The Consumer Investigations Unit (CIU) investigates breaches of consumer protection legislation. The main focus of an investigation is to make sure Alberta's consumer protection laws are being followed. At the end of the investigation, the investigator may recommend further action based on the facts of the case.
When a supplier or regulated entity has been found to contravene the legislation, Service Alberta can:
- suspend, cancel or impose conditions on a licence
- issue a Notice of Administrative Penalty
- issue a Director's Order
- enter into an Undertaking
- prosecute the contravention under the Consumer Protection Act.
The alleged Consumer Protection Act offenses must be heard, tried and adjudicated by a Provincial Court Judge. The name of any person charged under the Consumer Protection Act will be published. Charges will be removed from the website as soon as possible after cases have been resolved by the Courts, settled or withdrawn by the Crown. This site has charges and convictions under the Consumer Protection Act only.
The name of any person convicted under the Consumer Protection Act will be published. Records related to convictions will be maintained on the website for up to ten (10) years.
A director's order is a tool that requires a person to come into compliance with the legislation. A director's order can be issued for any breach of the Consumer Protection Act, the Cemeteries Act or the Condominium Property Act, (the Act) or their regulations.
A director's order can be issued to a supplier if the supplier:
- has contravened the Act or regulations
- uses any form, agreement, letter or other document that's misleading or contains a term that misrepresents the Act or regulations
- publishes an advertisement that's misleading or contains a term that contravenes the Act or regulations
An undertaking is a voluntary agreement with a person who previously contravened the Consumer Protection Act, the Cemeteries Act or the Condominium Property Act, (the Act) or their regulations. The purpose of an undertaking is to prevent future contraventions of the legislation. To comply with an undertaking, a person may have to:
- confirm that they have stopped engaging in a practice or change a practice described in the undertaking
- commit to changes in their operations or processes to ensure future compliance
- provide compensation to anyone who has suffered a loss
- publicize the undertaking or the action being taken
- pay the costs of investigating the person's activities and any costs associated with the undertaking
Notices of Administrative Penalty
Notices of Administrative Penalty are monetary sanctions assessed by the Director of Fair Trading or Director of Condominiums (the Director). A Notice of Administrative Penalty can be issued if the Director finds that a person:
- has contravened a provision of the Act or their regulations
- has failed to comply with a term or condition of a licence issued under the Act or their regulations
The Director may, by notice in writing given to the person, require the person to pay to the Crown an administrative penalty in the amount set out in the notice. In setting the amount of the administrative penalty, the Director may consider a number of factors, including:
- the seriousness of the contravention or failure to comply
- the degree of wilfulness or negligence
- the impact on any person affected by the contravention or failure to comply
- if there is a history of non-compliance by the person
- whether or not there were any mitigating factors relating to the contravention or failure to comply
- whether or not the offender has derived any economic benefit from the contravention or failure to comply
The Consumer Protection Act, the Cemeteries Act and the Condominium Property Act authorize Service Alberta to collect personal information about businesses to help protect consumers from unfair practices and businesses from unfair competition. Publishing this information is consistent with the original purpose for which the personal information was originally collected.
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