive requests from some service providers who wish to participate in the CCTS voluntarily.

Some service providers (typically small providers or new entrants to the business) do not currently participate. Their obligation to join is triggered when one of their customers files a complaint with the CCTS.

We do everything in our power to get these service providers to join, and we’re generally successful. This year it took us, on average, 38 days to sign up a new provider from the time they were informed of their requirement to participate. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some service providers encountered financial difficulties paying the sign-up fees and faced challenges accessing information required for sign-up while working remotely.

In 2020-21, we signed up 27 new service providers. However, some providers refuse to join the CCTS. If we’re unable to persuade them to follow the rules and become a PSP, we refer the matter to the CRTC for further action. Last year, the CRTC issued orders against Rafiki Technologies Inc. and MySignal.ca for failing to sign up with the CCTS when required to do so. Rafiki Technologies has since joined the CCTS while MySignal.ca failed to join the CCTS in violation of the CRTC’s order, and we so informed the CRTC.

After a provider has become a PSP, it is required to adhere to the CCTS obligations outlined in the Participation Agreement, including:

The CCTS regularly monitors PSP compliance with these obligations and engages with PSPs to bring them into compliance. If a PSP continues to be non-compliant, the CCTS has a range of enforcement tools to seek PSP compliance, up to the expulsion of non-compliant PSPs from the CCTS: this triggers a referral to the CRTC for further action.

The CCTS expelled SkyChoice Communications Inc. on April 29, 2021 and referred it to the CRTC on June 21, 2021 for failing to implement a binding Recommendation, cooperate with the CCTS, provide required financial information, and pay CCTS invoices.

In July of 2021, we issued the annual Compliance Monitoring Report, which explains the compliance requirements in detail and provides the results of the CCTS’ compliance monitoring efforts in 2020. The CCTS also regularly updates our Non-compliant providers web page, publishing the identities of providers who were referred to the CRTC for failure to join the CCTS when required or who are expelled from the CCTS for failing to comply with CCTS obligations.

Working with Customers

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

We’re always looking for ways to help customers find out about our complaint-handling process and make it easier for them to access our services. This section discusses our activities and results in 2020-21.

Website

Our website is a key tool for helping customers find us. According to our customer surveys, 34% of customers report first learning about the CCTS through an online search. This percentage is the same as last year.

Our website is also a focus for customers who want to file complaints. In 2020-21, 87% of the complaints we accepted were filed by customers using the “Submit a Complaint” interactive questionnaire on the website. The interactive tool to submit a complaint saw an increase in sessions: close to 59,000 sessions this year, compared to 47,000 sessions last year.

There were close to 373,000 website visits this year, a decrease of 20% from last year.

Accessibility

Providing accessible service to all Canadians, including those with disabilities, is one of our core values. We deliver our service in a manner that accommodates persons with disabilities and reflects the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity, in line with the best practices of the Accessible Canada Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The CCTS consults annually with groups representing Canadians with disabilities. In 2021, we had consultations with participants from five different accessibility groups. During these discussions, we learned that the CCTS could benefit from working more closely with the accessibility community to make sure all consumers know about their right to escalate unresolved disputes to the CCTS. The participants expressed a willingness to help us spread the word within their networks. The CCTS will continue to work with these groups and provide materials to help with this process.

Accessibility groups explained that their communities have particular information access barriers that may make it harder for them to learn about the availability of the CCTS from the existing Public Awareness Plan obligations. We also learned that some functionalities on the CCTS website could be improved for users with disabilities. We will consider how best to address these issues in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

As an information gateway to our complaint-handling service, it is crucial that our website serves all consumers. As such, we regularly scan our website to ensure that our online self-serve tools and content meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and that we plan website updates to meet accessibility standards. All of the CCTS’ videos are closed captioned and have an American Sign Language/langue des signes Québécoise (ASL/LSQ) version. Our publications, such as our Annual and Mid-Year Reports, are in an HTML format.

