Help Strengthen Alberta’s Consumer Protection Laws

Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean is asking Albertans for their feedback on ways the government can improve Alberta’s consumer protection legislation.

Minister Stephanie McLean speaks about ways to ensure the Alberta market is fair for consumers and businesses

Albertans can have their say by participating in an online survey or attending open houses this fall. Feedback will be collected until Sept. 15 on a variety of consumer topics, including contract-related issues, such as warranties and cancellation rights, as well as shopping-related concerns like transparency in pricing and reward points. The government will also be gathering input on industry topics like household moving services, debt collection, ticket sales and auto repairs.

“I encourage everyone to share their stories and ideas on how we can make life more affordable by better protecting consumers from bad deals and businesses from unfair competition.  We want a marketplace that’s fair for buyers and sellers, because it creates consumer confidence — and that’s good for business.”

Stephanie McLean, Minister of Service Alberta

How to participate:

  • Complete an online survey. The survey will run until Sept. 15.
  • Visit one of the open house sessions to be held in mid- September in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Red Deer.
  • Follow #ABConsumerProtection on Twitter for other engagement opportunities that will be available throughout the summer.

“A trusted relationship between business and consumers is critical for economic success. These consultations create an opportunity to grow that trust and create a win-win; hearing consumer voices and allowing businesses to compete fairly and freely in the market. That’s why I encourage companies across Alberta to give their input. Together, we can create the right conditions for business competitiveness and market growth.”

Adam Legge, president and CEO, Calgary Chamber

 “The vast majority of businesses treat their customers fairly. Consumers should have confidence in their dealings with the business community, and we encourage business owners to share their best practices and advice throughout the consultations.”

Janet Riopel, president and CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce

 “BBB is very excited for the public to become more engaged and educated about their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace. And it’s important to know what specific industries where people feel the most pressure from salespeople or would like more information to protect themselves.”

Ron Mycholuk, public relations manager, Better Business Bureau, central and northern Alberta

“As a non-profit organization aiming to advance marketplace trust, BBB invites businesses and consumers to take part in any opportunity to provide input into legislation that affects them.”

Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO, Better Business Bureau serving southern Alberta and East Kootenay

“Momentum is pleased to see the Government of Alberta continue to work to improve consumer protection for all Albertans. We believe that the government can take action to ensure existing high-cost financial services, such as title loans, rent-to-own and auto loans, are provided more safely and affordably. Those who can least afford to borrow in Alberta end up having to pay the most and can get caught in a debt trap. We hope that Albertans will share their experiences and suggestions for how to make the high-cost financial services market safer and fairer.”

Courtney Hare, public policy manager, Momentum

Quick facts:

  • Twelve statutes and 44 regulations make up the fair trading and consumer protection framework.
  • The Fair Trading Act is the primary legislation that ensures transactions between businesses and consumers are conducted fairly.
  • Service Alberta investigates potential violations of consumer protection laws, reviews complaints for transactions between businesses and consumers, and takes enforcement action where legislative breaches have occurred.
  • As part of the efforts to strengthen consumer protection and ensure a level playing field for Alberta businesses, the government has already taken the following steps:
    • Payday lending: Put an end to 600 per cent predatory interest rates on payday loans to prevent Albertans from spiralling into poverty. Alberta now has the country’s strongest protections and lowest interest rates for borrowers.
    • Door-to-door sales: Put an end to misleading, aggressive sales tactics by banning door-to-door sales of energy products and services. The ban includes furnaces, hot water tanks, air conditioners, windows, energy audits, and electricity and natural gas contracts.
    • Electricity price cap: Introduced a price cap to make life more affordable and ensure electricity bills are fair.
    • New home buyer protection: Introduced a builder licensing framework to protect consumers as well as the reputation of good builders.