Canadians will elect a new government September 20. Each of Canada’s major parties has published a platform that describes the priorities it would implement if elected.
To help voters understand how the parties compare on important consumer protection issues, Consumers Council of Canada will publish platform excerpts. The issues selected were identified by the Council’s Public Interest Network (PIN) as the most important current consumer protection matters in recent questionnaires. Comparisons on other policy priorities are available from the CBC and elsewhere.
Without attempting to judge the efficacy or costs of these pledges, here is how the Liberal Party, Conservative Party and New Democratic Party electoral platforms address these issues.
Topic: Fraud and Identity Protection
Perhaps the single most common consumer protection item cited by survey participants is fraud. The rise in online commerce, catalyzed by an extended period when in-person shopping was more problematic and higher risk, has exposed more Canadians to online fraud and identity theft.
“A re-elected Liberal government will establish Canada’s first ever nation-wide agency whose sole purpose is to investigate these highly complex crimes and enforce federal law in this area…. this agency will bring together, under one roof, existing law enforcement resources of the RCMP, the intelligence capabilities of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) and expertise of the Canada Revenue Agency.”
This new agency is also cited as a source of greater protection in the housing market. The party also notes that implementation of its 2019 Digital Charter would “strengthen privacy protections for consumers, and provide a clear set of rules that ensure fair competition in the online marketplace.”
It proposes “legislation to protect your privacy and prevent credit and debit card companies from selling your personal information.”
“New Democrats will deal with threats to our national security, including foreign interference and espionage, terrorism and cybercrime, by working with our international allies, enhancing real-time oversight of security services, and fully respecting the privacy and Charter rights of all Canadians. We will also strengthen protection for Canadians who are victims of foreign interference and threats.”
Because “Canadians must have the right to understand and control the collection, use, monitoring, retention and disclosure of their personal data”, a Conservative government would pass “strong legislation to protect privacy more effectively” than current legislation.