Do Smartphones Make for Smarter Consumers?
Research examining the emerging trend of large retailers in providing product and purchase information through smartphone applications. It identifies information that consumers use at point of purchase of products and the extent to which these applications meet their needs.
CANADIAN CONSUMERS' ONLINE REPUTATIONS -- AWARENESS, MISUSE AND REPAIR
A research project on the phenomenon of consumers' online identities being misused by others resulting in potential damage to a consumer's reputation, with a focus on the services of reputation repair offered by various organizations and businesses. This research conducted a practical and useful evaluation of products and services purporting to help Canadians find and/or manage their online information and reputation.
The Impact of Higher Energy Efficiency Standards on Housing Affordability in Alberta
A study commissioned by NAIMA Canada and the Consumers Council of Canada to determine whether EnerGuide 80 energy efficient homes in Alberta can improve affordability for consumers. Download
TAX-FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
Since January 2009, Canadians have been able to use a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) as part of their personal financial planning. Introduced in the February 2008 Federal Budget, the new TFSA could radically alter the way Canadians save for the future and manage their investments. Over the balance of 2008, there was a great deal of speculation about how much and how Canadians might use this new program. The Consumers Council of Canadas research investigated and evaluated the early patterns of TFSA usage among Canadian consumers. Download
The Canadian government has completed a much-anticipated wireless spectrum auction, which has enabled several new wireless service providers to emerge. The consumer adoption rate for wireless service will increase rapidly with many new operators and/or service plans. Consumer complaints related to wireless charges have been many. Research in the wireless prepaid and postpaid area was required to understand consumer satisfaction and concerns. The research helps identify the source of complaints and makes recommendations to address perceived unfair practices. Download
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumers consistently tell researchers that they are concerned about the impact of the products they purchase, and that they prefer to make purchases from organizations that take social and environmental responsibilities seriously. In Canada, a majority of members of the public are reportedly paying attention to issues related to social responsibility in purchasing decisions. However, a major gap between consumers' concern and their everyday actions remains even where information is available to guide choices. This project proposes to better understand what elements help to enhance the credibility among consumers of reports and claims about social responsibility made by organizations, and to identify how to assure the public in their decision-making on socially responsible purchases, in order to build smart, people-centred assurance practices that both empower consumers and strengthen marketing performance. Download
ASSESSING CONSUMER IMPACTS
A directive of the federal cabinet on streamlining regulations has given rise to a new Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement (RIAS) intended to incorporate, among other things, an assessment of the impact of proposed policies and regulations on consumers. Office of Consumer Affairs, Industry Canada, is developing a draft of a guide, to be used in assessing the impact of proposed policies and regulations on consumers. This research is important because the direct involvement in Canada of consumer groups in assessing consumer impacts of proposed regulations and policies for Regulatory Impact Analysis Statements would be a new development. This research considers the resources, processes and standards necessary for effective participation in such assessments by Canadian consumer organizations. Download
Sustainable Household Consumption: Key Considerations for a Canadian Strategy
This report presents key considerations and elements of a household consumption strategy for Canada, within the context of the federal government's current efforts to develop a Sustainable Consumption and Production Framework. Embedding the household strategy within this broader SCP framework is essential, as a central conclusion of this report is that households cannot advance sustainable consumption on their own but require collective solutions and collective actions by government and other stakeholders. (March 2009, Released June 2009) Download
The Ontario Smart Metering Initiative - What Does It Mean for Ontario's Residential Consumers
This report explores the Ontario policy initiative to install smart meters in all homes and businesses by 2010 and focuses on the expected impacts on residential consumers. Costs and benefits for Ontario consumers are explored and informed by the results of pilot programs undertaken both in the U.S. and in Ontario. The paper also identifies potential problems with the rollout of the Ontario initiative as well as recommended solutions. (March 2009, Released June 2009) Download
Long Distance Phone Cards - Are Consumers Satisifed?
This report investigates consumer issues concerning prepaid phone cards. In light of recent regulation disallowing expiry dates on gift certificates and gift cards in Ontario, the Council sought to investigate the breadth of consumer issues with prepaid long distance calling cards and whether similar expiration policies and regulation should apply to prepaid phone cards. It makes recommendations concerning price and service disclosure and the handling of consumer complaints. (March 2009, Released June 2009) Download
Renovation Rip-Offs: Problems and Solutions
This report on the home renovation marketplace focuses on key causes of complaints, perceived problems and a variety of frameworks considered and existing to address consumer concerns. It attempts to go beyond the tips and checklists for hiring renovators and to assess the state of a seemingly troubled marketplace. (March 2009, Released June 2009) Download
Creditors Insurance - Are Consumers Being Well Served?
Creditors insurance, such as found on credit cards, lines of credit, personal loans, and mortgages life insurance and mortgage default insurance, is marketed to protect consumers and their families from the obligations associated with existing credit in the event of a borrowers death, critical illness, disability or involuntary job loss. A variety of insurance products exist fitting this general description. This research focused particularly on the consumers ability to make an informed decision, and it examines creditors insurances scope, cost structure, and how it compares to other insurance products. (March 2009, Released June 2009) Download
Research on Consumer Protection, Civil Enforcement & Consumer Advocacy
This study identified consumers of goods and services who are vulnerable and require assistance to examine the type and extent of the assistance they require. It identified the help provided to vulnerable consumers and examined the best methods and programs to deliver the required assistance to them in the future. (March 2009, Released June 2009) Download
Financial support from Industry Canada to conduct the research on which the reports above are based is acknowledged. The views expressed in these reports are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or of the Government of Canada.
Consumers' Willingness to Pay for Climate Change
Consumers Council's Research Report on Canadian Consumers' willingness to pay for energy efficiency and other initiatives that would contribute to the reduction of climate change. Download
Energy Efficiency and Building Codes
Report prepared for the Consumers Council of Canada by Michael Lio Download
Financial support from Industry Canada to conduct the research on which this report is based is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of Industry Canada or of the Government of Canada.
Gaps in New Home Warranty Programs Across Canada
The Consumer Council's research into differences among provincial New Home Warranty programs. Download
Nanotechnology and Its Impact on Consumers
Report Prepared for the Consumers Council of Canada by Elizabeth Nielsen, Ph.D.
Nanotechnology, one of the key emerging technologies of this century, has the potential to provide consumers with a number of significant benefits and profoundly affect all aspects of their lives. These include energy efficiency, pollution prevention and clean up, diagnosis and treatment of disease and safe food and water. Nano enhanced products may also play a major role in reducing risks such as injury in car crashes, fire and earthquake damage due to their increased strength, flame resistance and flexibility. While the benefits of these technologies appear almost limitless, they will only be realized if consumers are confident that any potential adverse effects of nanotechnologies are identified, studied and managed. Download
Improving the Effectiveness of Consumer and Public Representatives on Delegated Administrative Authorities
Consumer Council's report on how to improve Consumer Representation. Download