Today's C-61 reform is particularly timely given yesterday's decision by Industry Minister Jim Prentice to demand that Bell and Telus account for their plans to charge for the receipt of text messages, a decision that Prentice described as "poorly thought-out." In the case of text message charges, the companies will presumably argue that their consumer contracts give them the right to alter charges and that this change is consistent with those rights. Prentice may rightly note the inequity of locking in a consumer for three years, yet reserving the right to fundamentally alter the costs borne by the consumer midway through the agreement. In other words, the contract may say one thing, but consumer rights and fairness dictate something else.
While that may be Prentice's perspective on consumer telecom contracts, he adopts a much different approach in Bill C-61.