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A BETTER DEAL FOR CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES ACT

A BETTER DEAL FOR CONSUMERS
AND BUSINESSES ACT

Chapter 18

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, enacts as follows:


Consumer Protection Act

Amends RSA 2000 cC‑26.3

1(1)  The Consumer Protection Act is amended by this section.

(7)  Section 6(4) is amended by repealing clause (t.1) and substituting the following:

                                 (t.1)    in respect of an ongoing consumer transaction,

                                           (i)    a supplier’s representation regarding the transaction if the supplier fails to provide prominent and full disclosure of the details of the transaction, including duration, changes in price, renewals, extensions or amendments, or

                                          (ii)    an act or omission that is a contravention of or failure to comply with section 6.1(2);

(8)  The following is added after section 6:

Unilateral change

6.1(1)  In this section, “substantive term”, in respect of an ongoing consumer transaction, means any term in an agreement that

                                   (a)    relates to price,

                                   (b)    relates to renewal of the agreement or extension of the length or period of the agreement, or

                                    (c)    is a term or within a class of terms prescribed as substantive by the regulations.

(2)  Subject to the regulations, no supplier shall make a change to a substantive term of an ongoing consumer transaction unless

                                   (a)    the consumer has expressly consented to the specific change to the substantive term not more than 120 days before the change is to take effect, or

                                   (b)    all of the following conditions are met:

                                           (i)    the ongoing consumer transaction provides, in writing, for the supplier to make changes to the substantive term without obtaining the consumer’s express consent to the specific change;

                                          (ii)    the supplier gives the consumer at least 60 days’ but not more than 120 days’ written notice of the specific change;

                                         (iii)    all other applicable conditions or restrictions set out in the regulations.

(3)  Subject to the regulations, a notice referred to in subsection (2)(b)(ii)

                                   (a)    must set out every substantive term of the ongoing consumer transaction that is proposed to be changed, and its proposed replacement,

                                   (b)    must specify the date on which the change is proposed to take effect, which must not precede the expiry of the 60‑day period provided under clause (c),

                                    (c)    must clearly state that the consumer has the option to cancel the ongoing consumer transaction, at no cost or penalty, within 60 days of receiving the notice, or any longer time period expressly allowed by the supplier,

                                   (d)    must provide contact information for the supplier to enable the consumer to exercise the option to cancel the ongoing consumer transaction,

                                    (e)    must, in the case of a change in cost for the consumer, set out the total financial impact to the consumer,

                                    (f)    must meet any other requirements set out in the regulations, and

                                    (g)    must be given in the manner set out in the regulations.

(4)  Where a change is made to an ongoing consumer transaction under this section, the supplier shall, within 30 days of a request by a consumer and at no charge to the consumer, provide the consumer with a copy of the entire amended ongoing consumer transaction in written or electronic form, or make it accessible online for a period of no less than 180 days from the date of the consumer’s request.

(5)  A change to a substantive term of an ongoing consumer transaction is of no effect if it is made in contravention of subsection (2), (3) or (4) or a provision of a regulation made under subsection (6)(b).

(6)  The Minister may make regulations

                                   (a)    prescribing substantive terms or classes of substantive terms for the purposes of subsection (1)(c);

                                   (b)    respecting notices referred to in subsection (2)(b)(ii), including, without limitation, regulations respecting

                                           (i)    the provision of notice by suppliers;

                                          (ii)    the form and content of notices or the manner in which notices are given;

                                         (iii)    when notices are deemed to have been received;

                                    (c)    respecting the creation, retention and provision of records, including, without limitation, records respecting notices referred to in subsection (2)(b)(ii);

                                   (d)    respecting conditions or restrictions that must be met for the purposes of subsection (2)(b)(iii);

                                    (e)    exempting classes of ongoing consumer transactions from the application of one or more provisions of this section;

                                    (f)    exempting changes or classes of changes to substantive terms from the application of one or more provisions of this section.

