Government and Regulatory
Industry Canada – Office of Consumer Affairs
Industry Canada is a federal government department whose mission is to foster a growing, competitive, knowledge-based Canadian economy. Industry Canada’s program areas include developing industry and technology capability, and setting telecommunications policy.
Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) works with both the public and private sectors, using information, research and innovative policy instruments to complement and support consumer protection regulation.
Focus on Cellphones – OCA offers a useful “Guide” and “Checklist” to help inform consumers making decisions about wireless products and services.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
The CRTC regulates and supervises Canada’s telecommunications and broadcasting systems, reporting to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Industry. Its mandate is to ensure that both the telecommunications and broadcasting systems serve the Canadian public.
The CRTC accepts complaints about regulated telecommunications services provided by CCTS’ participating service providers, as well as about many services provided by companies that do not participate in CCTS. To submit a complaint to the CRTC, or contact the CRTC at:
By toll-free phone: 1-877-249-2782
By local phone: 819-997-0313
By toll-free TTY: 1-877-909-2782
For more information on the CRTC’s mandate, please visit the following link: CRTC Mandate
National Do Not Call List
The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) gives consumers a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls and allows consumers to file complaints regarding unwanted telemarketing calls they have received.
If you are a consumer you can choose to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive by registering your residential, wireless, fax or VoIP telephone number on the National DNCL. You can also check your registration, find out how to remove your number from the National DNCL, and file a complaint about telemarketing calls.
To register your number with the DNCL: DNCL Registry
To submit a complaint through the DNCL: DNCL Complaints
You can also contact them:
By Phone: 1-866-580-DNCL (3625)
By Fax: 1-888-DNCL-Fax (362-5329)
By TTY: 1-888-DNCL-TTY (362-5889)
The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency responsible for protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice. Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act. The bureau accepts consumer complaints that fall within the scope of this legislation.
You can also contact them Toll-free: 1-800-348-5358 or:
By Telephone: 819-997-4282
By Toll-free TTY: 1-800-642-3844
By Fax: 819-997-0324
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
The mandate of the Privacy Commissioner is overseeing compliance with both the Privacy Act, which covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s private sector privacy law.
The Commissioner is an advocate for the privacy rights of Canadians and her powers include:
- Investigating complaints, conducting audits and pursuing court action under two federal laws;
- Publicly reporting on the personal information-handling practices of public and private sector organizations;
- Supporting, undertaking and publishing research into privacy issues; and
- Promoting public awareness and understanding of privacy issues.
For matters relating to personal information in the private sector, the Commissioner may investigate all complaints under Section 11 of PIPEDA except in the provinces that have adopted substantially similar privacy legislation, namely Québec, British Columbia, and Alberta. Ontario now falls into this category with respect to personal health information held by health information custodians under its health sector privacy law. However, even in those provinces with substantially similar legislation, and elsewhere in Canada, PIPEDA continues to apply to personal information collected, used or disclosed by all federal works, undertakings and businesses, including personal information about their employees.
PIPEDA also applies to all personal data that flows across provincial or national borders, in the course of commercial transactions involving organizations subject to the Act or to substantially similar legislation.
The Commissioner focuses on resolving complaints through negotiation and persuasion, using mediation and conciliation if appropriate. However, if voluntary co-operation is not forthcoming, the Commissioner has the power to summon witnesses, administer oaths and compel the production of evidence. In cases that remain unresolved, particularly under PIPEDA, the Commissioner may take the matter to Federal Court and seek a court order to rectify the situation.
To obtain information about the application of the Privacy Act or PIPEDA, or to file a complaint, please visit the following link: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner – Investigation and Inquiries
You can also contact them Toll-free at 1-800-282-1376 or:
By Phone: 613-995-8210
By Fax: 613-947-6850
By TTY: 613-992-9190
union des consommateurs
union des consommateurs A Quebec-based non-profit consumer organization whose mission is to promote and defend the rights of consumers, particularly those of modest means.
option consommateurs A Quebec-based non-profit consumer organization whose mission is to promote and defend the basic rights of consumers and ensure that they are recognized and respected.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre
PIAC is a non-profit organization that provides legal and research services on behalf of consumer interests, and, in particular, vulnerable consumer interests, concerning the provision of important public services.
ARCH Disability Law Centre
ARCH Disability Law Centre is a specialty legal aid clinic serving the province of Ontario and is dedicated to defending and advancing the equality rights of persons with disabilities. ARCH was founded in 1979 under its previous name, Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped (ARCH). ARCH is primarily funded by Legal Aid Ontario.
ARCH is a not-for-profit charitable organization whose membership consists of over sixty disability consumer and service organizations.
Better Business Bureau
The BBB’s mission is to promote trust in the marketplace. It collects complaint histories and other information about businesses and provides consumers with reliability reports to better enable them in their purchasing decisions.
The BBB also evaluates businesses against objective standards, permitting only those businesses that meet and uphold those standards to join in supporting the BBB mission.
The BBB offers impartial dispute resolution services to solve problems fast and fairly in a way that helps to preserve a healthy relationship between a business and its customer.
The BBB may handle complaints where:
- The complainant seeks assistance from the BBB to resolve a marketplace issue. Marketplace issues are those within the commercial sector where product/service advertising, buying and selling take place;
- The complainant alleges a problem experienced with the services or products that the company provided or agreed to provide;
To file a complaint with the BBB, please visit the following link: Better Business Bureau
To locate and contact a BBB near you, please visit the following link: Local Better Business Bureau
Established in January of 1993, PhoneBusters is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre managed on a tripartite basis by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Competition Bureau. PhoneBusters plays a key role in educating the public about specific fraudulent telemarketing pitches. The call centre also plays a vital role in the collection and dissemination of victim evidence, statistics, documentation and tape recordings which are made available to outside law enforcement agencies.
The original mandate of PhoneBusters was to prosecute key individuals in Ontario and Quebec involved in telemarketing fraud under the Criminal Code of Canada. Their mandate now also includes facilitating prosecution by United States agencies through extradition, and by the Competition Bureau under the Competition Act.
The data collected at PhoneBusters is a valuable tool in evaluating the effects of various types of fraud on the public. It also helps to prevent future similar crimes from taking place.
For more on how to reach PhoneBusters, please visit: Contact PhoneBusters
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA)
The CWTA is the industry association for Canada’s wireless carriers.
In September 2009 the CWTA released a Code of Conduct for wireless carriers. In investigating complaints about wireless services, CCTS ensures that the wireless carrier has met its obligations under any provision of the Code that is relevant to the complaint.
To see the full text of the Code of Conduct, click here: http://www.cwta.ca/CWTASite/english/codeofconduct.html
The CWTA also administers the Short Code text (SMS) program. This is the process under which consumers can receive commercial messages (also known as “premium text messages) to their cell phone by text message. The CWTA has created the www.txt.ca website, which contains full details of the program and related information about text messaging.
Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) is an independent, non-governmental organization created by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) to administer standards established by its members, Canada’s private broadcasters. With the support of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) and the approval of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), but without the formalities of government sanctions, the Council promotes self-regulation in programming matters by Canada’s private sector broadcasters. The CBSC provides recourse for members of the public who wish to complain about the application of the industry’s Codes and standards.