The best and worst provinces for cell phone contracts

But that looks to be changing, at least if recent laws being passed by provinces are any indication. While the CRTC is in the procedure of conducting hearings on the wireless code in Canada, many provinces have taken wireless guideline into their own hands.

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For Quebec residents, cell phone contract legislation is nothing new. The government tabled legislation back in 2009 to protect buyers, which came into effect June 2010. The idea behind Bill 60 was to protect users from long term contracts by limiting serious financial penalties from wireless carriers, clear explanation of monthly rates and all optional services, and the prevention of auto contract extension without explicit permission from the buyer.

In 2012, other provinces started to catch up with Quebec, many putting in place the same types of regulatory measures that are now being discussed in the CRTC hearings. On September 27, Newfoundland and Labrador brought into effect Bill 6, which aims to make wireless contracts easier to understand, the reports. Anybody in the province who signed a contract after that date is entitled to the following conditions:

Contracts must be clear, concise, written in plain language and provided in paper formFixed term contract cancellation fees can not surpass $50, or the left over part of the discount offered on the equipment sold if contract cancellation is before the device was paid in fullThe province can now go to court on behalf of consumers

Manitoba’s protection of wireless buyers also came into effect last September as the buyer Protection Amendment Act (Cell Phone Contracts), ensuring that buyers get paper copies of contracts and that all costs are made clear upfront to the buyer in both ads and contracts.

Residents of Nova Scotia will soon be protected by changes to its provincial buyer Protection Act as it relates to cell phones, too. On May 1, Nova Scotians will be able to cancel their contracts at any time with a bound of $50 in cancellation fees, and businesses will be obliged to outline all possible costs up front.

In Ontario, alike measures were in the procedure of being put in place with Bill 82, called the Wireless Services Agreement Act, 2012, which could bound the cost of cancellation fees and require providers to outline in clear, concise language all details of the agreement in a paper copy of the contract. Unfortunately, Ontario residents are not most likely to see those proposed changes any time soon: the bill was in its second reading when provincial parliament has been prorogued. The lawmaking procedure for all government bills tabled at that time has been stopped, effectively killing Bill 82 as it now stood. The bill will must be reintroduced in the new session of parliament, which begins today (February 19).

A private member’s bill has been tabled in New Brunswick to regulate the wireless carriers in the province, which could offer alike protections as those in Manitoba and Quebec, but there remains considerable work before that could come into effect, if ever.

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Alberta does not now have legal measures in place for the guideline of the wireless business in that province, but the government was vocal in advocating the CRTC’s plans for a national wireless code, proposing a $500,000 good for cell phone providers who do not comply, The Calgary Herald reports. Saskatchewan and B.C. Are both now without formal provincial wireless guideline.

Those provinces that do not now have any guideline in place for wireless industries are now most likely waiting to see what comes of the national wireless code plans by the CRTC before creating their own legislation.

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