June 2023

Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)

June 2023

In this issue of Consumer Edge, learn about dark commercial patterns, find out about the funded projects for the 2023-2025 cycle of the OCA's grants and contributions program, read a report on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the financial well-being of Canadians and discover the theme for this year's World Food Safety Day.

Dark patterns

Have you ever felt as though you had given up more time, money or personal information than you were comfortable with while using an app or website? Perhaps you noticed an unexpected handling fee at the last step of your online purchase, or found out that you can only access a special deal if you provide your email address? These pressure tactics are examples of dark commercial patterns.

The Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) has created new web content to help you recognize and report dark patterns. Check out the new web page to learn more about the various types of dark patterns, what to do when you encounter them and how you can report them.

Funded projects announced for the OCA Program

Do you know about the Office of Consumer Affairs' (OCA) Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations? Through the OCA's program, consumer advocacy groups receive funding to take on research projects that address current and emerging consumer trends as well as development projects to support organizational capacity. We frequently share the research reports from the funded projects in this e-newsletter! For example, see Credit Counselling Canada's research report featured below.

We recently announced that a total of 21 projects will be funded for the 2023-2025 cycle of the OCA Program—14 research projects and 7 development projects—to support the work of 12 consumer advocacy organizations across the country.

From sustainable consumption to systemic barriers, affordability and risks to vulnerable Canadians, the funded projects address a wide variety of research topics.

Check out the complete list of funded research projects that will help strengthen the role of Canadian consumers in the marketplace.

Read: The Canadian Consumer Experience and Concerns with Digital Debt Payments in the COVID-19 Era

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many Canadians manage their money. Credit Counselling Canada (CCC) studied these changes and recently published a report that shares how access to digital communication technology and the capacity to use digital financial products both influence financial health and financial-related stress on Canadians.

The not-for-profit organization received funding from the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations to complete two rounds of research. The final report, titled The Canadian Consumer Experience During The COVID-19 Pandemic, is now available to read on the CCC website.

World Food Safety Day (June 7)

World Food Safety Day is on June 7 and this year's theme is Food standards save lives.

Food safety standards are important because they ensure that you have access to safe, high-quality food.

Did you know that Health Canada sets standards on the safety and nutritional value of food and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces them?

On June 7, use the #WorldFoodSafetyDay hashtag to join the conversation on social media and to learn more about food standards.

Consumer news spotlight:

Find more consumer-related information from the Government of Canada on the News for consumers page.