In 2019-2020, the CCTS formed an Accessibility Committee to regularly discuss and plan the progress of accessibility efforts within the CCTS. In June of 2021, the Accessibility Committee published the CCTS Accessibility Plan, which outlines CCTS’ commitments, policies and planned actions to improve opportunities for people with disabilities. The Committee continues to oversee a number of initiatives that include providing training on accessible customer service to all the CCTS employees, directors, volunteers and others who communicate with the public or third parties on behalf of the CCTS; integrating accessibility best practices early on in the development of new products and decision-making processes; and ensuring an accessible work environment for all employees.

The CCTS continues to track accessibility-related issues that appear in customer complaints, as requested by the CRTC and members of the accessibility community.

For more information about our accessibility policies and guidelines, see our Accessibility web page and our Accessibility Plan.

“The CCTS process exceeded my expectations on how quickly action was taken by my service provider to resolve my reported issue.”

Customer survey results

We survey customers who use our service for two reasons:

  • to get their impressions of the work we do and refocus our efforts for improvement;
  • to attempt to measure the success of the public awareness initiatives we require PSPs to implement.

The results are based on almost 4,000 responses. Numbers for all results are rounded.

We thank the customers who took the time to participate in the survey and share their views.

We are proud that the customer survey continues to show high customer satisfaction levels with the service our staff provides. High customer satisfaction is one of our objectives and we are pleased to see we continue to meet it year over year.

What customers said about the CCTS

We asked our customers for the following information:

Is it important to have an independent organization to deal with telecom and TV complaints that has the authority to provide customers with compensation?

Was it easy to file your complaint with the CCTS?

Feedback on whether the service you received from our customer service representatives met your expectations.

Feedback on whether the service you received from our complaint resolution officers met your expectations.

Feedback on overall sense of satisfaction with various aspects of our process.

Timelines: Did we complete our work in a reasonable amount of time?

Professionalism: Were we professional, knowledgeable and courteous?

Impartiality: Did we act without favoritism to either you or your service provider?

What customers said about service provider public awareness activities

How did you first find out about the CCTS?

Service providers have committed to notify customers about the CCTS during their internal complaint-handling process. We asked our customers:

Did your service provider tell you about the CCTS during your efforts to resolve the problem?

Service providers are required to print a prescribed message about the CCTS on customer bills four times a year. We asked our customers:

Have you ever seen the notice on any of your bills?

Service providers have committed to placing a prescribed notice about the CCTS in a reasonably prominent place on their websites and to include a link to the CCTS website. We asked our customers:

Have you seen this information on the service provider website?

“I was very satisfied with how my complaint was handled by the CCTS. The resolution offered by my service provider, following the submission of my complaint to the CCTS, was reasonable and delivered in a timely manner. I believe that would not have been the case without the intervention of the CCTS.”

What customers said about their interactions with service providers concerning issues

We asked customers about their interactions with service providers before the CCTS became involved.

 

How long did you try to resolve your problem directly with your service provider before bringing your complaint to the CCTS?

 

How many levels of escalation (front line customer service, supervisor, manager, etc.) did your complaint go through with the service provider before you filed a complaint with the CCTS?

Public awareness

Canadians need to be aware of, or be able to easily find out about the CCTS when they need assistance in resolving disputes with their communications service providers. We take seriously the continuing need to ensure public awareness of the services that we provide.

The CCTS undertakes general public awareness activities, such as publishing our Annual and Mid-Year Reports, creating video content for our YouTube page, regular public newsletters, and providing media outlets with information and data. Participating service providers (PSPs) also contribute to building public awareness by carrying out the obligations of the CCTS Public Awareness Plan.

The objective of the Public Awareness Plan is to ensure that information about CCTS is readily available to customers when they need it most — at the time they are experiencing a problem. The Plan sets out a variety of activities to be undertaken by service providers, such as notices about the CCTS on service provider websites, customer bill messages, and informing customers in the course of PSPs’ internal complaint-handling processes.

