Prime Minister Justin Trudeau re-iterated the federal government’s commitment to establishing a Canadian Consumer Advocate as part of the mandate letter issued to incoming cabinet minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.
Champagne replaced Navdeep Bains as Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry after Bains resigned from cabinet last month. Champagne previously headed Foreign Affairs.
Trudeau issued “supplementary” mandate letters to cabinet members January 15, outlining key priorities for each minister. The supplementary letter to Champagne includes many COVID-19 related priorities, but states in numerous locations that the priorities outlined to Bains in the 2019 letter remain in place.
That 2019 mandate letter outlined establishing a Canadian Consumer Advocate, which would “ensure a single point of contact for people who need help with federally regulated banking, telecom or transportation-related complaints. Ensure that complaints are reviewed and, if founded, that appropriate remedies and penalties can be imposed.”
The Consumers Council of Canada position paper Time for a Real Federal Consumer Advocate strongly endorsed the idea and encouraged the government to consider an expanded role for the office. The paper noted that consumer issues extend well beyond the three industries listed in the mandate letter and the economy would benefit if a formal agency could facilitate research, collaborate with provinces and supervise consumer protection more broadly. The report is available for purchase/download in the Consumer Council’s online store.