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HRAI was notified by Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Service (MGCS) in early December about the introduction of Bill 159, The Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2019 in the Ontario Legislature.  The legislation, if passed, would “strengthen protections for consumers under the Consumer Protection Act by providing new and improved enforcement tools for the government to address non-compliant businesses.”  This would include providing clear authority for the Ministry to issue compliance orders and enabling administrative penalties. 

This new legislation was expected by HRAI.  Members may recall that HRAI made comments last summer on proposed amendments by the Ministry to the Consumer Protection Act.  At that time, HRAI was mostly supportive of the other proposed changes (which were in fact made in response to previous comments that came from HRAI and its members). In addition to those amendments was a proposal “to amend the CPA to establish ‘administrative penalties’ as a tool for more effective enforcement of the regulations” and a note that this might require new legislation.  Bill 159 is that legislation.

HRAI agreed in its August 2019 submission that administrative penalties might well be an effective enforcement tool but stressed that “the way these are designed will require extensive consultation with the industry potentially affected.”  The Ministry’s December communique clearly promises to consult with HRAI (when/if the legislation is passed) on what these administrative penalties should look like and how they should be administered.  This consultation will be conducted during the regulation development phase that would give effect to the legislative changes for administrative penalties – probably sometime in the spring.

In the December 5th MGCS, Ministry staff also stated their appreciation for “the support and feedback that HRAI provided on the recent consultation related to proposed changes to the direct selling rules and enforcement provisions under the Consumer Protection Act.”  The communique also committed to undertaking a more “comprehensive review” of the Consumer Protection Act – “the first comprehensive review of the legislation in nearly 15 years” with a view to how the act can be streamlined to make it easier for business to understand and comply with.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 235 or email mluymes@hrai.ca.