Our Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program conducts annual audits of PSPs to determine if they are carrying out the CCTS Public Awareness Plan, engages with PSPs to bring them into compliance, and reports on the results of the audit in our annual Compliance Monitoring Reports.

In June 2021, we retained EKOS to conduct a public awareness survey. We survey the public to attempt to measure the success of the public awareness initiatives we undertake, including measuring the degree to which levels of public awareness have changed since the last public awareness survey.

Going forward, the CCTS remains committed to ensuring that the CCTS and its PSPs continue efforts to raise public awareness of customers’ right to recourse to the CCTS in the event of an unresolved dispute with a service provider. The CCTS is reviewing our Public Awareness Plan and will continue to evaluate our public-facing public awareness initiatives to best leverage opportunities to build public awareness about the CCTS.

Public awareness survey results

The results of the June 2021 EKOS public awareness survey are based on 2,061 responses.

The 2021 survey results were similar to those of our 2016 survey. Overall awareness of the CCTS remained stable at 20%. Twenty-six percent of those who have had an unresolved complaint are aware of the CCTS. Though this level of general public awareness is lower than we would like, there is no consensus in the ombudsman community or among academics as to the appropriate level of general public awareness.

The CCTS’ efforts have focused on building targeted awareness through mechanisms that provide customers with timely awareness when they have an unresolved dispute with their service provider. The primary mechanism for building targeted awareness is through the Public Awareness Plan, and through monitoring service provider compliance with their obligations to notify customers on their websites, bills notices, and internal complaint handling processes.

Consistent with the CCTS’ customer surveys, few respondents to the public awareness survey reported learning about the CCTS from their service provider. The primary sources of information about the CCTS are media reports, online searches, and word of mouth. These 2021 survey measurements will be considered as part of the CCTS’ review of our Public Awareness Plan and our consideration of other opportunities to build public awareness about the CCTS.

The survey asked customers for the following information.

Subscription to telecom and TV services

Which of the following telecom and TV services do you or does anyone in your household subscribe to?

Unresolved telecom and TV complaints

In the last few years, have you ever had a complaint or dispute with the company that provides your telecom or TV services that you could not resolve by dealing directly with the company?

Customer recourse in unresolved telecom disputes

As far as you know, if someone has a complaint or dispute with the company that provides their telecom or TV services that cannot be resolved with the company, does the customer have any recourse anywhere to appeal to, or does the company have the final word?

Where to go to resolve disputes

If you had an unresolved complaint or dispute with the company that provides your telecom or TV services, where could you go to get the dispute resolved?

Subgroup: Those aware or not sure that customer has recourse (n=1,460).

Total percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were permitted to select multiple responses.

Aided and unaided awareness of CCTS

Have you ever heard of the CCTS?

How Canadians heard about the CCTS

How did you hear about the CCTS?

Subgroup: Those who are aware of the CCTS (n=401).

Total percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were permitted to select multiple responses.

Incidence of contacting the CCTS about an unresolved complaint

Have you ever contacted the CCTS about an unresolved complaint or dispute with your telecom or TV provider or for any other reason?

Subgroup: Those who are aware of the CCTS (n=401).

Main reason for not contacting the CCTS

What was the main reason why you did NOT contact the CCTS about your unresolved complaint or dispute?

Subgroup: Those who had an unresolved complaint and did not contact CCTS (n=74).

Total percentages add up to more than 100% because respondents were permitted to select multiple responses.

Statistical Reports

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Contact Centre activities

Our Contact Centre received almost 115,000 communications by telephone, in writing and by online chat, down from over 122,000 last year.

Table 10.1: Communications received
Type of communication 2020-21 YoY change
Written correspondence 41,085 -2%
Phone calls answered 69,759 -8%
Chat sessions answered 4,091 4%

 

Phone calls continue to be the most-used type of communication, followed by written correspondence (which includes use of our online interactive questionnaire) and chat sessions. Phone calls and written correspondence decreased this year but chat sessions increased by 4%.

