Mandate

The vision of the Ministry of Consumer Services (MCS) is to lead the way to a fair, safe and informed marketplace through knowledge, fostering partnerships and protection.

Our mandate is broad: we are responsible for consumer protection, business law, and public safety. Within our broad mandate, we:

  • inform individuals and businesses about their rights and responsibilities under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and prosecute offences under that Act
  • promote compliance under Ontario’s consumer protection statutes to protect Ontarians from unfair, deceptive and unscrupulous business practices
  • develop appropriate laws, regulations and policies which serve the interests of consumers, the public and business
  • lead continual policy reforms to maintain modern, efficient marketplace rules
  • resolve consumer issues by educating people about their rights, investigating complaints, facilitating settlements and enforcing consumer protection laws
  • directly administer legislation, including the regulation of consumer debt (consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, bailiffs, and pay day loans), theatres, professional combative sports (boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts), condominiums and the operation of cemeteries and crematoria
  • maintain responsibility for nineteen companies and commercial law statutes that govern corporations, businesses and commercial transactions
  • oversee one agency, responsible for film classification in Ontario, and nine administrative authorities that deliver regulatory programs that cover
    • motor vehicle sales
    • travel services
    • real estate services
    • funeral and transfer services
    • new home warranties
    • standards for Ontario’s Vintners Quality Alliance wines
    • electrical safety
    • technical safety (elevators, escalators, ski lifts, amusement rides, boilers and pressure vessels, natural gas, petroleum, propane, upholstered and stuffed goods)
    • underground infrastructure notification system

Through Consumer Protection Ontario, the ministry and its administrative authorities promote consumer rights and public safety, and educate both consumers and business about the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and other consumer protection statutes.

As a result of this commitment by the Ontario Government, Ontarians benefit from some of the strongest consumer protections and public safety standards in all of North America.

Ministry contribution to key priorities and results

The ministry contributes to building a strong economy by strengthening consumer protection and public safety and modernizing business law. This is accomplished through activities which promote a fair, safe and informed marketplace where consumer rights and public safety are protected by:

  • marketing Consumer Protection Ontario to educate consumers about their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace
  • investigating consumer complaints, enforcing legislation and regulations, providing mediation services and promoting compliance through outreach and education of businesses
  • administering consumer protection and public safety statutes through our administrative authorities and Consumer Protection Branch
  • providing oversight to ensure effective governance, accountability and relationship management with respect to the ministry’s agency and administrative authorities
  • supporting the modernization of Ontario’s corporate and commercial business law statutes
  • leading regulatory, legislative and other policy development projects
  • strengthening inter-ministerial, inter-governmental and other regulatory partnerships
  • supporting the government’s fiscal goals by creating new delegated administrative authorities and supporting other ministries’ exploration of alternative service delivery models and
  • leading economic regulatory deputy ministers’ efforts to strengthen compliance and reduce costs to government through crosscutting collaboration

Priorities

  • Serving the Public Interest
  • Strong Economy

Key results

  • Strengthening consumer protection and public safety
  • Modernizing the business and consumer protection regulatory environment

Measures

  • At least 85% customer satisfaction with service from the Consumer Services Bureau
  • Overall 85% satisfaction rate of regulatory authorities with the clarity, timeliness and relevance of relationship management and policy development support in relation to the administration of the statutes for which the ministry is responsible

Major activities

Public safety

  • Administer public safety statutes through the Electrical Safety Authority, Technical Standards and Safety Authority and Consumer Protection Branch
  • Provide oversight, accountability, governance, and policy development to promote the effectiveness of the regulatory regime
  • Work to reduce regulatory burden and create a more positive economic climate

Consumer protection

  • Administer consumer protection statutes through the ministry’s regulatory authorities and operations branch
  • Provide oversight, accountability, governance, and policy development to promote the effectiveness of the regulatory regime
  • Promote consumer awareness through both general and targeted outreach and education.
  • Investigate consumer complaints, enforce legislation/regulations and mediate consumer disputes
  • Support policy agenda for consumer protection and business law modernization

Transformational initiatives

  • Review the use of the administrative authority model to create new administrative authorities in the bereavement and film sectors
  • Develop a new business system platform and leverage operational and other data to inform policy, program and communications activities
  • Develop partnerships with regulators in Ontario and across Canada to enhance compliance and enforcement effectiveness
  • Create new authorities for ministry inspectors to enhance enforcement of consumer protection legislation and to allow for better coordination with other regulators