Cancellation following notice of unilateral change

6.2(1)  A consumer who receives a notice referred to in section 6.1(2)(b)(ii) may cancel the ongoing consumer transaction by providing the supplier with a written notice of cancellation that

                                   (a)    indicates the consumer’s intention to cancel the ongoing consumer transaction, and

                                   (b)    meets all other applicable requirements, if any, set out in the regulations.

(2)  A cancellation notice referred to in subsection (1) must be sent within the time specified in the regulations.

(3)  If a consumer cancels an ongoing consumer transaction under this section, the cancellation operates in accordance with the regulations.

(4)  No supplier shall impose any charge on a consumer or seek any compensation from a consumer for cancelling an ongoing consumer transaction if the cancellation is done in accordance with this section and the regulations.

(5)  The Minister may make regulations respecting the cancellation of an ongoing consumer transaction, including, without limitation, regulations

                                   (a)    respecting the rights and obligations of consumers and suppliers with respect to the cancellation of an ongoing consumer transaction;

                                   (b)    respecting the contents of notices of cancellation under subsection (1), the manner in which the notices of cancellation are required to be given and when they are deemed to have been received;

                                    (c)    respecting the operation of a cancellation and its effect on the ongoing consumer transaction and any related consumer transactions, including, without limitation, a consumer transaction with a third party;

                                   (d)    respecting refunds after a cancellation.

(11)  The following is added after section 108:

Part 10.1
Automotive Sales and Repairs

Definitions

108.1   In this Part,

                                   (a)    “automotive business” means the business designated as the automotive business under the Designation of Trades and Businesses Regulation (AR 178/99);

                                   (b)    “automotive business operator” means a person who is engaged in the automotive business;

                                    (c)    “consumer” means

                                           (i)    an individual who receives or has the right to receive goods or services for personal use from an automotive business operator as a result of a purchase, lease, gift, contest or other arrangement, but does not include an individual who intends to sell the goods after receiving them, or

                                          (ii)    a business with a commercial fleet of 5 or fewer vehicles that receives or has the right to receive goods or services for business use from an automotive business operator as a result of a purchase, lease, gift, contest or other arrangement, but does not include a business that intends to sell the goods after receiving them;

                                   (d)    “vehicle” means a vehicle as defined in the Automotive Business Regulation (AR 192/99).

Disclosure, standard bill of sale, warranties, estimates,
authorization of work

108.2(1)  An automotive business operator engaged in automotive sales shall disclose specified information to each consumer in accordance with the regulations.

(2)  An automotive business operator engaged in automotive sales shall use a standard bill of sale in accordance with the regulations.

(3)  An automotive business operator engaged in automotive repairs shall provide a warranty in accordance with the regulations.

(4)  An automotive business operator engaged in automotive repairs shall, on request from the customer, provide an estimate of the cost of proposed work in accordance with the regulations.

(5)  An automotive business operator engaged in automotive repairs shall not conduct specified work unless the consumer has provided authorization as required in the regulations.

Regulations

108.3   The Minister may make regulations respecting the practices of automotive business operators, including, without limitation, regulations

                                   (a)    providing for anything that by this Part is to be prescribed by the regulations;

                                   (b)    respecting the disclosure to consumers of information respecting automotive sales, including, without limitation, information respecting vehicle history;

                                    (c)    respecting the form and content of a standard bill of sale for automotive sales and respecting disclosure in respect of a standard bill of sale;

                                   (d)    respecting the types of transactions in respect of automotive repairs that must be accompanied with warranties;

                                    (e)    respecting warranties for automotive repairs, including, without limitation, regulations

                                           (i)    respecting the minimum duration of warranties;

                                          (ii)    respecting terms, conditions and standards to be included in warranties;

                                    (f)    respecting requirements for estimates of the cost of work to be performed by automotive business operators engaged in automotive repairs, including, without limitation, requirements for estimates to be in writing;

                                    (g)    respecting authorization by consumers for work to be performed by automotive business operators engaged in automotive repairs, including, without limitation, requirements for authorizations to be time‑stamped;

                                   (h)    exempting a vehicle or class of vehicle from the operation of all or part of this Part.

