Canadians stressed from high monthly phone bills are looking for changes this federal election
Mobile plan prices in Canada are amongst the highest in the world. According to a 2017 wireless price comparison study by Nordicity, Canadians ranked among the highest in prices when compared with the US and six different countries.
For Humber student Amal Mohammed, keeping up with her $70 phone plan a month sometimes feels unbearable. “I go to school, so I don’t work full-time, $70 a month is hard to maintain while in school,” she says.
Mohamed has always voted for the Liberals in all elections. “My parents always voted Liberal, and, ever since I could vote, so have I,” she says. But she is frustrated that the party has not made a move to lower cell phone bills.
“I just think that it’s about time Trudeau takes cell phone prices and puts it higher on his list of things to tackle when elected,” she explains.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s re-election platform includes a promise to lower wireless bills for Canadians by 25 per cent. Some voters are skeptical with this promise being that it was on his previous election platform and they have not seen a difference since he’s been elected.
Other parties are also making promises. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has introduced a plan that differs from the Liberal’s 25 per cent decrease. O’Toole’s plan is to lower cell phone and Internet bills and improve broadband access with more competition to help provide more affordable options for Canadians.
The big three Canadian telecom companies Bell, Telus, and Rogers own 90 per cent of the market according to whistleout. The lack of competition allows them to charge higher prices. O’Toole’s plan to introduce more competition will attempt to force the big three to compete with lower-priced competitors, which could ultimately force a price drop.
“Conservatives have caught my eye with their platform, I remember I heard something along the lines of building the economy and I’ve been on the fence this election, we’ll see on Monday I might change my mind,” Mohamed says. It would be a tough decision to switch her vote, she says, almost like going against her family who has voted for the Liberals since Jean Chretien was in office.
“I feel like my generation will definitely consider voting Conservative just because cellphones are a big part of our every day and since most of us are students, and the Conservative plan to reduce cellphone bills just seems like a dream,” Mohamed says.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh addresses high cell phone bills on his platform. His plans include requiring telecom to reduce their prices on unlimited data options to a more affordable rate.
The election takes place on Monday, September 20.
For the full conversation between Skedline reporter Rahma Ali and Amal Mohammed about the cost of Canadian cell phone plans, listen to the audio below.