Frequently asked questions

General

What does CRTC do?

Parliament has given the CRTC the job of regulating and supervising the broadcasting and telecommunications systems in Canada. The CRTC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

  • for information regarding the CRTC, go to About the CRTC
  • for details about the CRTC Act, the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act, or other related legislation, go to Statutes and regulations

Participating in CRTC public proceedings

How do I support/oppose or comment on an application, a licence renewal, or a CRTC policy?

You'll find general information in How to participate in a CRTC public proceeding as well as a form for submitting your comments.

Where do I find out about upcoming public hearings so I can take part?

Check the Calendar of Public Hearings

TV and radio

What makes a song qualify as Canadian?

To find out how a song qualifies as Canadian, read about the MAPL system.

How do I express my concerns about programming on radio or TV?

Read How to make a broadcasting complaint for information and instructions.

Why do radio or TV ads seem so much louder than the programs?

For more information, go to Loud TV Commercials.

What can I do about false and misleading ads?

The CRTC does not regulate false and misleading ads.

You can contact the product manufacturer and the TV station that aired the ads.

The Competition Bureau investigates complaints about false and misleading ads. You can call them toll-free at 1-800-348-5358.

Why is an American TV program showing Canadian commercials?

It's called signal substitution. One signal, which is airing the program, is replaced temporarily by a local signal in order to air local ads. For more information, go to Signal substitution - same program, different commercials .

When I watch TV or listen to the radio, I get a fuzzy picture or lots of static. What can I do?

First, make sure your receiving equipment is working properly. Then contact your cable or satellite service provider to talk to them about your signal quality.

If you receive your signals over-the-air, contact the TV and radio stations involved directly.

For more information about interference, go to Industry Canada's Consumer Information.

Why can't I watch any TV program on the Internet?

Learn about TV and music online to find out why

Telephone service

What is my telephone company supposed to provide for me?

Refer to the Terms of Service that are included in the front pages of your phone book.

I don't want telemarketers to call or fax my home or business. What can I do?

Go to the National Do Not Call List to register your residential, cellular, fax, and VoIP numbers on the list for 5 years.

The CRTC strongly encourages consumers to file a complaint with the National DNCL Operator every time they receive an unwanted telemarketing call. For additional information, you can consult the Telemarketing consumer topic.

Somebody switched my long-distance carrier without my permission!

This is a practice called "slamming" - switching a long-distance telephone customer from one company to another, without their permission. If this has happened to you, and you want to find out who is actually providing you with long-distance service, call 1-700-555-4141 from your telephone.

Read Changing long-distance service providers for more information.

My telephone is going to be disconnected! I need help fast!

If your telephone company has given you notice that your service will be disconnected:

  • contact your telephone company to make arrangements that both of you agree on
  • if you can't come up with an agreeable arrangement and your service is still slated for disconnection, call the CRTC at 1-877-249-CRTC (2782); in an emergency, the CRTC can provide an immediate, but temporary, resolution.

If your local telephone service provider is one of the original phone companies that existed prior to today's competitive market (i.e., TELUS, MTS Allstream, Bell Canada, or Bell Aliant), and it has disconnected or is threatening to disconnect your local service for unpaid long-distance charges, the CRTC-approved terms of service ensure that:

  • your local service cannot be disconnected if you have paid for the part of your phone bill that covers local service, 911, call display, and other calling features you may subscribe to
  • if you disagree with charges on your bill (e.g., long-distance, Internet, or wireless charges), follow the telephone company's dispute procedure; but you must still pay the undisputed charges of the bill
  • the telephone company may limit your long-distance calls, or use other legal means to try to recover outstanding amounts, but they cannot cut off your local service

See Terms of Service – Disconnection for partial payment of charges (Telecom Decision CRTC 2004-31).

What's happening when I pick up the phone and there is silence or a screechy sound, or I hear a recorded message?

You're describing one of the following situations:

  • dead-air call
  • fax call on a voice line
  • ADAD (Automatic Dialing-announcing Devices)

You can find more information about these at the front of your telephone directory under Privacy Issues.

You can also read New and revised Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules for information about telemarketing and other related issues.

What can I do if I have problems with my phone service?

The first thing to do is contact your telephone company. In most cases, problems can be resolved by dealing directly with the company.

If you're not satisfied with the results, go to How to make a complaint about your telephone service.

Cellphone services: What is and isn't regulated by the CRTC?

Go to Mobile for more information.

How do I get out of a contract with a phone company?

If it's your residential phone, you may not have a contract for local phone service. If you don't have a contract, you can cancel your service anytime.

However, if you reside in a competitive area, where the terms of service are no longer regulated by the CRTC, you must communicate with your service provider to cancel your telephone service. Cancellation takes effect 30 days after the date you contact your provider. You will be charged and be responsible to pay the applicable charges for that 30 day cancellation period.

If you have bundled a number of services (e.g., Internet access and cable TV) with one company to pay a reduced rate, you may have a contract. You may also have a contract for a long-distance package. If you do have a contract, you'll have to read it to see whether you have to pay any penalties.

It's your responsibility to finalize any payments or resolve any issues with your other service providers.

Internet

Why doesn't the CRTC regulate Internet services?

In 1999, the CRTC studied the Internet and decided not to regulate it. Access to Internet services was competitive, and both creativity and innovation grew in an environment without regulation. While there was some broadcasting content being offered, most Internet services at the time were text based. The CRTC concluded that the Internet was meeting the objectives of the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act.
The CRTC periodically reviews its policies to ensure that the objectives continue to be met.

What can I do about offensive content on the Internet?

Go to TV and Music Online for more information.