As of December 1, 2017, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has announced that all cell phones and other wireless handsets must be unlocked, free of charge, upon customer request. This applies to both personal-use phones and small business wireless phones. Any new phone purchased as of December 1st will already come unlocked and available to use amongst different wireless carriers.
With this new addition to the Wireless Code, there will be other rule changes made. If a new wireless customer is unhappy with their new service, he or she has the right to cancel the contract, as long as it is within the first half of the month and the customer has used less than half of the monthly calls, messages, and data limits. The phone, as long as it is still in new condition, may be returned for a refund.
In the case of a shared plan, the main account holder is responsible for data overage and data roaming charges. However, wireless carriers will now, with the main account holder’s permission, be able to assign authorization to other parties in the shared plan. Caps of $50 for data overage and $100 for data roaming are still in place, so phone bills cannot reach excessive levels without an account holder’s knowledge. Along with this clarification of extra charge rules, the terminology used by wireless carriers, like voice, text and data service, cannot be changed during a contract period without the customer’s knowledge and consent.
Since 2013, the Wireless Code had been put into effect to keep customers protected from excessive wireless costs and confusion. This allows Canadians to make informed decisions about their patronage with different cell services. Canadians with disabilities are offered a slightly longer, 30-day period to make changes to their wireless contracts. Consumers are also allowed to give input to the Commission about the effectiveness of different rules and regulations. Overall, the CRTC is in place to create a better wireless market for Canadian consumers and wireless carriers, based on fair market practices.