Federal consumer protection legislation in Canada

The Government of Canada plays an important role in consumer awareness and protection.

Federal agencies and departments are responsible for enforcing legislation related to various issues, including:

  • consumer product safety
  • food safety
  • consumer product packaging and labelling
  • anti-competitive practices, such as price fixing and misleading advertising
  • privacy complaints

Below are links to some of the most relevant areas of federal consumer protection legislation in Canada:

Legislation administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Food safety: The CFIA regulates several Food Safety and Inspection related Acts, covering food, meat and fish inspection, agricultural products, seeds, fertilizers, and animal feed and health.

Legislation administered by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

Wireless services: All wireless service providers and all retail mobile wireless voice and data services must follow the Wireless Code. The Code aims to make it easier for consumers to get information about their contracts for wireless services, including their rights and responsibilities, and to establish minimum standards for wireless service providers.

Legislation administered by the Competition Bureau

Anti-competitive practices in the marketplace: The Competition Act prevents anti-competitive practices in the marketplace, such as price fixing and misleading advertising, through both criminal and civil provisions.

Packaging, labelling, sale, importation and advertising of prepackaged products: The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act requires that prepackaged consumer products bear accurate and meaningful labelling information to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

Textile labelling and advertising: The Textile Labelling Act requires that textile articles bear accurate and meaningful labelling information to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

Quality and marking requirements of precious metals: The Precious Metals Marking Act calls for the uniform description and quality marking of articles made with gold, silver, platinum or palladium to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

Legislation administered by Health Canada

Safety and nutritional quality of foods: The Food and Drugs Act sets standards for the safety and nutritional quality of all foods sold in Canada.

Consumer product safety: The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) regulates the safety of a wide variety of consumer products including children's toys, household products, sporting goods and their components, accessories and packaging. The Act does not regulate motor vehicles, food, drugs, or animals.

Legislation administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)

Pollution and environmental protection concerns: The Canadian Environmental Protection Act contributes to sustainable development through pollution prevention. It serves as the legislative basis for a range of federal environmental and health protection programs.

Legislation administered by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

Federally regulated financial institutions: The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada ensures that federally regulated financial institutions in Canada comply with consumer protection laws. This includes banks, retail associations and federal trust, loan and insurance companies.

Legislation administered by Measurement Canada

Accuracy of measuring devices: The Weights and Measures Act regulates the units of measurement used in Canada and ensures the accuracy of measurement instruments.

Accuracy of electricity and gas meters: the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act oversee the accuracy of electricity and gas meters in Canada.

Legislation administered by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Privacy: The Privacy Act sets out consumer privacy rights in your interactions with the federal government. It applies to how the government collects, uses and discloses your personal information and gives you the right to access your personal information held by the federal government.

Use of Personal information: The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) requires organizations to obtain an individual's consent when they collect, use or disclose that individual's personal information.

Legislation administered by Transport Canada

Vehicle safety: The Motor Vehicle Safety Act regulates the manufacture and importation of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment to reduce the risk of death, injury and damage to property and the environment. The Act is administered by Transport Canada.

Provincial and territorial consumer protection legislation

Many consumer complaints fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, including issues related to:

  • buying goods and services;
  • contracts;
  • the purchase, maintenance or repair of motor vehicles;
  • credit reporting agencies and the practices of collection agencies;
  • and more.

Visit your provincial or territorial Consumer Affairs office for more information on your consumer protection legislation.