Ministry programs and activities

In its direct delivery of consumer protection programs, the ministry’s key activities are:

  • delivering Consumer Protection Ontario to increase consumer awareness of current and emerging abuses in the marketplace, while monitoring and educating the marketplace
  • providing consumer protection advice, complaint handling, mediation, and investigations
  • registering and regulating businesses, including cemeteries, crematoria, collection agencies, payday lenders, consumer reporting agencies, bailiffs and theatres, under a number of business statutes
  • inspecting regulated businesses and promoting compliance through outreach and education
  • licensing professional boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts in Ontario
  • providing the Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB) with operational support, including the intake of films submitted for classification, screenings, processing of fees and content management for the OFRB website.

In addition to direct delivery of consumer protection services, the ministry oversees nine independent administrative authorities which are tasked with delivering consumer protection and public safety programs. The ministry protects the public interest by providing oversight, accountability and governance, and policy development.

The ministry is also responsible for 45 consumer protection, public safety and business statutes. Its policy activities focus on:

  • supporting a diverse policy agenda in three key areas: consumer protection, public safety and business law modernization
  • developing legislation and regulations that strengthen consumer protection and public safety while modernizing the legal framework for businesses operating in Ontario
  • reducing unnecessary regulatory burden to create a more business-positive economic climate
  • undertaking policy research on a broad range of marketplace issues, including the identification of emerging trends and factors affecting consumers and business

The ministry is also undertaking a number of transformational activities to enhance and streamline operational program delivery. These activities aim to encourage consumer self-reliance and consumer compliance by leveraging information technology, new enforcement tools, and a risk-based approach to resource allocation. These activities include:

  • consulting on the creation of two new administrative authorities for the film and bereavement sectors to allow for a single point of contact for consumers and businesses in the bereavement and film sectors, respectively
    • by moving the licensing and enforcement activities of the ministry to an alternative service delivery model, ministry resources will be redeployed to higher risk consumer protection priorities
  • developing a new data management system to more efficiently collect and use consumer complaint and inquiry data to inform compliance and policy, program and education and outreach activities
  • developing and strengthening its regulatory partnerships with both provincial and federal regulators

Ministry planned expenditures 2014-15

Ministry planned expenditures 2014-15
Type of expenseCost of expense
Operating$25.160 million
Capital$0.002 million
Total$25.162 million


Consumer Services: $17.8 million ministry allocation of 2014-15 base spending

  • Ministry Administration: $7.3 million

Note: Corporate Services are delivered and funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.

Highlights of 2013-14 achievements

In 2013-14, the ministry achieved its goals for modern and effective consumer protection, public safety and business laws by:

  • providing advice and assistance to over 40,000 consumers
  • laying 761 charges under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and other Acts enforced by the ministry resulting in $306,750 in fines against violators and $1,017,818 in court-ordered restitution for victims (the highest in ministry history). An additional $53,660 in restitution was also achieved through mediation
  • taking legal action against two of the province’s largest licensed payday loans providers, Cash Store and Instaloans, by successfully obtaining an Order from Ontario’s Superior Court that prohibited the companies from providing their basic line of credit without a payday licence, and requiring them to pay $50,000 in costs to the Ministry. The Registrar also refused to issue licences to Cash Store and Instaloans because of their persistent non-compliance and as a result they are no longer operating in Ontario
  • strengthening consumer protection through the introduction of the Wireless Services Agreements Act, 2012, which passed third reading with all party support on October 30, 2013 and came into force on April 1, 2014
  • completing an innovative public engagement process in Spring 2014 to develop recommendations to modernize the Condominium Act, 1998. The 18-month, three-stage process directly engaged the public in identifying a comprehensive set of issues and long-term solutions for owners, residents and other stakeholders in the condominium community
  • providing extensive training across the province, as well as comprehensive materials to assist the bereavement sector to comply with the new legislated requirements under the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002
  • establishing a not-for-profit corporation, the Ontario Film Authority, to form a new administrative authority that will administer the Film Classification Act, 2005 once delegation is achieved (targeted for January 1, 2015).
  • working with stakeholders in the bereavement sector on the structure and design on a new administrative authority to administer the Funeral Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (targeted for January 1, 2016)
  • preparing to implement the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 (ONCA), which is not expected to come into force before 2016, by developing tools to help the not-for-profit sector understand ONCA. This included introducing former Bill 85, Companies Statute Law Amendment Act, 2014 to implement necessary consequential amendments to over 80 statutes. Bill 85 died on Order Paper when the house dissolved for the 2014 general election
  • further strengthening consumer protection in the areas of door-to-door sales, debt settlement services and real estate transactions, through the development of Bill 55, the Stronger Protection for Consumer Act, 2013, which was introduced on April 18, 2013. Bill 55 passed third reading with all party support on November 27, 2013. Consultations on necessary regulations were held with the water heater, real estate and debt settlement sectors in 2013-14
  • partnering with Ontario One Call (ON1Call) and consulting with underground infrastructure owners to bring in regulations that support the effective implementation and administration of the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012
  • working with Electrical Safety Authority to eliminate the duplication of federal and provincial electrical product safety regulations while maintaining safety following the passage of the federal act.
  • continuing to expand the frequency, reach and impact of its communications activities primarily through increasing awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities, and advancing ministry policy and legislative initiatives. A significant accomplishment was the ministry’s launching of the Consumer Protection Ontario program as the expert go-to source of consumer information in the province.

