Ontario’s proposed protections for consumers
The much-anticipated updates to Ontario’s consumer protection laws are here.
The new Ontario Consumer Protection Act has been introduced following more than three years of consultation. The CMA participated in several of these stakeholder roundtable consultations and provided feedback , specifically focusing on areas impacting marketing.
The proposed Act, if passed, would result in the following changes:
- Strengthening existing prohibitions against unfair practices and expanding the types of unfair practices such as false prize offers or false claims of government oversight.
- Introducing a right for consumers to revoke a contract when an unfair practice has taken place. This right would exist for up to one year after entering the contract or one year after the unfair practice occurs – whichever is later.
- Replacing the term ‘gift card’ with ‘prepaid purchase card’ and clarifying that these cannot expire regardless of whether they are physical or digital, or whether they were purchased in store or online.
- Prohibiting contracts that ban or deter consumers from posting reviews, as long as the review is not defamatory.
- Prohibiting unnecessary barriers to cancel subscriptions or membership agreements.
- Introducing stronger enforcement powers, and doubling penalties to up to $100,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations.
- Limiting when businesses can make unilateral contract amendments, including renewals and extensions, without express consumer consent.
- Requiring free monthly access for consumers to electronic consumer reports and credit scores.
- Additional consumer right of action, which would give consumers the legal right to pursue claims in Ontario courts.
The CMA is actively involved in shaping the evolution of consumer protection laws and will provide updates as the process unfolds. Have questions you want answered on this or other topics? Reach out.