Grocery inflation has hit shoppers in Canada harder than in the U.S, with food prices up 9.1% year-over-year. Now, Ontario is trying to prevent future price gouging from retailers.
The Ontario government has introduced legislation that would strengthen consumer protections while also making it easier for businesses to comply with consumer protection rules.
The Better for Consumers, Better for Businesses Act, 2023, builds on existing protections outlined in the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, which took effect in 2005 before online shopping took over the consumer landscape.
The act would double the maximum fine for businesses who are price gouging, deceiving consumers with one-sided or difficult-to-understand contracts, or ones who make it difficult for shoppers to cancel membership programs.
“People deserve to shop with confidence when spending their hard-earned money on goods and services at home, online, and in their communities,” said Todd McCarthy, minister of public and business service delivery. “By updating rules that protect them when they are shopping or entering contracts with businesses, we can better adapt to today’s evolving marketplace and build a safer, smarter, and stronger economy.”
The act would also include a single set of core rules written in a clear, simple language that would make it easier for businesses to comply with consumer protection rules.
The act also takes on identity theft. Consumers would have greater access to credit information and a greater ability to limit how their credit information is shared with third parties.