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June 2010

CCTS Approves Changes to Procedural Code.

The CCTS Board of Directors and Voting Members have approved a number of important amendments to the CCTS Procedural Code.  These amendments are intended primarily to:

  • Make the Code more open and accessible to consumers, by making the Code more inclusive, changing terminology to provide increased clarity, and broadening the criteria we can use to assess the merits of complaints; and
  • Increase efficiency for consumers and providers by eliminating the requirement in every case of a formalized investigation process, and by enshrining concepts of informal resolution for appropriate cases, and by shortening some time lines.

The new Code takes effect on June 1, 2010 and applies to all complaints, whether received before or after that date.

Highlights of the many changes:

ORIGINAL PROCEDURAL CODE REVISED PROCEDURAL CODE
Open and Accessible
Only “eligible complainants” may file “eligible complaints” “Customers” may file complaints as long as the subject matter is not specifically excluded from our mandate.  They may now formally do so through a “properly authorized representative”
Standard of review is whether the service provider “reasonably performed its obligations pursuant to the applicable contract” Standard of review expanded to include additional criteria for consideration in reviewing complaints.  Commissioner formally authorized to consider service providers’ policies and operating procedures, general principles of law, good industry practice, any relevant codes of conductor practice, and what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances
Compensation awarded to a complainant must be “Direct Damages” Legal concept of “Direct Damages” removed.  A Customer may be awarded monetary compensation in “an amount that is appropriate to compensate the Customer for any loss, damage or inconvenience incurred by the Customer arising directly from the circumstances of the complaint”
Increased Efficiency and Speedier Resolution
  1. All timelines expressed in “business days”
  2. Normal timelines for responses – 20 business days
  3. Service provider objecting to complaint as not being in scope has 20 business days to object
  1. All timelines now expressed in “calendar days”
  2. Normal timelines for responses – 30 calendar days
  3. Service provider objecting to complaint as not being in scope has 15 calendar days to object

No Customer or service provider with an open complaint should be unfairly impacted by these changes.  The Commissioner is specifically provided with discretion to redress any unfairness that may arise

All complaints are subject to formal investigation process Emphasis on informal resolution for appropriate complaints, resulting in shortened handling times.  Formal investigation power remains in place for complaints that cannot be resolved through informal processes
Service provider “may file a written response to an Eligible Complaint” When responding to CCTS about a Customer complaint, the service provider “shall promptly provide any information, document…or other thing that is relevant to the complaint…”
CCTS can take no action on a complaint that is (or has been) under consideration by another tribunal, court or agency CCTS can take no action on a complaint that is (or has been) under consideration by another tribunal, court or agency if that tribunal or agency has the authority to award compensation to the Customer

These changes should improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our process for everyone involved.

The full text of the new Procedural Code can be found here.

A more detailed analysis of the Procedural Code amendments can be found here.