Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Bell’s 911 challenge

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The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an attempt by Bell Mobility to challenge a ruling over 911 service – or lack thereof – in the North.

The case centres on Bell charging customers a small monthly fee for a 911 service that does not actually exist in almost the entirety of Canada’s territories.

In reality, cellphone users in the territory must dial emergency services direct, using a seven-digit number, in the absence of 911.

Last year, the Northwest Territories’ Supreme Court decided Bell was liable to around 30,000 cellphone users – each of whom faced a 75-cent monthly charge for the unavailable 911 service.

Bell had an appeal dismissed in January this year, and subsequently took its challenge to Canada’s highest court. However, the Supreme Court of Canada gets to decide whether or not it hears cases – and today it declined to entertain Bell’s challenge.

The lawsuit has been ongoing since 2007, when Yellowknife resident James Anderson and his son, Samuel, filed on behalf of Bell’s customers in the North. From November 2009, Bell dropped the fee.

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