Organizational structure

  • Ministry of Consumer Services
    • Minister
      • Deputy Minister
        • Assistant Deputy Minister: Policy, Planning and Oversight Division
          • Director: Consumer Policy and Liaison Branch
          • Director: Public Safety Branch
        • Assistant Deputy Minister: Transformation and Strategic Operations Division
          • Director: Business intelligence and Regulatory Partnerships Branch
          • Director: Consumer Protection Branch
            • Associate Director: Operational Policy, Licensing and Commissioner Athletics
        • CAO & Assistant Deputy Minister: Corporate Services Division MGCS, MEDEI and MRI
          • Director: Strategic Human Resources Business Unit
          • Director: Business Planning and Finance
          • Director: Service Management and Facilities
        • Director: Communications Branch
        • Director: Legal Services Branch
        • Chief Information Officer: Economic & Transportation I&IT Cluster

Legislation

The Ministry of Consumer Services administers the following legislation:

  • Apportionment Act
  • Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000
  • Assignments and Preferences Act
  • Athletics Control Act
  • Bailiffs Act
  • Board of Funeral Services Act
  • Business Corporations Act
  • Business Names Act
  • Business Regulation Reform Act, 1994
  • Collection Agencies Act
  • Condominium Act, 1998
  • Consumer Protection Act, 2002
  • Consumer Reporting Act
  • Corporations Act
  • Corporations Information Act
  • Delegated Administrative authorities Act, 2012 (unproclaimed)
  • Discriminatory Business Practices Act
  • Electricity Act, 1998, Part VIII (Administered by Electrical Safety Authority)
  • Electronic Registration Act (Ministry of Consumer and Business Services Statutes), 1991
  • Extra-Provincial Corporations Act
  • Factors Act
  • Film Classification Act, 2005
  • Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002
  • Horse Riding Safety Act, 2001
  • Limited Partnerships Act
  • Ministry of Consumer and Business Services Act
  • Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 2002
  • (Administered by Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council)
  • Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 (unproclaimed)
  • Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (Administered by Tarion)
  • Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 (Administered by Ontario One Call)
  • Paperback and Periodical Distributors Act
  • Partnerships Act
  • Payday Loans Act, 2008
  • Personal Property Security Act
  • Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (Administered by Real Estate Council of Ontario)
  • Repair and Storage Liens Act
  • Residential Complex Sales Representation Act
  • Retail Business Holidays Act
  • Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act, 1996
  • Securities Transfer Act, 2006
  • Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 (Administered by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority)
  • Travel Industry Act, 2002 (Administered by Travel Industry Council of Ontario)
  • Vintners Quality Alliance Act, 1999 (Administered by VQA Ontario)
  • Wine Content and Labelling Act, 2000
  • Wireless Services Agreements Act, 2013

Agencies, boards and commissions

In addition to directly delivering consumer protection services, the ministry oversees one agency and nine administrative authorities. “Administrative authority” is a general term used to describe a number of service delivery bodies for which the ministry is responsible.

The Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB) receives its mandate through the Film Classification Act, 2005. Subject to specific exceptions, if a film (e.g., movie, DVD, video etc.) is to be distributed or exhibited in Ontario, it must first be classified or approved by the OFRB, thereby providing the public with sufficient information to make informed viewing choices for themselves and their children.

