Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs announced the 21 projects that will be funded under its program for consumer organizations for the 2021-23 period.
The Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations is designed to provided funding for consumer advocacy groups to conduct research projects on current or emerging consumer trends or development projects to support organizational capacity. For 2021-23, 17 research projects and four development projects were selected for a total of about $3.1 million.
The 17 research projects selected from the applicants included two projects from three different Quebec-based organizations, as well as single projects from 11 other organizations. Union des consommateurs (UC) Options consommateurs (OC) and Equiterre both had two projects selected. Consumers Council of Canada was among the groups to have one project selected. Both UC projects focus on changes in the marketplace. One will study the evolution of the online marketplaces, while the other will examine the potential impact on consumers of the demise of wired telephones. The environmentally-focused Equiterre will examine how to create zero waste product options in the food sector, and how to reduce electronics and appliance waste.
The Consumers Council’s project will study how regulatory authorities, particularly administrative authorities, regulate consumer protection. It will highlight best practices and innovative methods used to reach vulnerable and underrepresented consumer voices and identify impacts from the pandemic that may help to inform regulatory enhancements.
While each research project included a brief description, no information is provided publicly on the objectives of the four development projects awarded. Four research projects were granted the maximum $200,000 allowed under the program.
Both Equiterre projects, one of the OC projects and one from the Consumers Association of Canada (Manitoba) received the maximum. Three other projects received within $1,000 of the maximum, including one each from OC, UC and Credit Counselling Canada.
OC was also awarded a capacity development project, so received the largest overall funding, followed by Equiterre and UC.
This program is a substantial source of funding to Canadian consumer organizations, and is operated by the Office of Consumer Affairs under Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Funding for the program to support consumer group representation and research has not been increased by the Government of Canada for more than 20 years.