Recently, one of the newspapers in Okanagan-Coquihalla asked an online survey question to readers. The question was a simple one: “Do you support the CRTC’s wireless code of conduct?” What got my attention was that nearly 70 per cent of those who took part in the survey felt the code of conduct was either confusing or that they lacked enough information to form an accurate opinion.

It is always concerning when such a large percentage of citizens indicate they lack sufficient information on a subject.

In this case, information has been publicly available since the code of conduct was announced in June of last year. However, many may have tuned it out because while the announcement was made in June, the actual policy did not take effect until Dec. 2, 2013.

Another reason may be that the wireless code of conduct will be implemented differently dependent upon individual circumstances.

Any new wireless contract signed on or after Dec. 2, 2013 is already covered under the new wireless code of conduct.

What if your contract is dated prior to Dec. 2, 2013?

If your pre-existing contract is renewed, extended or has had the key terms amended after Dec. 2, the wireless code of conduct will also apply to your contract.

If your contract was signed prior to Dec. 2 and you have no need to renew, extend or otherwise change the terms of your contract, as of June 3, 2015, the wireless code of conduct will apply to all wireless contracts regardless of when they were signed.

What are the benefits of the wireless code of conduct?

Here is a brief summary of the conditions the code of conduct places on wireless providers to your benefit as customers:

The ability to cancel your contract at no cost after a maximum of two years

The ability to cancel your contract and return your phone at no cost within 15 days (and specific usage limits)

To be able to have your phone unlocked after 90 days or immediately if you paid in full for your phone

The option to have your service suspended at no cost if your phone is lost or stolen

To receive a notification when you are roaming in a different country, disclosing what the rates are for voice services, text messages, and data usage

To limit your data overage charges to $50 a month and your data roaming charges to $100 a month

To charge no extras for a service described as “unlimited.”

You may also refuse a change to the key terms and conditions of your contract, including the services in your contract, the price for those services, and the duration of your contract. The above changes in some cases apply differently to pre-paid wireless services.

If you have further questions or comments on the wireless code of conduct, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Next week I will be back in Ottawa as the House of Common is back in session. With the exception of the odd brief break, the House will sit from now until late June.

As always, if you have a question or a concern, I am always happy to hear from you. I can be reached via email at dan.albas@parl.gc.ca or toll-free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.