Internet complaints up during pandemic: Report

The CCTS releases its 2020-21 Annual Report


Ottawa (December 6, 2021) – The Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services (CCTS) reports that it accepted over 17,000 complaints between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021 from Canadian consumers about their internet, phone and TV services, which represents a 9% increase year-over-year. This year’s report captures a full year of Canadians living through the pandemic, which began midway through the CCTS’ last Annual Report period.

The report highlights:

  • Over 17,000 complaints accepted
  • CCTS continues to successfully resolve nearly 9 out of 10 complaints
  • Disclosure of information and billing issues were raised the most often
  • The most complained-about services, from highest to lowest were wireless, internet, television and local phone
  • Wireless Code breaches decreased by 48% this year

Of the 405 service provider brands that participate in the CCTS, 10 of them received over 80% of all customer complaints accepted. The report includes a breakdown of complaints by service provider, and the nature of their customers’ complaints.

The CCTS saw a 12% increase in complaints about internet issues, driven by customers complaining more often about the quality of their internet service. Quality of service was the leading issue for internet customers. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians relied increasingly on their communications services, especially for remote work and learning, keeping in touch with loved ones, ordering essential items and leisure activities,” said Commissioner and CEO of the CCTS, Howard Maker. “We encourage providers to continue listening to consumers and actively work with their customers to fix problems as they arise. When they are unsuccessful, we are here to help consumers resolve disputes with their service provider.”

There were 18 confirmed breaches of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)-issued Internet Code. This code ensures that consumers are better informed about their rights and responsibilities to understand Internet service providers’ service contracts, plan prices and promotions. This was the first full year that the CCTS administered the new Code.

The CCTS conducted a public awareness poll and results show that awareness of the CCTS remains stable among Canadians since the last public poll in 2016. “Going forward, the CCTS remains committed to ensuring that Canadians are aware of their right to recourse to our free and impartial dispute resolution process,” explains Mr. Maker. “The CCTS is reviewing its Public Awareness Plan and will continue to develop new outreach initiatives.”

The CCTS is mandated to report publicly on its operations and activities on an annual basis. Customers who are unable to resolve an issue directly with their telecom or TV service provider can file their complaint online for free at for an independent and impartial review.