In a competitive market, several companies can compete for your business by offering services and rates designed to attract your business.
A monopoly means that only one company serves an entire community, and that company has no competitors. Monopolies are often regulated to make sure that the prices and services they offer are reasonable.
Many areas of Canada now have competitive markets for local phone service. Once an area opens up to competition, companies offer products and services at competitive prices, so you can choose the package you like best.
Local phone service enables you to call people or businesses in your local calling area without paying long-distance charges. Typically, you pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited calls to phone numbers within your local calling area.
While the CRTC no longer regulates areas with local service competition, it did set some requirements and rules that companies must meet for your benefit and protection:
The CRTC also laid out minimum requirements for local service, including:
These links list the names of companies offering local telephone services:
Some companies, called resellers, purchase products and services from local exchange carriers (LECs) and resell them to consumers. Resellers are not directly regulated by the CRTC. However, the LECs can impose some regulatory requirements on them through terms and conditions in their resale agreements.
Here are some questions to ask:
You can keep your phone number when you change phone companies, as long as you stay within your local exchange area. If you move out of your local exchange area, you may not be able to keep your phone number.
If you move from a wireless company to a wireline phone company you may keep your telephone number as long as your location to be served by this telephone number is within the exchange of your telephone number.
You have to ask your new service provider about keeping your phone number before you cancel your current service. You can only keep your present phone number if it’s currently being used. Generally, you can keep your phone number if you switch:
This ability (called “number portability”) is available in most, but not all, of Canada. The industry is working on getting number portability available across the country.Find more information on Wireless number portability.
To change local phone service companies, just call the service provider of your choice. That service provider handles everything about the transfer from your former provider, and lets you know when the transfer will be completed. You can switch any of your other services to your new service provider, but you don’t have to do so.
If you want, you can request your new service provider to cancel any services you may have with your old service provider that you no longer need from that service provider. The types of service that your new service provider can cancel on your behalf are landline telephone service, internet, long distance, wireless and television.
If you decide to switch to a new local phone service provider you, or your agent, must authorize the switch. Also, if you decide to have your new service provider cancel any of your services, such, as Internet, long distance, wireless or television, you or your agent must also authorize your new service provider to act on your behalf. Your agent can be an adult member of your household. There are several ways to give authorization. If you don’t give your authorization in one of the ways listed here, the service provider is not allowed to transfer your service:
Most of your communications services are not affected when you switch to a new telephone service provider, but be sure to let your new telephone company know about all the communication services you subscribe to.
Some long-distance services may depend on the agreements that your new service provider has with the companies providing these services.
Yes. The CRTC requires telephone service providers to support 911 service access to emergency services, wherever such services are available. However, 911 emergency access service is not available everywhere in Canada.
Also, the type of 911 service available to you may depend on the type of telephone service you have. For example, with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), many service providers support only basic 911 service. That means if you make a 911 call, you must tell the emergency operator your location, because it’s not automatically provided. The emergency operator may also ask for other information in order to be able to provide the help you need.
No matter who provides you with local telephone service, you’ll still get the same telephone book.
Your name, address and phone number will also continue to be listed in the phone book and in online directory listings. Local telephone service providers must provide their directory listings to companies that print or maintain these types of telephone directories.
If you prefer to have an unlisted number or a special listing, talk to your new telephone service provider.If you have wireless service, your telephone number is not normally included in telephone directories. Also, if you are changing from landline telephone service to wireless service your telephone number will only remain in the current telephone directories. When, the next telephone directories are published, your wireless number will no longer be included, unless you specifically request your new wireless service provider to ensure that your telephone number remains in the telephone directories. This is because all wireless numbers are treated as unlisted telephone numbers.
Generally, the wiring or cabling in your home stays the same, since you are usually responsible for the phone wires and cables in your residence. You can contact your telephone service provider to confirm who is responsible for the wiring and cabling in your home.If you are switching between a traditional landline service provider and a cable company for your telephone service there may be a change in how the wiring in home is connected to your new service provider’s network. If any required changes are needed, these will be handled by your new service provider.
All companies that provide telephone services are obligated by the CRTC to support the special needs of persons with hearing or visual impairments. Examples of these services are:
Yes, you can. You can contact your former telephone service provider or any other telephone service provider at any time. But keep in mind that you may still have a contract with your current service provider.
If you have a complaint about your service, contact your local phone service provider directly. It’s in the company’s best interest to respond to your concerns.
If you’re not satisfied with the response, check Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS) to see if your service provider is a member. If so, contact the CCTS with your complaint.
The CCTS is an independent agency that helps resolve your complaints about your telecommunications service. Contact the CCTS at:
If your phone company is not a member of the CCTS, call the CRTC at 1-877-249-2782 or go to Ask a question or make a complaint.
This document doesn’t cover most VoIP services. For more information on VoIP, see: