Consumers looking to unlock their cell phones can now do so for free.

A new CRTC ruling passed this Summer has come into effect banning cell phone companies from charging customers to unlock their phones. Prior to December 1st, most major companies charged a $50 dollar fee. 

"Once you get the unlocking code and you unlock your phone, you are now able to put in other SIM cards," said Nicholas Chaar, the owner of International Mobile Services Inc. "So if you travel to Florida or Jamaica, you can put in a local SIM card and use it for a cheaper cost than roaming with your phone."

An unlocked phone allows customers to take their device to another company, with the purchase of a new SIM card. 

Cell phone companies used to use the $50 fee as a way to discourage users from switching companies. 

The new code from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission also says as of Dec. 1, all newly purchased devices must be sold unlocked -- one of several other changes aimed at giving people more control over their wireless services.

The changes were introdcued in June, six months after the regulator heard from consumer groups who accused some cellphone companies of violating the code, either passively or actively, and called for the rules to be tightened and enforced.

With files from the Canadian Press.