Ontario adopts updated consumer protection law
Ontario’s new Consumer Protection Act, 2023 (CPA) received royal assent in December, which means it is now law.
Some provisions are in effect now, and others will take effect at date to be announced, when regulations and other details are finalized.
Changes impacting marketers include:
- Expanded list of unfair practices that are prohibited;
- The right for consumers to revoke a contract when an unfair practice has taken place;
- Replacing the term ‘gift card’ with ‘prepaid purchase card’ and requiring that these never expire;
- Prohibiting contracts that ban or deter consumers from posting reviews as long as the reviews are not defamatory; and
- Limiting when businesses can make unilateral contract amendments, including renewals and extensions, without express consumer consent.
The Act introduces stronger enforcement powers and doubles penalties to up to $100,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations. It gives consumers the legal right to pursue claims in Ontario courts.
Businesses are advised to closely monitor developments and prepare by reviewing their policies and existing practices. The CMA will provide updates as the process unfolds.
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