Out-of-mandate issues

The following tables show the number of issues raised by customers that the CCTS could not accept in 2020-21 as they are out of the scope of CCTS’ mandate. The CCTS’ mandate is set by the CRTC, and the CRTC periodically reviews whether the CCTS’ mandate ought to be expanded. The scope of complaints that the CCTS is authorized to receive and examples of services and subjects that fall outside the CCTS’ scope are set out in our Procedural Code.

Table 10.2: Procedural Code Section 3 and Other
Procedural Code Section 3 and Other Number
Section 3.1(a)(i) Internet applications/content 446
Section 3.1(a)(ii) Emergency services 104
Section 3.1(a)(iii) Payphones 5
Section 3.1(a)(iv) Yellow pages/business directories 11
Section 3.1(a)(v) Telemarketing/unsolicited messages 484
Section 3.1(a)(vi) 900/976 calls 26
Section 3.1(b)(i) Digital Media Broadcast Undertaking (DMBU) services 95
Section 3.1(b)(ii) Interactive TVSP services and applications 10
Section 3.1(b)(iii) Broadcasting content 453
Section 3.1(b)(iv) Journalistic ethics 45
Section 3.1(b)(v) TV accessibility issues, e.g., closed captioning and described video 67
Section 3.1(b)(vi) Simultaneous substitution 36
Section 3.1(c)(i) Customer-owned equipment 188
Section 3.1(c)(ii) Inside wiring 42
Section 3.1(c)(iii) Security services 201
Section 3.1(c)(iv) Networking services 497
Section 3.1(c)(v) Pricing 1,242
Section 3.1(c)(vi) Rights of way 295
Section 3.1(c)(vii) Plant/poles/towers 1,221
Section 3.1(c)(viii) False/misleading advertising 466
Section 3.1(c)(ix) Privacy issues 1,044
Other – Aggressive tactics 106
Other – Broadcasting (radio) 39
Other – Broadcasting (television – small business) 56
Other – Broadcasting (television – exempt independent TVSP) 216
Other – Consumer – clarity of offers and promotions (TVSP Code) 99
Other – Not related to service providers (phone/internet scams) 648
Other – Regulated services 42
Other – Spam 55
Other – Hybrid Video on Demand Services 5
Total 8,244

 

The total number of issues reported in this section decreased from 8,866 last year to 8,244 this year.

Complaints about PSP prices remain the top issue even though it decreased by 25%. The CCTS does not accept complaints about how PSPs set their prices or the amount of telecom or television service prices; however, complaints about disclosure of price changes can be accepted. Issues about rights of way doubled (from 144 last year to 295 this year). Issues about networking services and security services increased by 42% and 31% respectively.

Telemarketing or unsolicited messages issues and broadcasting content issues decreased by 31% and 36% respectively.

Complaints about the quality of customer service delivered by providers do not fall within the CCTS’ mandate. However, we track the inquiries we get about these issues.

Table 10.3: Procedural Code Section 4
Issue Number
Section 4.1 Customer service
Language barriers 275
Outsourcing 432
No phone number for customer service 460
Rude representative 2,560
Wait times 2,894
Total 6,621
Section 4.3 General operating practices and policies 4,884
Total 11,505

In 2020-21 there were 11,505 issues, a decrease of 15% from last year.

The CCTS is required to decline complaints for certain situations, in accordance with our Procedural Code. These complaints are tracked and reported in the table below.

Table 10.4: Procedural Code Section 10: Duty To Decline To Take Action
Issue Number
Section 10.1 Service provider not offered opportunity to resolve 1,417
Section 10.2(b) Matter previously or currently with another agency 1,142
Section 10.3(a) Facts transpired more than one year ago 1,874
Section 10.3(b) Facts arose prior to effective date 41
Total 4,474

 

Complaints that customers tried to file in which facts took place more than one year earlier increased by 22%.

