The CRTC is in the midst of the oral phase of its Review of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.
This proceeding is examining the independence of the agency and its effectiveness in fulfilling its mandate. In addition, the Commission is re-visiting the existing membership requirement.
In its comments, Shaw sets out a strong position against mandatory membership:
Shaw submits that the Commission does not have the legal authority to mandate membership in the CCTS and that it is neither necessary nor appropriate from a policy perspective to do so. Shaw also believes that the funding mechanism for the CCTS is a deterrent to voluntary membership.
In the opening session of the oral proceeding, the Commissioner acknowledged that he does not enjoy a consensus of his Board on a number of issues.
The mandatory membership requirement is contentious and it has already been the subject of a review and vary application. In ruling on that [Decision 2008-46], the CRTC said:
The Commission considers that once the Agency has operated for a few years, consumers would be aware of the organization and would rely upon it to resolve their complaints. In such circumstances, the Commission considers that market forces could be relied upon to ensure sufficiently comprehensive membership in the Agency and, therefore, that mandating membership would no longer be necessary to ensure its effectiveness.
Have the market evolved to the point that consumers will consider membership in the CCTS when choosing a service provider?
As one of the CRTC Commissioner asked, if the competitive marketplace can be trusted to discipline pricing, is there a reason why competition and market forces can ensure that complaints are dealt with as well?