Working to Protect Canadian Consumers

March 19, 2021
Ottawa Journal (Ottawa Journal (March 19 – March 23, 2021)
David Tilson, MP


“Why don’t they tell you that before you use it?” Seven simple words Canadians too often say in frustration when dealing with their banks and the products they offer.

After a long day at work or on the weekend, the last thing any of us want to do is call or visit our bank to have them “explain” something that wasn’t all that clear at first. This is why I’m happy that our Government has been busy working to make everyday financial products you use fairer and more transparent.

We believe Canadians deserve clear and direct information to make the best financial decisions in their best interests – and that’s happening more and more with our landmark pro-consumer measures. Measures like new rules that require all credit card applications and agreements to have all significant information, like interest rates, grace periods and fees, clearly and noticeably stated in plain language. No more text so small you need a magnify glass to read and legal dictionary to understand.

In addition, monthly credit cards statements must now include a clear indication of how long it would take someone to pay off a balance when only making the minimum payments, at current interest rates. Advance notice must now also be provided on monthly credit cards statements if interest rates are going to increase during the next statement period.

Beyond these new rules for credit cards there is more. Starting in August, we’re shortening the cheque hold period to give immediate access to the first $100 dollars of a cheque cashed at a federal financial institution to give Canadians timely access to their own money and there’s even more.

We’ve brought in a new code of conduct to ensure more transparent information for home-buyers on the often confusing issue of mortgage prepayments. This is especially important because with clearer information, Canadians can better manage what is often the biggest investment of their lifetime – their home. The code of conduct will require mortgage lenders to provide straightforward details on what rights home-buyers have and what obligations they face (including potential penalties) when paying down their mortgages. Additionally, the code also requires this information also be provided at renewal and in annual statements.

Finally, we are banning unsolicited credit card cheques that you’ll often see in your mailbox. These ‘cheques’, if used, are considered cash advances – which generally means higher interest rates and fees, and, like cash advances, interest begins to accrue immediately. By banning unsolicited credit card cheques, consumers will now only receive them if and when they request them and when they have made a fully informed decision to do so.

For more information on these and other pro-consumer measures introduced by our Government, visit www.fcac.gc.ca. These pro-consumer measures are starting to make comments like “why don’t they tell you that before you use it?” a little less common.