An online consumer help website calling itself the Canadian Consumer Handbook is active again, but without the knowledge of the Federal government, which shuttered the original version nearly a year ago.
The site consumerhandbook.ca was once a repository of consumer information created and updated by the federal government, in cooperation with provincial governments. Last fall, the decision was made to no longer support the site.
For a period, the URL redirected to pages of the website of the Office of Consumer Affairs, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (since recast as Innovation, Science and Industry Canada.)
It appears the government let control of the site’s URL lapse, and someone else acquired control of it.
The site is now active, with some basic information about Canadian consumer protection issues, but without the depth of the old site. It also has numerous links to federal and provincial consumer protection departments and resources, though federal officials have no knowledge of the site’s new operators, and did not authorize their use of federal and provincial government logos on the site.
The site has no basic information about its ownership or any of a website’s usual “legal” provisions concerning usage. Its “Contact Us” facility provides message input only, with no mailing address, email address or telephone number. Consumers Council of Canada has not received any responses to its message queries about the site’s ownership or objectives. Online resources report that the site is hosted by Cloudflare in Montreal.
The Canadian Consumer Handbook, an initiative of the federal-provincial Consumer Measures Committee, was first published in 1999, and updated periodically through 2016. Its publication was part of a larger CMC effort to reconcile numerous provincial consumer protection rules.
Over time, the content created as a part of that effort migrated online. Its long-standing multi-purpose utility as a resource meant it was a destination source for many links on numerous other sites. This may have been an attraction to the site’s new operators, though there is no obvious advertising so far on the new site to monetize the ongoing traffic.