The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has created this Wireless Code (the Code) so that consumers of retail mobile wireless voice and data services (wireless services) will be better informed of their rights and obligations contained in their contracts with wireless service providers (service providers).

The Wireless Code will

  1. make it easier for individual and small business customers to obtain and understand the information in their wireless service contracts;
  2. establish consumer-friendly business practices for the wireless service industry where necessary; and
  3. contribute to a more dynamic wireless market.

The Code applies to all wireless services, whether purchased on a stand-alone basis or as part of a bundle, and whether purchased in person, online, or over the phone. All service providers must comply with the Code. All sections of the Code apply to postpaid services. The following sections of the Code also apply to prepaid services: A. 1-3; B. 2; E. 1, E. 4, and E. 5; F. 1-4; G. 1-4; and J. 1.

Definitions of terms used in the Code are provided at the end of the Code. Defined terms are indicated in italics and bold the first time they appear in the Code.

If any part of the Code or the customer’s contract is ambiguous, or if it is unclear how the terms of the Code or the contract are to be applied, then the Code and the contract must be interpreted in a manner that is favourable to the customer.

A customer who believes that their service provider is not adhering to the Code should first try to resolve the problem directly with the service provider. If the customer is not satisfied with the service provider’s response, they can contact the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc. (CCTS) as follows:

Mail: P.O. Box 81088, Ottawa ON K1P 1B1
Website: www.ccts-cprst.ca
Toll-free: 1-888-221-1687
TTY: 1-877-782-2384
Email: response@ccts-cprst.ca
Fax: 1-877-782-2924

