Unlocking a cellphone in Canada is now officially free, after a new wireless code came into effect Friday. 

Katy Anderson, a Calgary-based digital rights advocate with OpenMedia, says the changes mean both an end to pricey unlocking fees and fewer roadblocks for consumers when it comes to choosing a cellphone provider.

She says consumers will now be able to save money at home, and abroad.

"If you go travelling, you don't have to pay that $50 unlocking fee and you can just go and get a separate SIM card and access some of the great rates that will show you how bad of a deal we get here in Canada," said Anderson.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says telecom companies made nearly $38 million last year by charging customers to unlock their cellphones. The new code also means all devices must be sold unlocked moving forward.

Another big change means only the account holder can now consent to data coverage and roaming charges on a shared family plan.

"So there's no bill shock when your teenager accepts charges that you had no idea about," said Anderson.

Anderson adds companies had until today to make the changes, but those with a family plan should check their bills just in case.

With files from Dan McGarvey