Fair Trading Act Becomes the Consumer Protection Act and Other Key Amendments

by Bennett Jones LLP
Contact

Bennett Jones LLP

[co-author: Kathryn Shaw - Articling Student]

Bill 31: A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act passed First Reading on November 29, 2017, in the Alberta Legislature and received Royal Assent very quickly thereafter on December 15, 2017. Bill 31 amends the Fair Trading Act and changes its name to the Consumer Protection Act (Act). Certain sections of the Act have already come into force while others await proclamation.

The following key amendments are in force in Alberta:

  • Plain language preamble: The new plain language preamble sets forth certain guiding principles which are likely to be used to assist with future interpretations of the Act.
  • Consumer Bill of Rights: The Minister of Service Alberta has been delegated the obligation to establish and publish a "Consumer Bill of Rights" which will highlight consumer rights and protections under the Act likely in a less legalistic format. The Bill of Rights will not in itself result in any legally enforceable rights, give rise to any proceedings or create any offences under the Act.
  • End to mandatory arbitration clauses: An arbitration clause in a contract in a consumer transaction or with a consumer will only be enforceable if it was agreed to after the dispute arose, or if the underlying agreement allows for the consumer to decide between arbitration and the courts after the dispute arises.
  • Reviews and complaints: Businesses cannot contractually prevent consumers from posting reviews of the business or a transaction. The Act specifically removes any action against a person for compensation, damages or any other remedy for loss or damage from the publication of a negative review or communication in relation to any supplier or any other person to whom the Act applies unless the review or publication is malicious, vexatious or harassing or otherwise made in bad faith.
  • Remedies: Consumers who have entered into a consumer transaction and have suffered damage or loss due to a contravention of, or a failure to comply with, the Act or the regulations have a right to commence a court action against the supplier, or any principal, director, manager, employee or agent who engaged in or acquiesced in the contravention or failure to comply that caused the damage or loss. The court can award damages for damage or loss suffered, award punitive or exemplary damages, make an order for specific performance or the restitution of property or funds or rescission of the transaction, grant an injunction or make any other relief it considers proper.
  • Duty to mitigate: If a consumer enters into a consumer transaction and suffers damage or loss due to a contravention of or a failure to comply with the Act or regulations, the new provisions impose a specific obligation on the courts to assess whether the consumer made a reasonable effort to minimize any damage resulting from the contravention or failure to comply with the Act and to resolve the dispute with the supplier.
  • Regulations: The Minister now may make regulations defining any word or term used but not defined in the Act or part of the Act. In addition, the Minister has been delegated the right to make significant regulations in respect to many sections of the Act. As of the date of this article, no new regulations have been proposed.

The following additional key amendments are not yet in force as at the date of this article:

  • Unfair practices: In respect to ongoing consumer transactions, the failure to provide "prominent and full" disclosure of the details of the transaction including the duration, changes in price, renewals, extensions or amendments will be considered unfair practice and the current unfair practices will apply to ongoing transactions.
  • Further regulation to high-cost credit lenders: Businesses lending money at an interest rate of 32 percent or higher will need to be licensed under the Act, need to use prescribed form contracts or contract terms, and will need to have sufficient signage related to the credit being provided and risks of relying on such credit. This new provision also applies to leases but not payday loans.
  • End to unilateral contract amendment: Suppliers will be restricted from amending substantive terms of contracts—price, renewal, extensions, etc.—unless within the applicable time frames consumers consent or are provided with advance notice and given the right to cancel without penalty.
  • Licences: Two new provisions have been added whereby the Minister can refuse to issue, renew, cancel or suspend a licence or impose additional terms on a licencee if such licencee fails to repay the fund established under the Act which was used to payout claims against a licencee or such licencee fails to pay a levy of assessment in respect of such fund.

Additional amendments not yet in force affect veterinary services, car sales and repairs, and ticket sales and resales.

The regulation development stage has now begun.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Bennett Jones LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Bennett Jones LLP
Contact
more
less

Bennett Jones LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.