(12)  The following is added after section 124:

Part 12.01
High‑cost Credit

Definitions

124.01   In this Part,

                                   (a)    “high-cost credit agreement” means a credit agreement that provides for a rate of 32% or more as calculated in accordance with the regulations, and includes a lease but does not include a payday loan;

                                   (b)    “high-cost credit business” means the activity of offering, arranging for or entering into a high-cost credit agreement.

Licence required

124.02(1)  No person shall provide high-cost credit or carry on the activities of the high‑cost credit business unless the person is the holder of a high-cost credit business licence issued under this Act.

(2)  No person may claim or advertise that the person is a high-cost credit business operator or carries on the activities of the high-cost credit business unless the person is the holder of a high-cost credit business licence issued under this Act.

(3)  A high-cost credit business operator shall, in accordance with the regulations,

                                   (a)    disclose information respecting high-cost credit agreements, and

                                   (b)    use prescribed agreements or contract terms for providing high-cost credit.

(4)  If required to do so by the applicable regulation, a person who carries on the activities of the high-cost credit business at more than one location must hold a separate licence issued under this Act for each location that authorizes the person to carry on that business.

(5)  The Minister may make regulations respecting the high‑cost credit business including, without limitation, regulations

                                   (a)    respecting the calculation of the rate referred to in section 124.01(a);

                                   (b)    specifying activities that constitute engaging in the high‑cost credit business for the purposes of this Part;

                                    (c)    respecting the licensing of high‑cost credit business operators;

                                   (d)    respecting the disclosure of information by high-cost credit business operators;

                                    (e)    respecting the form and content of agreements or contract terms used by high‑cost credit business operators;

                                    (f)    respecting the duties and obligations of persons carrying on, or engaged or employed in the high‑cost credit business;

                                    (g)    prescribing or adopting, with or without modification, codes, standards or rules governing

                                           (i)    the manner of carrying on the high‑cost credit business,

                                          (ii)    experience and education requirements and requirements as to the financial responsibility of persons carrying on or wishing to carry on the high‑cost credit business,

                                         (iii)    the type and condition of premises and equipment used in the high‑cost credit business,

                                         (iv)    lending practices for high‑cost credit business operators, and

                                          (v)    the conduct of persons engaged in carrying on the high‑cost credit business;

                                   (h)    respecting the manner of informing members of the public of

                                           (i)    any sale of or dealing with goods, products or services of the high‑cost credit business operator, and

                                          (ii)    contraventions of this Part;

                                     (i)    respecting terms and conditions for a high‑cost credit business operator that has contravened this Part or the regulations made under this Part to continue operating as a high-cost credit business operator under this Part;

                                    (j)    respecting the suspension or cancellation of a high‑cost credit business licence;

                                   (k)    prescribing in respect of any high‑cost credit business operator that the approval of any authority specified by the Minister is required for the obtaining or renewal of a licence or the establishment of that business;

                                     (l)    respecting advertising by high‑cost credit business operators;

                                  (m)    requiring that specified records be maintained by any class of high‑cost credit business operator;

                                   (n)    exempting a person or class of persons from high-cost credit business licensing requirements.

(14)  Section 127 is amended by adding the following after clause (b)(i):

                                 (i.1)    fails to repay a fund created under section 137 in respect of amounts paid out in claims against the licensee,

                                 (i.2)    fails to pay a levy of assessment under section 136(8) or a levy of assessment for a fund created under section 137,

(15)  Section 136 is amended

                             (a)    in subsection (1) by repealing clause (b) and substituting the following:

                                   (b)    respecting the appointment of the directors of a regulatory board, including, without limitation, respecting the number of directors, the removal of directors, the terms of office of directors and the filling of vacancies of directors;

                                    (c)    respecting the functions, powers, duties, remuneration and benefits of directors and officers of a regulatory board;

                                   (d)    respecting whether or not a regulatory board is an agent of the Crown;

                                    (e)    respecting the powers of a regulatory board, including, without limitation, regulations specifying that a board has all the powers of a natural person;

                                    (f)    respecting any other governance matters, as the Minister considers necessary, including, without limitation, regulations respecting the conduct of regulatory board meetings and decision making by the regulatory board.