Ontario Film Review Board, expenditures and revenue for 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15

Ontario Film Review Board

2014-15 Estimates

2013-14 Actuals

2012-13 Actuals

Expenditures

$1.100 million

$1.072 million

$1.051 million

Revenue

$2.200 million

$2.174 million

$2.263 million

Administrative authorities

The ministry’s administrative authorities are based on several pieces of legislation. The Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act, 1996, provides a framework for the delegation of the administration of electrical safety, motor vehicle dealers and sales persons, travel sales, as well as real estate salespersons, brokers and brokerages. The oversight frameworks applicable to funeral services regulation, technical standards, new home warranties, and appellations of Ontario-made wine are established within specific statutes for each respective area.

Each statute establishes an accountability and governance framework between the ministry and a not-for-profit corporation that administers legislation on behalf of the government in specific consumer protection or public safety areas.

The ministry monitors administrative authority service delivery and the government enacts the legislation and regulations that are administered within a defined business sector. The administrative authorities deliver services such as licensing, inspections, complaint handling and enforcement.

Board of Funeral Services (BoFS)

The Board of Funeral Services (BoFS) administers the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002, and the Board of Funeral Services Act. The BoFS licenses funeral directors, funeral establishments and transfer service operators, inspects funeral establishments and transfer services, investigates complaints regarding licensees and administers a pre-paid funeral services compensation fund that protects consumers who prepay for funeral services and suffer a financial loss if the service provider is unable or unwilling to cover the cost.

Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) enforces Ontario’s Electrical Safety Code, regulates electrical distribution safety and licenses electrical contractors and master electricians. The ESA is also responsible for ensuring that electrical products used in Ontario are subject to reporting in relation to product defects and recalls.

Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) administers the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 2002, and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund which is a fund of last resort for consumers who have lost money involving a registered dealer who is unwilling or unable to pay a consumer. OMVIC registers motor vehicle dealers and salespeople and conducts inspections and investigations to ensure compliance with the Act.

Ontario One Call (ON1Call)

The Ontario One Call (ON1Call) administers the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, which requires owners of underground infrastructure to be members of ON1Call and to provide the location of the infrastructure to excavators when requested. ON1Call enforces compliance with its members, which include gas, electrical and telecommunications utilities, and municipalities.

Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO)

RECO administers the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 which regulates the conduct of real estate salespersons, brokers and brokerages. RECO registers real estate salespersons, brokers and brokerages, enforces standards to obtain/maintain registration, educates brokers, conducts inspections of brokerage offices to ensure compliance with the Act and investigates complaints.

Tarion Warranty Corporation

The Tarion Warranty Corporation administers the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act to provide warranty coverage to new home buyers. Tarion registers new home builders and vendors, enrols new homes for warranty coverage, investigates illegal building practices, resolves warranty disputes between builders/vendors and homeowners, maintains a Guarantee Fund that provides for the payment of compensation under the plan, and informs and educates new home builders, and through research programs, promote progressive improvement in the quality of housing in Ontario.

Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA)

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) enforces public safety standards in industry sectors such as amusement devices, boilers and pressure vessels, elevating devices, natural gas, petroleum, propane fuels and equipment, operating engineers and upholstered and stuffed articles.

Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO)

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) administers the Travel Industry Act, 2002. It registers travel retailers and travel wholesalers, monitors their financial performance to identify financial risk, inspects their operations to ensure compliance with the Act, and manages Ontario’s Travel Industry Compensation Fund. The Fund may reimburse customers of registered travel agents for eligible claims arising from the bankruptcy or insolvency of an Ontario registrant or arising from the failure of an end supplier airline or cruise line.

Vintners’ Quality Alliance Ontario (VQA Ontario)

The Vintners’ Quality Alliance Ontario (VQA Ontario) establishes and administers the framework for an Appellation of Origin system governing the production and marketing of quality Ontario wines designated VQA.

