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What Happens When Canadians Speak Out Against Big Telecom

11/01/2013 11:55 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 10:52 EST

Great news from Ontario -- the legislative assembly has voted unanimously for customer-friendly new cell phone rules to tackle some of the worst abuses of Big Telecom. The rules, which come into effect next year, will complement the positive new federal rules introduced in June by the CRTC.

Under the new legislation, Ontarians can look forward to plain language contracts, caps on ridiculous cancellation fees, and a requirement for cell phone companies to get customer consent before amending contracts. On top of this, the Ontario legislation improves on the federal CRTC rules by bringing in stiff financial penalties of up to $250,000 for cell phone companies who break the new law.

All this is thanks to you. Because Canadians spoke out and demanded change we've forced decision-makers to sit up and take notice. All Canadians will benefit from the federal rules introduced in June, and residents of Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia can also now rely on strong provincial legislation to protect their customer rights.

Let's remember that our crowdsourced "Time For An Upgrade" plan was used to develop this legislation to protect Ontario cell phone customers. Canadians from all across the country worked together on that plan and it's great to see positive results. It goes to show that when people work together to put forward a vision for the government it really does bring about positive change.

Thank you to everyone who helped put this plan together by sharing your cell phone horror stories, commenting online, donating, and by joining our Allies program. Our community is at the heart of everything we do here at OpenMedia.ca, and it is only with your help that we succeed in making change.

While the news from Ontario is encouraging, we've still got a lot to do to fix our broken wireless market. Canadians still pay some of the highest prices in the industrialized world for cell phone service. That's because the government is still allowing Big Telecom to block Canadians from being able to access more affordable options.

The way forward is clear -- for lower prices and authentic choice we need to open our networks to independent service providers. Here's how you can help:

Finally, now that we've seen how successful grassroots-led initiatives can be in achieving change, why not join us on the ground floor of our next project to crowdsource government policy. Join us in developing a crowdsourced vision for copyright rules that work for everyone in the 21st century at https://openmedia.org/crowdsource

Let's keep working together until we secure an open, affordable, and surveillance-free digital future for generations to come.

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