Changes of responsibility in the Ontario cabinet have brought new faces to several key consumer interest portfolios.
Glenn Thibeault has been named Minister of Energy.
Marie-France Lalonde was named Minister of Government and Consumer Services (and Francaphone Affairs).
Former Consumers Council of Canada board member Chris Ballard was named Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
"The Consumers Council of Canada congratulates all new members of the Ontario cabinet on their appointments," said Council President Aubrey LeBlanc. "The Council notes the past experience of Glenn Thibeault with consumer issues as former official opposition critic for consumer affairs at the federal level. Chris Ballard is well acquainted with consumer protection as he assumes his new portfolio, clearly directed to address an important basic need of all people.
"Marie-France Lalonde has a background in senior's issues, which increasingly dominate the consumer protection agenda, as a signficant proportion of consumers age and face challenges that make some vulnerable to exploitation."
Advertising Standards Canada, Canada's national not-for-profit advertising self-regulatory body, has appointed its new board of directors, and a Consumers Council of Canada member and former director remains as the "public representative" on the board.
Christina Bisanz, a former director and executive director of the Council, was re-appointed. The Council, itself, is a member of Advertising Standards Canada.
Advertising Standards Canada was created by the advertising industry in 1957. ASC "was founded on the belief that advertising self-regulation best serves the interests of the industry and the public."
ASC has announced, also, the appointment of Jani Yates to the position of President and CEO of the organization effective June 13, 2016.
Outgoing ASC President and CEO Linda Nagel is to be honoured with the Association of Canadian Advertisers 2016 Gold Medal.
"The Consumers Council of Canada congratulates Christina Bisanz and Jani Yates on their appointments," said Consumers Council of Canada Aubrey LeBlanc. "The Council commends Linda Nagel for her service at ASC."
The Consumers Council of Canada has been active over the years in providing volunteer consumer representatives to the Children's Clearance Committee of ASC and, as such, is a participant in advertising self-regulation at the ASC.
The Children’s Clearance Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving children’s broadcast advertising messages to ensure compliance with the provisions of The Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. All children’s commercials must be approved by the Children’s Committee and carry a valid ASC approval number prior to broadcast.
The Council has been active, as well, in representing consumers concerning advertising practices and other competition-related issues through semi-annual consultations with the Competition Bureau of Canada. The Council hosted a panel of consumer groups which led to a report on food advertising, labelling and advertising in 2012.
The self-regulation of children's advertising concerning food products has recently been criticized by an array of health consumer and professional organizations working together as the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition.
Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition has asserted "self-regulation doesn't work" when it comes to managing marketing to children.
"The Council has been proud to work to protect children and all consumers within the self-regulatory environment of ASC," said LeBlanc. "The Council is open to a discussion with interested stakeholders about how it should exercise its membership at ASC. As a consumer group member of ASC, the Council is always open to reviewing the practices of any self-regulator with which it is or has been involved. It concerns our organization that the reputable members of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition have rebuked self-regulation."
The Council collects consumer experiences through its website. Any consumer can share their experience.
"Anyone in Canada concerned about how advertising practises have affected them as a consumer are encouraged to share with the Council online," said LeBlanc. "As a non-profit voluntary organization, the Council cannot become involved in individual consumer problems, but it will consider those problems in acting as a representative of Canada's consumers."
The Consumers Council of Canada has announced the election of its board of directors and new executive for 2015-16.
Aubrey LeBlanc has been re-elected for a third term as President of the Council. Dennis Hogarth has been chosen as the first Vice President of the Council. A past-president of the Council, Don Mercer, has been re-appointed Vice President, Consumer Representation & Stakeholder Outreach. Agni Shah remains as secretary of the Council and Howard Deane as treasurer.
Also, elected to the board of directors:
Howard Deane, a member and director of the Consumers Council of Canada, has been elected as Convener of ISO’s international Working Group on Consumer Online Reviews. This Working Group was created within the framework of work on ISO/TC 290, an ISO Technical Committee on Online Reputation. Deane is a member of the Canadian Mirror Committee for ISO/TC 290, and recently headed the Canadian delegation at the international kickoff meeting.
The Working Group will develop draft ISO’s standards/guidelines on the "collection, moderation & display" of consumer online reviews, a particularly key area given consumers’ significant reliance on online reviews, and the increasing concern over false and misleading reviews.
The Consumers Council of Canada is pleased to announce that Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) At-Large Advisory Committee has certified the Council as an At-Large Structure, creating the opportunity for the Council to represent Canada’s consumers in the processes of ICANN.
ICANN coordinates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, which are key technical services critical to the continued operations of the Internet's underlying address book, the Domain Name System (DNS).
To reach another person on the Internet one must type an address into an Internet browser or other computer application -- a name or a number. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that, there could not be one global Internet.
The opportunity for involvement representing individual users of the Internet is through ICANN's At-Large Structure.
"The Consumers Council of Canada welcomes the opportunity to be a representative of the interests of Canada’s consumers in their use of the Internet," said Council President Aubrey LeBlanc. "The careful stewardship of the Internet has become essential to the everyday life of Canadian consumers."
LeBlanc announced the appointment of Howard Deane, CPA, CA, a member of the Council’s board of directors, as the Council's lead representative to ICANN At-Large.
Consumers wishing to share with the Council their experiences related to Internet domain name services may do so through the Council’s online form at: http://www.consumerscouncil.com/experience and selecting "Internet Domain Services" when completing the form.
Howard Deane has served as the Council's lead research consultant for five studies that have directly or indirectly involved Internet services and as a consultant to the Council for interventions before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Deane was the Council's representative and Head of Delegation for Canada for the recent initial international kick-off plenary meeting for ISO/TC290 Online Reputation. Deane is an independent consultant in the area of the Internet and knowledge management. Previously he worked for KPMG, where he was a member of the firm's kpmg.ca Steering Group, a member of the Global Knowledge Management Steering Committee which was responsible for the global Intranet of KPMG called KWorld, Chair of the Global KM Core Advisory Team, and the Chair of the Canadian Knowledge Services Committee, which had responsibility for the Canadian KPMG Intranet.