                             (b)    in subsection (2)(b) and (c) by striking out “members” and substituting “directors”;

                             (c)    in subsection (3) by striking out “Director” and substituting “Minister”;

                             (d)    in subsection (5)

                                     (i)    by striking out “The Director may by notice” and substituting “The Minister may by notice”;

                                    (ii)    in clause (a) by striking out “except the power to approve bylaws,”;

                                   (iii)    in clause (b) by striking out “the Director considers appropriate” and substituting “the Minister considers appropriate”.

                             (e)    in subsection (6) by striking out “Where the Director” and substituting “Where the Minister”;

                              (f)    in subsection (9) by striking out “Director” and substituting “Minister”;

                             (g)    in subsection (10) by striking out “member” and substituting “director”.

2017 c18 s1(15);2018 c11 s1

(16)  Section 137(7) is amended by adding the following after clause (h):

                                (h.1)    respecting appeals from claims decisions;

                                (h.2)    respecting the giving of notices related to claims against a fund;

(17)  The following is added after section 137.7:

Continuation of Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry
Council as corporation

137.8(1)  On the coming into force of this section, the society incorporated as the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council under the Societies Act is continued as a corporation under the name Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council and as a regulatory board under this Act.

(2)  On the coming into force of this section, all the assets and liabilities of the society are vested in the corporation and all rights of action and actions by or against the society may be continued by or maintained against the corporation.

(3)  Section 4 of the Companies Act does not apply to the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council.

Act, regulations prevail

137.9  In the event of an inconsistency or conflict between the bylaws of a regulatory board and this Act or the regulations, this Act or the regulations prevail to the extent of the inconsistency or conflict.

Transitional regulations, matters

137.91(1)  The Minister may make regulations

                                   (a)    respecting the transition, winding up or dissolution of a regulatory board, including the transfer from a regulatory board to the Government of Alberta of

                                           (i)    any of the powers, duties or other matters relating to, and any obligations, liabilities, rights and interests respecting, a regulatory board,

                                          (ii)    the responsibility for all or part of the operations of the regulatory board,

                                         (iii)    employees of a regulatory board,

                                         (iv)    records of a regulatory board,

                                          (v)    any unspent levies or fees, and

                                         (vi)    any applications, appeals, hearings, inquiries, investigations and other proceedings of the regulatory board that have not been completed before the coming into force of this section;

                                   (b)    respecting the transfer of a fund created by a regulatory board under section 137(1) to the Minister and the continuation of the fund by the Minister;

                                    (c)    respecting any transitional issues in respect of changes in a fund created by a regulatory board under section 137(1);

                                   (d)    to remedy any confusion, difficulty, inconsistency or impossibility resulting from a transition or transfer of any matter from a regulatory board to the Minister.

(2)  Section 14 of the Financial Administration Act does not apply to a fund transferred or continued under a regulation made under subsection (1)(b).

(3)  If a fund created by a regulatory board under section 137(1) is continued by the Minister by a regulation made under subsection (1)(b), a reference in section 137 to a regulatory board is to be read as a reference to the Minister.

Transitional regulations re continuation of
Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council

137.92   The Minister may make regulations

                                   (a)    respecting any transitional matters in respect of the continuation of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council as a corporation under section 137.8;

                                   (b)    remedying any confusion, difficulty, inconsistency or impossibility in respect of the continuation of the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council as a corporation under section 137.8.