Most complaints about a service provider’s failure to accommodate customer accessibility requests are out of our mandate.

There are some accessibility issues that the CCTS will consider to be in-scope; specifically, where a CRTC Code that the CCTS administers contains a requirement to provide an accommodation. The Wireless, TVSP and Internet Codes require an extended trial period for persons with disabilities and also requires that customer contracts and related documents be provided in an accessible format on request.

At the request of the CRTC and members of the accessibility community, we track when customers raise out-of-scope accessibility issues about their service providers. We also refer these issues to the CRTC, which has the mandate to deal with them.


Table 10.5: Accessibility issues

Section Number
Customer service: Indifference to customer’s disability 42
Hearing and speech issues:
Lack of in-store language accessibility
Message relay services (MRS) not available
Video relay services (VRS) not available

0
5
3
Total 8
Mobility issues: Lack of in-store physical accessibility 0
Visual issues:
Contract not provided in alternative format (for home phone and long distance only)
Bills and other information not provided in alternative format

13
0
Total 13
TV accessibility issues 67
Special type of wireless device handset not offered 2
Customer was refused an accessibility plan 2
Emergency services (barriers to accessing emergency services) 6
Policies and operating procedures 17
Other issues 14
Total 171

 

Complaints about the contract not being provided in alternative format increased from 1 last year to 13 this year. Issues about TV accessibility increased from 57 to 67.

Issues about wireless device financing plans

In March 2021, the CRTC issued a decision determining that device financing plans fall under the scope of the Wireless Code. This decision confirmed that the full protections of the Wireless Code apply to wireless device financing plans. To inform future reviews of the Wireless Code, the CRTC requested that the CCTS begin tracking complaints related to device financing plans in our annual and mid-year reports.

Table 10.6: Issues about wireless device financing plans
# of issues in 2020-21 % of all issues in 2020-21 # of issues in 2019-20 % of all issues in 2019-20 YoY change in # of issues raised Resolution rate (global resolution rate – 87.6%)
Device financing plans (wireless services) 142* 0.3% 72 0.2% 97.2% 87.3%

* Fifty-two percent (74) of issues about device financing plans for wireless services in the 2020-21 fiscal year were reported by customers between March 4, 2021 (date of CRTC decision clarifying that device financing plans fall within the scope of the Wireless Code) and July 31, 2021.

A key driver of complaints about wireless device financing plans appears to be a lack of clarity in disclosure at the point of sale.

Small business

In 2020-21, we received 2,722 complaints from small business customers, a 130% increase from last year and 6.4% of all concluded complaints.

When we report our operational statistics, we include the data for all the complaints we dealt with during the year. However, not all complaints are alike. In particular, we know that complaints from small business customers can be quite different from those of individual consumers. The following tables highlight the differences.

The proportion of contract dispute and billing issues for small businesses increased compared to last year. Contract dispute issues are up from 42% to 47%. Billing issues are up from 29% to 31%.

The distribution of small business issues across service types remains largely unchanged from last year.

Table 10.7: Small business complaint subjects vs. consumer complaint subjects
Subject Small business Consumer
Contract dispute 42.4% 30.3%
Billing 28.5% 39.3%
Service delivery 26.5% 26.3%
Credit management 2.6% 4.1%
Total 100% 100%
Table 10.8: Small business complaint service types vs. consumer complaint service types
Service Small business Consumer
Internet access 32.7% 31.1%
Wireless 36.0% 44.2%
Local exchange and VoIP services (including calling features) 30.5% 10.6%
Long distance (including prepaid calling cards) 0.9% 1.0%

 

Table 10.9: Top 10 small business complaint issues
Issue Small business Consumer
Disclosure issues 11.7% 14.2%
Legitimacy of early termination fee (ETF) 10.9% 2.5%
Incorrect charge 10.5% 13.3%
Quality of service 9.8% 11.1%
Breach of contract 5.4% 6.5%
Credit/refund not received 4.6% 5.7%
Auto-renewal 3.3% 0.1%
No consent provided 2.8% 1.3%
Amount of ETF 2.8% 0.8%
Complete loss of service 2.8% 2.9%

Analysis of closed complaints

Our operational statistics show that we closed 2,028 complaints in 2020-21. The following table provides a breakdown of the reasons why those complaints were closed, with reference to the relevant section of the Procedural Code.

