Consumers Council of Canada works to increase inclusion and opportunities for consumers to be represented in their governments and in the regulated economy. It promotes innovative and modern consumer protection laws and compliance programs. Its ability to make progress towards these goals depends on operating a strong, viable, research-based national consumer organization.
The Council has represented consumers in:
- legislative processes
- hearings of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and Ontario Energy Board
- advisory processes and committees of federal and provincial government departments and regulatory organizations and agencies, such as Competition Bureau of Canada, Canadian Anti-fraud Forum, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, Payments Canada, Ontario Securities Commission, Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Electrical Safety Authority, Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, Travel Industry Council of Ontario, Bereavement Authority of Ontario, Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario
- in governance of consumer dispute resolution organizations, such as Advertising Standards Canada, Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, Commissioner for Complaints in Telecom-Television Services
- in domestic and international standards development and priority setting
The Council has provided consumer perspective research and advocacy since 1994, dealing with subjects such as:
- corporate social responsibility
- consumers and climate change
- financial service transactions and payments
- e-commerce and Internet security
- complaints handling, trade reform and trade practices
- auto insurance
- product warranties and insurance
- telecommunications services
- food information
- advertising and labeling
- sustainable consumptionhousing and residential intensification
Some Recent Achievements for Consumers
Recently, the Council has:
- Helped achieve a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that advances the legal framework protecting Canadians from unconscionable contract terms.
- Prompted more muscular consumer protection enforcement by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, which finally named, shamed and fined a Canadian Schedule I bank – CIBC – for 13 years of abusing its customers.
- Demonstrated the need for the Ontario government to implement structural and governance reforms in the regulation of the home building industry.
- Been appointed to the Treasury Board of Canada’s External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness, which (1) has a mandate to advise Treasury Board on how to improve regulatory competitiveness in Canada while protecting health, security, safety and environmental standards and (2) support the modernization of Canada’s regulatory system into one that further enables investment and innovation.
- Drew the attention of the federal government to consumers’ dissatisfaction with government complaint handling, which led the prime minister to mandate three federal ministers to work towards creating a Canadian Consumer Advocate.
Current Efforts to Strengthen Consumer Representation
The Council is:
- Pushing for an expanded role for the federal government’s proposed Canadian Consumer Advocate, which the Council has recommended should include increasing the capacity of independent consumer groups to represent consumers in formal processes.
- Assisting the Council in securing expanded funding from the federal and provincial levels of government and their agencies and from self-regulatory organizations to build meaningful consumer representation in Canada.