(21)  Section 161 is amended

                             (c)    by adding the following after clause (g):

                                (g.1)    in Part 10.1, section 108.2;

                             (d)    by adding the following after clause (i):

                               (i.01)    in Part 12.01, section 124.02(1) to (4);

(26)  Subsections (7), (8), (10) to (12), (14) to (17) and (21)(b), (c) and (d) come into force on Proclamation.

Veterinary Profession Act

Amends RSA 2000 cV‑2

2(1)  The Veterinary Profession Act is amended by this section.

(2)  The following is added after section 48:

Part 5.1
Fees, Authorization for
Veterinary Medicine

Fees, authorization for veterinary medicine

48.1(1)  A registered veterinarian shall, in accordance with the regulations,

                                   (a)    disclose to a client who seeks veterinary medicine services in respect of a domestic cat or dog or other specified type of domestic animal all fees for the prescribed type of veterinary medicine services proposed for the client’s animal, and

                                   (b)    obtain the client’s authorization of the fees and the proposed type of veterinary medicine service

before a prescribed type of veterinary medicine service is performed with respect to the client’s animal.

(2)  Subsection (1) does not apply in circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

Publication, advertisement of fees, services

48.2(1)  In this section and section 48.3, “advertise” means to use any commercial communication, through any media or other means, that is intended to have or is likely to have the effect of

                                   (a)    promoting the use of veterinary medicine services offered by a registered veterinarian, a partnership of registered veterinarians or a permit holder, or

                                   (b)    enhancing the image of, or attracting clients to, a registered veterinarian, a partnership of registered veterinarians or a permit holder.

(2)  A registered veterinarian, a partnership of registered veterinarians or a permit holder may advertise the prescribed types of veterinary medicine services performed in respect of domestic cats and dogs and prescribed types of domestic animals, and the fees that are charged for the prescribed types of veterinary medicine services, if the information in the advertisement

                                   (a)    is true and objective,

                                   (b)    is complete, accurate, factual and verifiable,

                                    (c)    is not reasonably capable of misleading the recipient or intended recipient, and

                                   (d)    complies with the requirements, if any, set out in the regulations.

(3)  A registered veterinarian, a partnership of registered veterinarians or a permit holder may, in compliance with the requirements, if any, set out in the regulations, publish the fees that the veterinarian charges for prescribed types of veterinary medicine services for domestic cats and dogs and other specified types of domestic animals in respect of which the registered veterinarian performs veterinary medicine services.

Regulations

48.3(1)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council, after consultation with the Council, may make regulations respecting fees and authorization for veterinary medicine, including, without limitation, regulations

                                   (a)    specifying types of domestic animals for the purposes of this Part;

                                   (b)    prescribing types of veterinary medicine services for the purposes of this Part;

                                    (c)    respecting the disclosure to a client of fees for prescribed types of veterinary medicine services;

                                   (d)    respecting client authorization prior to the performance of prescribed types of veterinary medicine services with respect to domestic cats and dogs and other types of domestic animals;

                                    (e)    respecting circumstances referred to in section 48.1(2) under which a registered veterinarian is not required to comply with section 48.1(1);

                                    (f)    respecting the advertisement by a registered veterinarian, a partnership of registered veterinarians or a permit holder of prescribed types of veterinary medicine services with respect to domestic cats and dogs and specified types of domestic animals on which a registered veterinarian performs veterinary medicine services or the fees charged in respect of the prescribed types of veterinary medicine services;

                                    (g)    respecting the publication by a registered veterinarian, a partnership of registered veterinarians or a permit holder of the fees charged for prescribed types of veterinary medicine services with respect to domestic cats and dogs and specified types of domestic animals;

                                   (h)    defining a term that is used but not defined in this Part.

(2)  If there is a conflict or inconsistency between a regulation made under subsection (1) and a regulation or bylaw made by the Council under section 13 or 14, respectively, the regulation made under subsection (1) prevails to the extent of the conflict or inconsistency.

(3)  This section comes into force on Proclamation.