NDP MP launches petition to axe fees to pay bills

NDP MP Andrew Cash. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

NDP MP Andrew Cash. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

Jessica Hume, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

An NDP MP doesn't believe it's fair that consumers must pay a fee to pay their bills.

That's why Andrew Cash on Wednesday launched a petition urging the government to force banks and telecom companies to eliminate the $2 to $4 fee to customers who choose to receive paper, rather than electronic statements.

Cash says these fees unfairly penalize seniors and those living in remote areas with little or no Internet access.

He said he supports the move toward a paperless world to save trees but says this isn't the way.

"If they really wanted to encourage [people to go] paperless, they could offer a discount for online customers," he said. "Instead, they punish those who aren't online."

A spokesperson for the Canadian Bankers' Association said most banks are transparent about the fees and some offer discounts for seniors who do choose paper.

The Commissioner for Complaints for Telecom Services says short of overhauling the telecom regulations in Canada, not much can be done.

Roughly half of Canadians bank online - a number that holds across age groups.

A spokesperson for TD Canada Trust said the fees are there because the costs of printing and mailing are high.

Cash hopes his petition will drum up support and that his next move will be to introduce a private member's bill on the issue.

The petition can be found at www.stoppaytopayfees.ca.