Table 10.10: Complaints closed by reason for closure
Complaint Issues %
Closed as duplicate 3 0.1%
Customer withdrew complaint 203 10.0%
Out-of-mandate after further information obtained 20 1.0%
Section 9.1(b) Customer is not authorized to file complaint 10 0.5%
Section 9.1(c) Complaint more appropriately handled by another agency 128 6.3%
Section 9.1(d) Further investigation not warranted 386 19.0%
Section 9.1(e) Customer not cooperative 962 47.5%
Section 9.1(f) Service provider offer is reasonable 142 7.0%
Section 10.1 Service provider not offered opportunity to resolve 3 0.1%
Section 10.2(b) Matter previously or currently with another agency 8 0.4%
Section 10.3(a) Complaint filed outside time limits 161 8.0%
Section 10.3(b) Facts arose prior to effective date 2 0.1%
Total 2,028 100%

 

Compensation analysis

In cases that are resolved as well as in Recommendations and Decisions, customers may receive some form of compensation from their service provider. This compensation can take many forms, including:

  • bill credits
  • bill adjustments
  • free or discounted products and services
  • cash payments

We attempt to record the value of all compensation awarded to customers as a result of the CCTS process. This is challenging because in a significant number of cases (in particular, resolutions that occur at our Pre-investigation stage) we are not provided with the details of the settlement reached between the customer and the service provider.

The total compensation awarded in 2020-21 that we can determine was $2,861,299.72.

Table 10.11: Number of complaints in which compensation was awarded
Compensation range Number of complaints Percentage
< $100 3,381 35.2%
$100 – $499 4,875 50.8%
$500 – $999 881 9.2%
$1,000 – $4,999 449 4.7%
$5,000 or more 14 0.1%
Total 9,600 100%

“I was getting nowhere with my service provider and very frustrated. A friend recommended the CCTS. If it wasn’t for the CCTS I would probably still be waiting for resolution.”

Performance standards

Each year, we set a goal to provide great customer service, and we track our performance across various benchmarks. The following tables show how our performance this year compares to those benchmark targets.

Contact Centre/Pre-investigation

Table 10.12: Contact Centre/Pre-investigation performance standards
Process Target 2020-21
Answer phone calls within 120 seconds 80% 83.9%
Process written communications within 3 calendar days 80% 85.2%

Complaint handling

Table 10.13: Complaint handling performance standards
Process Target 2020-21
Complaints concluded at Pre-Investigation stage within 40 days of acceptance 80% 95.3%
Complaints concluded at Investigation stage within 60 days of referral to Investigation 80% 85.0%

Despite being a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unusual working conditions, we exceeded all of our target benchmarks.

Regional analysis

We receive complaints from customers throughout Canada. Here, we identify the number of accepted complaints by province/territory.

AB BC MB NB NL NT NS NU ON PE QC SK YT
Table 10.14: Complaints accepted by province/territory
Province Complaints Population*
Alberta 1,456 8.6% 4,444,277 11.7%
British Columbia 2,290 13.5% 5,174,724 13.6%
Manitoba 465 2.7% 1,382,721 3.6%
New Brunswick 248 1.5% 783,721 2.1%
Newfoundland and Labrador 128 0.8% 520,286 1.4%
Northwest Territories 8 0.0% 44,991 0.1%
Nova Scotia 300 1.8% 982,326 2.6%
Nunavut 10 0.1% 39,536 0.1%
Ontario 7,978 46.9% 14,789,778 38.8%
Prince Edward Island 72 0.4% 160,536 0.4%
Quebec 3,847 22.6% 8,585,523 22.5%
Saskatchewan 170 1.0% 1,179,906 3.1%
Yukon 21 0.1% 42,596 0.1%
Not specified 10 0.1%
Total 17,003 100% 38,131,104 100%

