Canadians Support the Federal Government’s New Local Telephone Policy

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Toronto, ON – A new Ipsos Reid survey reveals that Canadians support recent policy measures taken by the Minister of Industry, Maxime Bernier, to reduce regulation in the local telephone services market.

A clear majority of seven in ten (68%) indicate that these regulatory changes would be “acceptable” to them and 25% say these changes would be “very acceptable” to them. Moreover, the same strong majority of

Canadians (68%) indicate that they would find such changes acceptable even in local telephone markets with just two telephone providers. A majority of Canadians also agree that:

  • “All companies that compete in the field of telecommunications should be treated the same way by federal policies” (93% agree);
  • “Traditional telephone companies should be able to waive service charges, like a $55 re-connection fee, as a consumer promotion” (87% agree);
  • “If a consumer switches to a different residential/home telephone service provider, traditional telephone companies should have no restrictions and should be able to immediately compete to win-back that consumer’s business” (85% agree); and
  • “Philosophically, I believe that consumers, not government regulators, should determine what price to pay for residential/home telephone services” (77% agree).

The high degree of support from the Canadian public for these new policy measures is likely driven in part, by the fact that most (61%) feel, in their situation, there is an adequate choice of competitors from which they can buy local telephone service.

Other prominent findings further indicate strong support for the Federal Government’s new policy:

  • 82% support the removal of restrictions on the traditional telephone companies’ ability to bundle services (45% strongly support);
  • 79% support the removal of promotional restrictions faced by traditional telephone companies (38% strongly support); and,
  • 63% support changes resulting in the Competition Bureau, as opposed to the CRTC, now having oversight of the local telephone services market and the ability to seek fines if companies were to act improperly (25% strongly support).

For the survey, a representative randomly selected national weighted sample of 1000 adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone from January 12-22nd, 2007, with booster samples added to Quebec (+260), Ontario (+115) and Atlantic Canada (+125) to allow for more fulsome regional analysis in these areas. With a sample of this size, the national results are considered accurate within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what it would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error is somewhat larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data. Full report with detailed graphical representation of all findings including regional breaks are in attached PDFs in english and french versions.

Canadians Support the Federal Government’s New Local Telephone Policy


John Wright
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs