Status: Bill 31 passed December 13, 2017
Ministry responsible: Service Alberta
Consumer protection laws help protect consumers from unfair practices and businesses from unfair competition.
Consumers expect protections when they are buying goods and services or signing contracts. Businesses expect a level playing field so they can compete on equal footing and not be undermined by bad players.
Bill 31: A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act has been passed to improve Alberta's consumer protection laws.
The bill amends the Fair Trading Act to make regulatory improvements in areas that Albertans and stakeholders identified as priorities during our consultation last summer.
Consumer protection changes
Changes to Alberta's consumer protection legislation include:
- a new name - Alberta’s primary legislation to protect consumers from unfair practices and businesses from unfair competition was renamed to the Consumer Protection Act
- a new preamble to the Act – a plain language preamble was added to the Consumer Protection Act to further explain the intention and purpose of the act, and to help the courts interpret any provisions that may be unclear
- an authority for the Minister-responsible to make publically available a Consumer Bill of Rights
- as required by the new legislation, a Consumer Bill of Rights will be established as a general guideline to recognize and protect consumer rights and to help consumers understand their rights and make well-informed decisions
- enhanced fairness between consumers and businesses – new provisions that are now in place include:
- prohibiting businesses from including clauses in contracts that prevent consumers from posting negative reviews of the business or transaction, provided the negative review is not malicious or vexatious
- protection for consumers who file complaints in good faith, and are not vexatious or malicious, with a right of defense against lawsuits or other actions intended to coerce consumers to withdraw or not make complaints or publish reviews
- prohibiting suppliers from enforcing mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts
- expanded right to sue when a consumer has suffered a loss from a breach of the Act or regulations beyond unfair practices
- allowing the government to act in the public interest by enabling the release of information about charges, convictions, and other enforcement actions taken under the Act
Further changes in the areas of ticket sales, high-cost credit, veterinary service, car sales and repairs, and changes to the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) have now been moved to the regulation development phase.
The new consumer protection laws will come into effect upon proclamation.
New protections in the areas of ticket sales, high-cost credit, veterinary service, car sales and repairs, and changes to AMVIC will come into effect as related regulations are developed throughout 2018.
- Protecting consumers purchasing or repairing cars (November 30, 2017)
- A better deal for consumers and businesses (November 29, 2017)
Consumer Protection Line