* Canada, Statistics Canada, Table 17-10-0009-01 (formerly, CANSIM 051-0005)

Governance

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Board of Directors

Our Board is comprised of seven directors who are elected to three-year terms:

  • four independent directors, two of whom are appointed by consumer advocacy groups;
  • three industry directors, one from each of the following groups: the Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs), the cable companies and the other Participating Service Providers (PSPs).

Independent directors

Catherine Aczel Boivie, PhD, ICD.D (Board Chair, appointed October of 2016)


Darlene Halwas

Independent directors: Consumer group appointees

Geneviève Saumier


Catherine Middleton

Industry directors: ILECs

Ruby Barber

Industry directors: Cable companies

Dean Shaikh

Industry directors: Other PSPs

Geoff Batstone

For up-to-date biographies throughout the year, visit our Board of Directors web page.

Board changes

In October 2020, Jacques Bellemare and Marina Pavlović retired after serving on the Board since October 2014. The Board welcomed two new directors appointed by Canadian consumer groups: Catherine Middleton and Geneviève Saumier.

Meetings and director attendance

Committees and working groups: Membership and meetings

The Board has the following committees and working groups. Membership and meeting dates are as follows.

Service Delivery Working Group
Catherine Middleton (Chair), Catherine Aczel Boivie, Ruby Barber.
Meetings: September 29, October 6 (Ruby Barber absent), November 3, December 3 and 23, 2020, and January 15, February 9, March 9 and 10, April 14, May 12 and 17, June 14, July 7, 2021.

Audit Committee
August 1 to October 20, 2020: Darlene Halwas (Chair), Marina Pavlović, Ruby Barber.
October 21 to July 31: Darlene Halwas (Chair), Geneviève Saumier, Ruby Barber.
Meetings: September 14, October 13, and December 16, 2020, and January 14, March 19, April 7 and June 3, 2021.

Corporate Governance Committee
August 1 to October 20, 2020: Catherine Aczel Boivie (Chair), Jacques C.P. Bellemare, Geoff Batstone.
October 21 to July 31: Catherine Aczel Boivie, Catherine Middleton, Geoff Batstone.
Meetings: September 15 and 24, 2020, and January 20, February 18, April 8, June 10 and 17, and July 22, 2021.

Independent Directors Committee
October 19, 2020: Catherine Aczel Boivie, Darlene Halwas, Marina Pavlović, Jacques C.P. Bellemare, Catherine Middleton, Geneviève Saumier.
January 25, April 26, and June 23, 2021: Catherine Aczel Boivie, Darlene Halwas, Catherine Middleton, Geneviève Saumier.

Budget Working Group
Geneviève Saumier, Dean Shaikh, Darlene Halwas
Meetings: May 27, June 4 and 10, 2021.

CCTS budget

The CCTS audited financial statements for 2020-21 can be found in Appendix C.

The CCTS is a not-for-profit corporation originally incorporated under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act. In January 2014 the CCTS was continued under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

The CCTS is funded entirely by its PSPs, based on a formula approved by the CCTS’ members. The service is free for consumers who want to file a complaint.

Large PSPs pay a fee based on the proportion of their revenues to the revenues of all the large service providers. Small PSPs pay an annual fee. All providers pay a fee for each complaint concluded by the CCTS from their customers in the year. New provider sign-up fees and bank interest make up the other sources of revenue.

In 2020-21, the CCTS recorded a surplus, in part because the number of complaints concluded in the fiscal year exceeded the projections made in the CCTS budget. This year we anticipate a surplus, and we have earmarked some of those funds to support costs related to developing the technology and business process improvements that are currently envisioned in the Service Delivery Review project, which is a key part of our strategic planning.

