Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean is participating in a roundtable discussion with business leaders at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce today, ahead of a public open house tonight.
The minister wants to hear their ideas on ways to protect consumers from unfair practices and businesses from unfair competition. She will meet with Calgary business leaders at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
“I am pleased to meet with Alberta’s business leaders to hear their views about how we can help businesses compete, while protecting families from scams and unfair deals. We want to strengthen consumer protections in Alberta because it creates consumer confidence in the marketplace – and that’s good for business.”
“These consultations provide an opportunity to build on the strong relationship that exists between business and consumers. We encourage the entire business community to share their valuable knowledge and perspectives on treating consumers fairly. Together, we can ensure that consumers are protected and that businesses thrive in a fair, competitive marketplace.”
Minister McLean has also launched a series of six open houses and invites Albertans to share their ideas in person. The first open house kicks off tonight in Edmonton from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Earlier this summer, government launched an online survey and more than 2,500 Albertans have shared their ideas on consumer issues ranging from high-cost credit and door-to-door sales to concert ticket sales and car repairs. The survey will be open until Sept. 15.
The online survey, roundtable discussions and open houses are part of a consultation to make life more affordable for Albertans by improving Alberta’s consumer protection laws. The public’s input will help strengthen consumer protection and help businesses compete fairly.
Updates on the consultation are available on Twitter with #ABConsumerProtection and online at ServiceAlberta.ca.
Session dates and locations:
- Sept. 6, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. – Edmonton, Whitemud Crossing Public Library
- Sept. 7, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. – Calgary, Nicholls Family Public Library
- Sept. 11, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. – Grande Prairie, Grande Prairie Regional College
- Sept. 13, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. – Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo Regional Library
- Sept. 14, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. – Red Deer, Downtown Public Library
- Sept. 19, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. – Medicine Hat, Medicine Hat College
- The Fair Trading Act is the primary legislation that ensures transactions between businesses and consumers are conducted fairly.
- Service Alberta investigates potential violations of consumer protection laws, reviews complaints for transactions between businesses and consumers and takes enforcement action.
- The online survey and open houses explore these consumer topics:
- a Consumer Bill of Rights
- fairness between consumers and businesses
- door-to-door sales
- ticket sales
- talent agencies
- rewards points
- vet services
- high-cost credit
- debt collection
- automotive sector
- household moving
- cancellation and contract rights
- gift cards
- truth in pricing
- As part of the efforts to strengthen consumer protection and ensure a level playing field for Alberta businesses, the government has already taken the following steps:
- Payday lending: Put an end to 600 per cent predatory interest rates on payday loans to prevent Albertans from spiraling into poverty. Alberta now has the country’s strongest protections and lowest interest rates for borrowers.
- Door-to-door sales: Stopped misleading, aggressive sales tactics by banning door-to-door sales of energy products and services. The ban includes furnaces, hot water tanks, air conditioners, windows, energy audits and electricity and natural gas contracts.
- Electricity price cap: Introduced a price cap to make life more affordable and ensure electricity bills are fair.
- New home buyer protection: Introduced a builder-licensing framework to protect consumers as well as the reputation of good builders.