Ontario just passed its own wireless code, promises stronger enforcement than CRTC version

Ontario’s Wireless Services Agreements Act, also known as Bill 60, is now in effect across the province. With similar measures taken to the CRTC’s Wireless Code of Conduct, the biggest difference is enforcement: the CRTC’s Code is a set of guidelines, whereas the WSAA contains within it the power to fine individuals or companies that don’t comply, up to $50,000 and $250,000 respectively.

Under the Act, which came into effect April 1st for all new and amended contracts, carriers must cap cancellation fees at $50, which complements the Wireless Code’s own rules for ECF’s on devices with no subsidy. Carriers must also inform customers whenever changes to a contract are made, or about to be made, and those who flout the rules will be forced to issue a refund for a year of service.

Like the Wireless Code, carriers must ensure that all phone subsidies are paid off within 24 months. There are also new rules regarding advertising, which must make clear the total cost (excluding taxes, of course) of the monthly plan — no more couching hidden fees in the fine print.

While the WSAA may confuse consumers unsure of which law is more enforceable, the Ontario law must defer to the CRTC’s Wireless Code in the event of a conflict.

Similar legislation has already been passed in provinces like Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, but the law is unlikely to do accomplish the one thing Ontario customers want most: lower prices.

[source]Ontario[/source][via]The Star[/via]