Consumer protection legislation in Canada

In Canada, consumer complaints are regulated by different levels of government, as well as non-government organizations. Finding the right place to direct your complaint is not always easy, but understanding your rights as a consumer is an important part of the complaint filing process.

Below you will find links to the websites of federal, provincial and territorial offices responsible for consumer affairs and the consumer protection legislation they enforce.

Please note: This is not an exhaustive list. Not all consumer protection legislation is included on this site. If you are unsure as to where you should direct your complaint, you may wish to consult your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office first for assistance.

Provincial and territorial consumer protection legislation

Many consumer complaints fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, including issues related to:

  • buying goods and services;
  • contracts;
  • the purchase, maintenance or repair of motor vehicles;
  • credit reporting agencies and the practices of collection agencies;
  • and more.

You can find consumer protection legislation for your province or territory on the websites of your office responsible for consumer affairs:

Federal consumer protection legislation

The Government of Canada has an important role in consumer awareness and protection.

Federal agencies and departments are responsible for enforcing legislation related to various issues, including:

  • consumer product safety;
  • food safety;
  • consumer product packaging and labelling;
  • anti-competitive practices, such as price fixing and misleading advertising;
  • privacy complaints;
  • and more.

Below you will find links to some of the most relevant areas where federal departments and agencies regulate consumer issues:

  • Consumer product safety: The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) regulates the safety of a wide variety of consumer products, with the exception of motor vehicles, food, drugs and animals. The CCPSA is administered by Health Canada.
  • Anti-competitive practices in the marketplace, such as price fixing and misleading advertising: The Competition Act contains both criminal and civil provisions aimed at preventing anti-competitive practices in the marketplace. The Act is administered by the Competition Bureau.
  • Packaging, labelling, sale, importation and advertising of prepackaged products: The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act requires that prepackaged consumer products bear accurate and meaningful labelling information to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. The Act is administered by the Competition Bureau.
  • Textile labelling and advertising: The Textile Labelling Act requires that textile articles bear accurate and meaningful labelling information to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. The Act is administered by the Competition Bureau.
  • Vehicle safety: The Motor Vehicle Safety Act regulates the manufacture and importation of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment to reduce the risk of death, injury and damage to property and the environment. The Act is administered by Transport Canada.
  • Food, meat and fish inspection, agricultural products, seeds, fertilizers, and animal feed and health: Food Safety and Inspection related Acts are administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • Safety and nutritional quality of all foods: The Food and Drugs Act establishes standards for the safety and nutritional quality of all foods sold in Canada and is administered by Health Canada.
  • Federally regulated financial institutions (banks, retail associations and federal trust, loan and insurance companies): Oversight of consumer issues in the federally regulated financial sector are administered by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
  • Wireless services: The Wireless Code explains your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of wireless services. It establishes standards that all wireless service providers must follow. The Wireless Code applies to all wireless contracts. The Wireless Code was created by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
  • Privacy: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees compliance with the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
  • Accuracy of measuring devices and accuracy of electricity and gas meters: The accuracy of these devices are regulated by the Weights and Measures Act and the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act which are administered by Measurement Canada.

    If you suspect that you have received an inaccurate measurement as part of a purchase or financial transaction, you may file a complaint with Measurement Canada.

  • Pollution and environmental protection concerns: The Canadian Environmental Protection Act is an Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health, and is administered by Environment Canada.
  • Quality and marking requirements of precious metals: The Precious Metals Marking Act provides for the uniform description and quality marking of articles made with gold, silver, platinum or palladium to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions. The Act is administered by the Competition Bureau.