July 2021

Consumer Edge

Office of Consumer Affairs

July 2021

In this month's issue of Consumer Edge, we introduce the Shop Local initiative, provide tips for camping and electrical product safety and look at topics related to the financial well-being of Canadians.

Shop Local Initiative

Did you know that there are over one million small businesses operating in Canada? Small business are vital to the social and economic fabric of communities and employ over eight million Canadians.

The Government of Canada has committed $33M to a national Shop Local initiative, supporting provincial and territorial chambers of commerce to work with regional organizations on awareness campaigns that will encourage consumers to support their local small businesses.

Funding through the Shop Local initiative will be used to amplify existing campaigns, such as the #ShopYK campaign that the City of Yellowknife recently ran. Funding from this program will also be used to kickstart new activities like the #ShopNWT initiative the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce launched in June. Similar work to encourage consumers to shop with local businesses in mind will be rolled-out Canada-wide!

Safe summer camping and COVID-19

With summer in full swing, Canadians are itching to get outside and hit the campgrounds. Remember to continue following local public health guidelines as you explore the park you visit.

For advice on enjoying your trip while staying safe, check out Parks Canada's page on visiting sites during COVID-19.

Looking to experience nature without the bugs? Check out Parks Canada's 360 video series or the Google Maps virtual tours! These videos put you in control of your own adventure, allowing you to visit sites from coast to coast to coast without leaving the comfort of your living room!

Electrical product safety

In an effort to stay at home and avoid non-essential trips in accordance with public health guidelines, Canadians have been turning to online stores to make purchases. When shopping online for electrical products, including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, remember that it's still important to check for the certification marks required for sale in Canada. Uncertified products can pose health or safety risks, or may fail to operate correctly, putting you in danger.

Certification marks indicate that the products were assessed by accredited laboratories and meet the required Canadian safety standards. Look for a recognized Canadian certification mark such as CSA, cUL, ULC or cETL. You might find some of this information in the product description at the time of purchase, but it should appear on the product, not just the packaging.

Tip: When using your electrical products, make sure to read and follow manufacturer's instructions for installation and use to prevent injury. For more information, check out Health Canada's Electrical product safety page.

Survey on the financial impact of the pandemic on Canadians

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has published its Summary of findings COVID-19 surveys: Financial impact of the pandemic on Canadians.

This easy-to-navigate dashboard presents data collected from two monthly surveys launched in the second half of 2020—one on financial well-being and the other on banking.

Be sure to check out the results of these surveys to see how Canadians were financially impacted by the pandemic.  

Financial aid for tuition: Changes to Canada student grants and loans

Being a post-secondary student during the pandemic hasn't been easy. In an effort to support students facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, the Government of Canada has implemented new measures, such as doubling Canada Student Grant amounts and increasing Canada Student Loan maximum limits.

To learn more about these supports and how to apply for them, visit Employment and Social Development Canada's COVID-19 student loans page and explore other types of student aid offered by the Government of Canada.