January 2022

Consumer Edge

Office of Consumer Affairs

January 2022

Happy New Year! We hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season.

In this edition of Consumer Edge, we've included tips to help you set goals for 2022 as well as information on a variety of other topics, including your consumer and privacy rights and open banking.

Understanding your subscription service contract

Signing up for the gym or for a periodic food delivery service can be an easy way to help you achieve your New Year's resolution. Although these subscription services are convenient, always remember to carefully read the service provider's contract before signing up.

For a better understanding of how contracts work in Canada, visit the Office of Consumer Affairs' (OCA) contracts web page.

If you have questions about a specific contract you've signed or intend to sign, your first call should be to the company from which you're purchasing the product or service. If something in the contract is still unclear after you've discussed it with the business, your provincial or territorial consumer protection office may be able to help answer your questions.

Zero plastic lunches: A simple way to fight climate change

If a renewed effort to do your part in fighting climate change is part of your New Year's resolution, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has great suggestions for ways you can make everyday activities, like eating lunch outside your home, more eco-friendly.

Bring a lunch packed from home to school or work to reduce your carbon footprint. Opting for reusable containers and packaging instead of single-use plastic allows you to create as little waste as possible. Other green options include reusable water bottles, food containers and cutlery. Also, when possible, it is encouraged to buy food items in bulk, including yogurt tubs or blocks of cheese rather than single-serving options.

When packing school lunches, having kids help out can also serve as an opportunity to talk to them about the importance of reducing waste and how it can benefit us all in the long run.

For more information on how to reduce the plastic in your lunchbox and at home, check out Environment and Climate Change Canada's webpage on zero plastic waste.

Check out the Office of Consumer Affairs' Consumer Hub

Looking to find redress for a consumer issue after you purchased or received a product or service during the holiday season? From travel questions to concerns about wireless services, the Consumer Hub can help you find the information you need to resolve your consumer issue.

The OCA launched the Consumer Hub in August 2021 as a tool to help you:

  • get answers to your consumer questions
  • learn about consumer complaint processes and access the necessary forms
  • view information specific to your province or territory

Visit our About the Consumer Hub page to learn more.

January 24 to 28 is Data Privacy Week

As an internationally recognized initiative, consumers and businesses around the world celebrate Data Privacy Week in an effort to:

  • spread awareness about the importance of consumer privacy
  • encourage businesses to respect consumer privacy
  • develop trust between businesses and consumers

To learn more about Data Privacy Week and how to get involved, visit the National Cybersecurity Alliance website.

Check out the Office of Consumer Affairs' (OCA) webpage on identity theft for further tips on how to protect your personal information and your digital data.

Read the research report: "Open Banking: A Panacea for Consumers?"

In fall 2021, Union des Consommateurs (UC) published a report about their ISED-funded research project titled "Open Banking: A Panacea for Consumers?".

Union des Consommateurs received funding from the OCA's Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations to complete this study.

Read the full report to learn more about consumers' expectations and fears about open banking and the potential issues it may raise for Canadian consumers.

To learn more about open banking, visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's open banking webpage.