Overview of Consumer Protection in Canada Series – Federal laws

Federal law

In addition to consumer protection measures found in financial institutions legislation, the Canadian federal government has enacted various pieces of legislation that address such consumer protection matters as product labelling, product safety, misleading advertising and anti-competitive practices. Federal legislation includes:

  • Interest Act. Addresses interest rates payable, including how the interest rate must be expressed (i.e. per annum).
  • Competition Act. Addresses anti-competitive practices in the Canadian marketplace, including misleading advertising and price-fixing.
  • Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). Sets out the rules for how private-sector organizations collect, use, or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activity across Canada.
  • Digital Privacy Act. Amends PIPEDA and includes obligations respecting breaches of security safeguards, significant fines and mandatory breach notification (not yet in force).
  • Food and Drugs Act. Regulates the advertisement and sale of foods, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices to the general public in Canada.
  • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. Regulates packaging, labelling, sale, importation and advertising of prepackaged products.
  • Canada’s Anti-Spam Law. Anti-spam legislation that applies to communications by businesses to their consumers. All forms of electronic communication fall under the legislation.

The 2016 Federal budget proposes to amend the Bank Act to introduce a new consumer protection chapter, with the intention of consolidating the consumer protection provisions in the Bank Act.

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