News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 2, 2013

LEGISLATION WOULD STRENGTHEN CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT TO PROTECT MANITOBA FAMILIES: RONDEAU



The province is taking steps to protect Manitoba families by introducing legislation that would give the Consumer Protection Office greater authority to take action against businesses that break the rules, Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.

“We’re strengthening the law to ensure our Consumer Protection Office can continue to be a valuable resource for hard-working Manitoba families and ensure they are protected from unfair business practices,” said Rondeau.  “While the majority of businesses operate within the law, these new amendments will give us greater authority to take action against those businesses that may try to take advantage of Manitobans.”

The changes to the act would give the Consumer Protection Office:  

  • the authority to impose higher administrative penalties;
  • greater access to records or information;
  • the authority to move forward with an inspection of businesses without needing a consumer complaint;
  • the authority to issue orders to businesses to ensure greater compliance with the act; and
  • the authority to issue orders to businesses to recover costs.

The bill also proposes new provisions that would allow the Consumer Protection Office to ask the courts to order compliance when a person or business does not comply with an order issued by the director or, in very serious circumstances, issue an injunction. 

“We’ve made great strides to ensure Manitoba consumers are protected and treated fairly, while ensuring that businesses are accountable,” said Rondeau.  “These changes complement other protections we’ve recently put in place, such as clear rules for cellphone contracts, payday loans and motor vehicle repairs.”

Additional changes would allow for a distinction between individuals and corporations for administrative penalties.  The maximum administration penalty for an individual would remain at $5,000 but the maximum penalty for a corporation would increase to $20,000 from $5,000.  

In addition to tabling this legislation, the minister announced that his department will be reviewing high-interest loan rules including a review of what is happening in other provinces to determine if there is more that can be done to protect Manitoba consumers.

The Consumer Protection Office receives, mediates and investigates consumer-related complaints.  Its duties include:

  • licensing and regulating payday lenders,
  • licensing companies and individuals that direct sell, and
  • licensing collection agents.

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