August 2023

Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)

August 2023

This edition of Consumer Edge highlights a report on access to fair credit, provides a resource for safely buying second-hand products and links to the latest update on travelling with Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).

ACORN: Access to fair credit

Where do you turn if you're in a vulnerable financial situation and you need to borrow money? The reality is that many Canadians resort to high cost lending if they have no access to credit products with lower interest rates through traditional lenders such as banks and credit unions.

A recent study by ACORN Canada, titled Fair Credit: Enhancing low-cost/short-term credit options among low- and moderate-income consumers, confirms that the availability and consumers' awareness of short-term, low-cost credit options is limited.

ACORN received funding from the OCA's Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations to complete this study, which includes recommendations to policy-makers for enhancing the access to fair credit.

Buying second-hand products

Buying second-hand is a an environmentally friendly way to consume and a good way to score a deal. There are many places to buy second-hand products — garage sales and flea markets are more common during the summer months and second-hand stores, the Internet, or even family and friends are other ways you might snag your second-hand treasure.

In all cases, though, you should consider putting safety ahead of savings as there are potential risks to buying or using second-hand goods. For example, the sport's helmet being sold at a garage sale may not meet current regulatory or safety requirements.

Thankfully, it's possible to consume sustainably by giving items a second life and to do so responsibly by consulting the resources available to avoid dangerous items. You'll be thrifting with peace of mind this summer with the safety tips from Health Canada's web page on Buying second-hand products.

Travelling with emotional support animals

Do you plan to fly with an emotional support animal (ESA) in the near future? Before your next flight, checking out the latest update on the requirements for travelling with your pet is important for determining if they will be able to travel with you in the passenger cabin.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) issued a final decision related to travelling with Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) for persons with disabilities. The Agency determined that air carriers are only required to accommodate dogs as ESAs, and only under specific conditions. You can find more information on the Agency's website.