Appendices

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Appendix A – Complaints by service provider

Appendix B – Detailed analysis of issues raised in complaints

Appendix C – Financial statements

Glossary of Terms

Annual Report

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Definitions

Below are some terms used throughout the report and their definitions.

Accepted complaint

A customer complaint received during the year and which falls within the CCTS’ mandate, sometimes referred to simply as a “complaint”.

Alleged breach

When a customer claims that the service provider failed to perform an obligation under one of the four CRTC-developed codes of conduct the CCTS administers (the D&D Code, the Wireless Code, the TVSP Code and the Internet Code) or when a CCTS staff member identifies a potential code breach based on the details of a complaint. Each breach references an individual section of the code. As a result, more than one alleged breach may be recorded in a complaint.

Assessment

The CCTS assesses the information the customer has provided to determine if, based on the mandate, the complaint can be accepted.

Closed complaint

A complaint that was accepted and then subsequently closed. The CCTS may close the complaint for various reasons, including any of the following:

  • The service provider has made an offer to resolve the complaint that the CCTS thinks is fair and reasonable based on the specific circumstances of the complaint.
  • The complaint was found to be without merit.
  • After filing the complaint, the customer either withdrew it or failed to provide the information the CCTS needed to conduct the investigation.
  • The complaint should more properly have been brought before another agency, tribunal or court.

Concluded complaint

A complaint that the CCTS accepted and disposed of by resolving it, closing it, or issuing either a Recommendation or Decision. The complaint may have been accepted during the current calendar year or the preceding calendar year but was concluded during the fiscal year (August to July) in which it is reported.

Confirmed breach

When the CCTS can confirm, based on the investigation, that a provision of a CRTC-developed code has been violated.

Customer not cooperative

When a customer files a complaint but fails to provide the information the CCTS needs to conduct an investigation. In this situation, following multiple attempts to obtain the required information, the complaint is closed.

Decision

A Decision is issued if either the customer or the service provider rejects a CCTS Recommendation. The party rejecting the Recommendation must set out its reasons and the Commissioner will reconsider the Recommendation and issue a Decision. The Commissioner may confirm the original Recommendation or, if the Commissioner concludes that there is substantial doubt as to the correctness of the Recommendation, the Commissioner may modify the Recommendation as appropriate. A Decision is binding on the service provider but not on the customer. The customer may reject it and pursue other remedies.

Further investigation not warranted

When the CCTS determines, after inquiry, that an investigation or a further investigation is not necessary because the CCTS determines that the service provider has reasonably performed its obligations to the customer.

Investigation

The CCTS analyzes the evidence provided and uses this analysis to either suggest ways in which the complaint might be resolved amicably or, if it cannot be, to rule on the merits of the complaint.

Issue

A specific concern expressed by the customer in the complaint. Many complaints raise more than one issue. For example, a customer may complain that their invoice contains a billing error and that the unpaid balance resulted in a service disconnection. This would be considered one complaint that raises two issues.

No breach

When the CCTS investigated an alleged breach and concluded that the service provider did not breach the code in question.

Out of mandate

Complaints about products, services or issues that the CCTS cannot investigate are considered to be “out of mandate.”

Pre-investigation

The stage of the CCTS’ process following referral of the complaint to the PSP by CCTS, in which the parties have 30 days to resolve the complaint, failing which the CCTS will begin an investigation to assess whether the service provider reasonably performed its obligations to the customer.

Recommendation

The complaint was fully investigated. The service provider has not made an offer to informally resolve the complaint or the offer is not found to be reasonable based on the specific circumstances of the complaint. The CCTS will make a Recommendation requesting that the provider take specific actions to resolve the matter.

Resolved

The complaint was informally resolved with the assistance of a CCTS team member to the satisfaction of both the customer and the PSP.

Service provider offer is reasonable

When the service provider makes an offer to resolve a complaint and the CCTS determines that the offer fairly resolves the problem. In this situation, the complaint is closed even if the customer does not agree that the offer is reasonable.