A Quebec telecommunications company has waived all long-distance fees to those desperately attempting to reach loved ones in Haiti, though no other phone providers in Canada have followed suit.

“This major community of people is trying to reach their own folks to see if they’re alive and what’s left there. We’re sure as hell not going to charge them,” Vidéotron spokesman Marc Labelle told Metro yesterday.

The Montreal-based landline provider will waive all fees on calls made to Haiti from the moment the 7.0-magnitude quake hit, and will continue until Feb. 12.

Officials from the big three Canadian landline and wireless providers — Telus, Rogers and Bell — confirmed to Metro yesterday they have not waived long-distance fees to Haiti.

“We know phone calls are ineffective,” said Bell spokesman Jeff Meerman.

“The destruction of the telecom industry (in Haiti) is pretty widespread. For that reason, people who are trying to get though just can’t.”

But Labelle claimed the contrary, and said Vidéotron customers have placed “well over” 200,000 successful calls to Haiti since Jan. 12.

“We decided to open the valve,” he said, adding the company received confirmation from a Dominican Republic-based telecom supplier that calls could be connected.

U.S. providers Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless are also offering customers free long-distance calls to Haiti.

Telus, Rogers and Bell spokesmen said each of their companies has, however, made corporate contributions amassing in hundreds of thousands to relief efforts, and are collecting customer donations via text messaging.

Per-minute long-distance rates from Canada to Haiti range between $0.35 to $1.73 on the Rogers, Bell and Telus land and wireless networks.

Meerman suggested customers concerned about costs call the emergency operations centre in Ottawa at 1-800-387-3124. While the centre can’t provide free calls to Haiti, it can take inquiries and try to locate missing Canadians in the country.