The Wireless Code – Definitions
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) A public organization that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems to ensure that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system.
Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc. (CCTS) An independent organization dedicated to working with customers and their telecommunications service providers to resolve complaints relating to their telecommunications services. The CCTS (i) responds to and resolves complaints from customers in order to ensure that they are treated in a way that is consistent with the Wireless Code; and (ii) collects data on complaints related to the Wireless Code. This data will be published on the CCTS’s website at www.ccts-cprst.ca.
Commitment period The term or duration of the contract. For fixed-term contracts, the commitment period is the entire duration of the contract. For indeterminate contracts, the commitment period is the current month or billing cycle.
Contract and written contract A contract is a binding agreement between a service provider and a customer to provide wireless services. A written contract is a written instrument that expresses the content of the contract.
Customers Individuals or small businesses subscribing to retail mobile wireless services.
Device subsidy The difference between (i) the lesser of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a device or the price set for the device when it is purchased from the service provider without a contract; and (ii) the amount a customer paid for the device when they agreed to the contract.
Disconnection The termination of wireless services by a service provider.
Early cancellation fee A fee that may be applied when a customer’s service is cancelled before the end of the commitment period.
Fair (or acceptable) use policy A policy that explains what is considered to be unacceptable use of the service provider’s wireless services and the consequences of unacceptable use (e.g. using the service to engage in an activity that constitutes a criminal offence). Violations of a fair or acceptable use policy may result in (i) disconnection or service suspension; or (ii) a modification of the services available to the customer.
Fixed-term contracts Contracts that have a set duration (usually one, two, or three years).
Indeterminate contracts Indeterminate contracts do not have a set duration. They automatically renew each month.
Key contract terms and conditions The elements of the contract that the service provider cannot change without the customer’s express consent. Key contract terms and conditions are listed in section B. 1. (iv) a-e of the Code.
Mobile premium services (or premium text messaging services) Text message services that customers may subscribe to for an additional charge, usually on a per-message basis.
Locked device A wireless device that is programmed to work only with the network of the service provider that sold the device to the customer.
Minimum monthly charge The minimum amount that customers will have to pay for wireless services each month if they do not use optional services or incur any additional fees or overage charges. This charge may be subject to taxes, as set out in the contract.
Mobile premium services (or premium text messaging services) Text message services that customers may subscribe to for an additional charge, usually on a per-message basis.
Optional services Services that a customer can choose to add to their wireless plan, usually for an additional charge, such as caller ID or call forwarding.
Overage charge A charge for exceeding an established limit on the use of a service.
Pay-per-use services Services that a customer can choose to add to their wireless plan, such as international roaming, which are typically measured and charged on a usage basis.
Permanent copy An inalterable copy (e.g. a paper copy or PDF version) of the contract, as of the date of signing or the date of the latest amendment.
Postpaid services Wireless services that are paid for after use, usually upon receipt of a monthly bill.
Prepaid services Wireless services that are purchased in advance of use, such as the use of prepaid cards and pay-as-you-go services.
Privacy policy A policy that explains how service providers will handle customers’ personal information.
Related documents Any documents referred to in the contract that affect the customer’s use of the service provider’s services. Related documents include, but are not limited to, privacy policies and fair use policies.
Roaming The use of wireless services outside the service provider’s network area.
Service coverage maps An illustration of the extent of the service provider’s network, showing where coverage is available.
Service provider A provider of retail mobile wireless voice and data services.
Subsidized device A wireless device that is sold to a customer by a service provider at a reduced price as part of a contract. A wireless device that is (i) purchased by the customer at full price; or (ii) not purchased as part of the contract is not a subsidized device.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) A public organization that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems to ensure that Canadians have access to a world-class communication system.
Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc. (CCTS) An independent organization dedicated to working with customers and their telecommunications service providers to resolve complaints relating to their telecommunications services. The CCTS (i) responds to and resolves complaints from customers in order to ensure that they are treated in a way that is consistent with the Wireless Code; and (ii) collects data on complaints related to the Wireless Code. This data will be published on the CCTS’s website at www.ccts-cprst.ca.
Commitment period The term or duration of the contract. For fixed-term contracts, the commitment period is the entire duration of the contract. For indeterminate contracts, the commitment period is the current month or billing cycle.
Contract and written contract A contract is a binding agreement between a service provider and a customer to provide wireless services. A written contract is a written instrument that expresses the content of the contract.
Customers Individuals or small businesses subscribing to retail mobile wireless services.
Device subsidy The difference between (i) the lesser of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of a device or the price set for the device when it is purchased from the service provider without a contract; and (ii) the amount a customer paid for the device when they agreed to the contract.
Disconnection The termination of wireless services by a service provider.
Early cancellation fee A fee that may be applied when a customer’s service is cancelled before the end of the commitment period.
Fair (or acceptable) use policy A policy that explains what is considered to be unacceptable use of the service provider’s wireless services and the consequences of unacceptable use (e.g. using the service to engage in an activity that constitutes a criminal offence). Violations of a fair or acceptable use policy may result in (i) disconnection or service suspension; or (ii) a modification of the services available to the customer.
Fixed-term contracts Contracts that have a set duration (usually one, two, or three years).
Indeterminate contracts Indeterminate contracts do not have a set duration. They automatically renew each month.
Key contract terms and conditions The elements of the contract that the service provider cannot change without the customer’s express consent. Key contract terms and conditions are listed in section B. 1. (iv) a-e of the Code.
Mobile premium services (or premium text messaging services) Text message services that customers may subscribe to for an additional charge, usually on a per-message basis.
Locked device A wireless device that is programmed to work only with the network of the service provider that sold the device to the customer.
Minimum monthly charge The minimum amount that customers will have to pay for wireless services each month if they do not use optional services or incur any additional fees or overage charges. This charge may be subject to taxes, as set out in the contract.
Mobile premium services (or premium text messaging services) Text message services that customers may subscribe to for an additional charge, usually on a per-message basis.
Optional services Services that a customer can choose to add to their wireless plan, usually for an additional charge, such as caller ID or call forwarding.
Overage charge A charge for exceeding an established limit on the use of a service.
Pay-per-use services Services that a customer can choose to add to their wireless plan, such as international roaming, which are typically measured and charged on a usage basis.
Permanent copy An inalterable copy (e.g. a paper copy or PDF version) of the contract, as of the date of signing or the date of the latest amendment.
Postpaid services Wireless services that are paid for after use, usually upon receipt of a monthly bill.
Prepaid services Wireless services that are purchased in advance of use, such as the use of prepaid cards and pay-as-you-go services.
Privacy policy A policy that explains how service providers will handle customers’ personal information.
Related documents Any documents referred to in the contract that affect the customer’s use of the service provider’s services. Related documents include, but are not limited to, privacy policies and fair use policies.
Roaming The use of wireless services outside the service provider’s network area.
Service coverage maps An illustration of the extent of the service provider’s network, showing where coverage is available.
Service provider A provider of retail mobile wireless voice and data services.
Subsidized device A wireless device that is sold to a customer by a service provider at a reduced price as part of a contract. A wireless device that is (i) purchased by the customer at full price; or (ii) not purchased as part of the contract is not a subsidized device.
Suspension (of a customer’s service) A temporary halt in wireless service that can result from a lack of payment or hitting a pre-determined spending or usage limit. The customer’s account and contract remain in force during service suspension.
Unlimited services The unlimited use of specific services (e.g. unlimited local calling), for a fixed price.
Wireless services Retail mobile wireless voice and data services.
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