Office of Consumer Affairs
This month's issue of Consumer Edge provides safety tips for shopping local and online. It also looks at topics such as credit reports, the purchase of measured goods and services and a modern copyright framework for artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
New on the Office of Consumer Affairs website: Tips to support local and stay safe
Looking for up-to-date information on how to stay safe while supporting local and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are some ways you can support local while also following the latest public health advice.
Local and small businesses are taking every precaution to make your service or shopping trip experience a safe one. If you are going out, remember to download the COVID Alert app, wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, follow the latest physical distancing recommendations and wash your hands frequently.
Shopping online? Tips to protect yourself
If you aren't in a position to visit a local store, you may decide to make your purchase online. Whether you're making your online purchase from a small local retailer or a larger business, it's important to be mindful of the risks some websites can pose. To learn about potential threats, warning signs and how to protect yourself when shopping online, check out the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security's web page How to Shop Online Safely.
Free credit reports and scores
Ordering your credit score just got easier–and cheaper! Equifax now offers a free credit score and report to all Canadian consumers.
Want to read more about credit reports? Visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's (FCAC) Understanding your credit report page for details.
Tip: Remember to regularly check your credit report for errors.
Measurements made easy: infographics by Measurement Canada
Whether walking down an aisle in a grocery store or making a purchase at your local gas station, you may notice that different items are sold in different packaging. From desserts to gas and firewood, food and other items are sold in particular units of measure. For more information on the specific measurements required at the point of sale for various products and services, check out these updated Measurement Canada infographics.
Consultation on a modern copyright framework for artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT)
It may not always be apparent, but advances in AI and IoT affect us all. For example, AI research that analyzes large amounts of data and text, which are often protected by copyright, has resulted in improvements to the spam filtering features that help protect us online. Progress of IoT devices and software-enabled products is helpful to consumers at home, work and play with the use of smart devices, including everything from phones to cars to fridges to toasters.
But some of these products rely on software and materials that are protected by copyright and technological protection measures. This means that some aspects of consumer ownership and control over their purchases, including the ability to repair their own purchases, has been reduced. Copyright and technological protection measures may also result in barriers to companies working to create IoT devices and other software-enabled products that can work seamlessly with pre-existing ones. As these issues fall under the purview of the Copyright Act, it is important that it reflects the needs of Canadians in a high-tech world.
In an effort to keep up with this evolving digital world, Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada along with Heritage Canada have launched a Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for AI and the IoT. The consultation aims to gain additional evidence and perspectives on various copyright issues relating to AI and IoT, including repair, through feedback from Canadians. For more information on the consultation and how to participate, check out the consultation web page.