A former pillar of Canadian consumer rights and protection information now promotes online gambling.
The web site consumerhandbook.ca, once an online resource of sensible financial guidance for Canadian consumers developed by federal and provincial government consumer protection regulators, was shuttered by the federal government last year. A few months ago, that URL was reactivated by an unknown source. The site reopened with some basic consumer information and multiple links to provincial consumer protection offices.
More recently, the site has been updated. It now features advertising for online casinos near the top of every single page.
Online gambling can be done without real money, but few would associate it with the kind of responsible, sensible consumer guidance once the hallmark of the original Consumer Handbook.
The Handbook was originally an output of a co-operative federal and provincial program to harmonize consumer protection. It was first published in 1999, updated periodically through 2016, moved exclusively online after that point, then shuttered in 2019, with the content absorbed into other government web pages.
However, its long-standing utility meant the URL remained a destination for many links on numerous other sites. That continued traffic meant potential revenue to some opportunistic organization that pounced on the URL when the government allowed the address registration to expire.
The current site provides no indication of ownership, no contact information and has not replied to numerous queries. The site uses multiple links to government consumer protection offices, and the use of provincial logos could imply government endorsement of its content.
Clicking on the ad takes readers to a listing of 10 gaming sites, as well as a short article on how to choose the best Canadian casino for you. That ad is the product of Vancouver-based Casino Valley Ltd.