BC introduces amendments to consumer-protection legislation

27 February 2019

By Kevin Zakreski

Yesterday, a new bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia containing significant amendments to BC’s main consumer-protection statute, the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act. Bill 7, the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Amendment Act, 2019, adds a new part to the act to deal with high-cost credit products. The bill will also establish the Consumer Financial Education Fund, to promote financial education in British Columbia.

A news release from the provincial government’s ministry of public safety and solicitor general spells out the following changes in Bill 7:

  • create borrowers’ rights and remedies;
  • set limits on the total cost of borrowing;
  • prohibit certain fees and charges;
  • restrict the use of borrowers’ personal information;
  • protect people from wage assignment, terms and conditions that are unfair, potentially harmful and expensive “hard sell” options, as well as enticements to enter into high-cost credit product agreements;
  • require businesses that provide high-cost credit products to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC; and
  • enable Consumer Protection BC to enforce the act’s amendments and future regulations.

“In addition,” the release continues “changes to the act, if passed, will further build on changes from 2018 to strengthen payday lending laws, with new changes that include prohibiting the sale of insurance on payday loans.”

Finally, the release notes the following on the Consumer Financial Education Fund:

A new consumer financial education fund will be established under the act to enhance consumer financial education throughout the province. The fund will be administered by Consumer Protection BC.

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