Proposed amendments to the Bank Act (Canada), which would add a financial consumer protection framework, have been withdrawn from Bill C-29.

Framework

The proposed amendments would add a new part – Part XII.2 – Dealing with Customers and the Public – to the Bank Act, to consolidate the existing consumer protection provisions found within the act. The framework includes many provisions that are similar to the existing requirements in one new part.

New provisions proposed include:

  • a cooling-off period for most products and services that will be provided on an ongoing basis;
  • an express consent requirement if a minimum credit balance is a condition of a loan;
  • minimum disclosure requirements for all products and services, including:
    • the features of the product or service;
    • a list of all charges and penalties;
    • the customer's rights; and
    • obligations and complaints information; and
  • form and manner requirements for disclosures required under the framework, including information boxes for all disclosures required before an agreement was entered into.

Further review

After Bill C-29 passed its third reading in the House of Commons, the Bank Act amendments were withdrawn in response to objections from the Quebec government.

The controversial aspect of the amendments would provide that the financial consumer protection framework is intended to set out a comprehensive and exclusive regime that is paramount to any consumer protection law of a province. According to news reports, to address concerns raised by Quebec, the federal government will ask the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to review the framework to ensure that it provides consumer protections that are at least as strong as those available under provincial law. Following this review, the amendments will be introduced as a new bill.

For further information on this topic please contact Sharissa Ellyn at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada by telephone (+1 416 216 4000) or email (sharissa.ellyn@nortonrosefulbright.com). The Norton Rose Fulbright Canada website can be accessed at www.nortonrosefulbright.com.

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