CRTC being asked to eliminate charges to helplines from mobile phones

OTTAWA – The CRTC is being asked to eliminate charges for Canadians who call helplines and crisis lines from their cellphones.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and B.C.-based Chimo Community Services say Canadians who call helplines from their cellphones are charged for those calls, or have those minutes deducted from their voice plans.

The advocacy groups say a someone uses a landline to make a local call to a helpline or a toll-free call to a helpline, that call is free.

The groups also also want the CRTC to protect callers’ privacy when they call a helpline or crisis line from their mobile phone.

They say callers’ accounts can identify that a call was made to a helpline, as well as the number of that helpline.

The application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is supported by eight other community organizations, including rape crisis centres and a youth services agency.