Detailed financial information, Ministry of Consumer Services

Combined operating and capital summary by vote

Combined Operating and Capital Summary by Vote for 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-14

Votes/programs

Estimates 2014-15

Change from Estimates 2013-14

Percentage

Estimates 2013-14*

Interim actuals 2013-14*

Actuals 2012-13*

Operating expense, Consumer Services Program

$25,094,600

$1,199,100

5.0%

$23,895,500

$22,450,699

$20,323,182

Less: special Warrants

$5,900,200

$5,900,200

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total operating expense to be voted

$19,194,400

($4,701,100)

(19.7%)

$23,895,500

$22,450,699

$20,323,182

Special warrants

$5,900,200

$5,900,200

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Statutory appropriations

$66,014

n/a

n/a

$66,014

$49,301

$63,686

Ministry total operating expense

$25,160,614

$1,199,100

5.0%

$23,961,514

$22,500,000

$20,386,868

Consolidation & other adjustments

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total including consolidation & other adjustments

$25,160,614

$1,199,100

5.0%

$23,961,514

$22,500,000

$20,386,868

Operating assets, Consumer Services Program

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Less: special warrants

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total operating assets to be voted

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Special warrants

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Statutory appropriations

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Ministry total operating assets

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Capital expense, Consumer Services Program

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Less: special warrants

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total capital expense to be voted

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Special warrants

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Statutory appropriations

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Ministry total capital expense

$2,000

n/a

n/a

$2,000

n/a

n/a

Consolidation and other adjustments

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total including consolidation & other adjustments

$2,000

n/a

n/a

$2,000

n/a

n/a

Capital assets, consumer services program

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Less: special warrants

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Total capital assets to be voted

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Special warrants

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Statutory appropriations

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Ministry total capital assets

$1,000

n/a

n/a

$1,000

n/a

n/a

Ministry total operating and capital Including consolidation and other adjustments (not including Assets)

$25,162,614

$1,199,100

5%

$23,963,514

$22,500,000

$20,386,868

*Estimates for previous fiscal year are re-stated to reflect any changes in ministry organization and/or program structure. Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2014 Ontario Budget

For additional financial information, see:

Ministry of Finance Expenditure Estimates

Public Accounts of Ontario 2013-2014

2014 Ontario Budget

or

For information, please contact:

Business Planning and Finance Branch
Ministry of Consumer Services
Tel: 416-325-6421
Fax: 416-327-4239


Annual Report

2013-14 achievements

Communications Branch

  • Used advertising (including television, online display, online search and social media), social media content, visual info graphics, videos, educational brochures and website content to educate consumers about their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace and to drive awareness of Consumer Protection Ontario as the expert go-to source for consumer protection information in Ontario. This resulted in:
    • over 591,000 unique website visitors viewing over 2.6 million pages of information;
    • over 244,000 views of consumer awareness videos;
    • over 16,000 Twitter followers; and
    • over 23,000 Facebook fans
  • Grew the Public Education and Marketing Advisor pilot program, introduced in 2012-13, into a comprehensive outreach program that visited most parts of the province and helped to increase consumer awareness and build profile for both the ministry and Consumer Protection Ontario, which resulted in:
    • over 70 consumer education workshops
    • over 40 community fairs and displays
    • over 15 consumer trade shows
  • Expanded the Seniors Outreach Strategy launched in 2012-13 by working in collaboration with groups sharing similar goals. This program, aimed at delivering consumer information to one of the ministry’s most vulnerable audiences, has focused on establishing partnerships with seniors organizations across the province. In the past year, the ministry has connected with a wide variety of agencies serving seniors, including the United Way, the Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario, the Ontario Homecare Association and CARP.
  • Developed and delivered proactive integrated communications and marketing plans to support and advance several ministry legislative initiatives, including:
    • The Wireless Services Agreements Act, 2013;
    • The Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, and;
    • The ongoing work to reform the Condominium Act, 1998.

Policy, Planning and Oversight Division

Through its Consumer Policy & Liaison Branch, the ministry:

  • completed an innovative public engagement in support of the government’s commitment to undertake a review to modernize the Condominium Act, 1998.
    • Stage three of the three-stage review process concluded in Spring 2014 with the validation of an expert solutions report. The report presented over 200 recommendations identified by experts, including condominium owners, residents and other stakeholders. It highlighted consensus solution in five broad areas of focus: condominium governance; dispute resolution; finances; consumer protection; and condominium management.
  • prepared Bill 55 – Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumer Act, 2013, introduced April 18, 2013 to provide consumers with stronger protections in four main areas: door-to-door water heater rentals and sales; companies that offer debt settlement services; real estate fees and commissions; and transparency in real estate transactions. The Bill was supported through Standing Committee and passed with all party support on November 27, 2013. Extensive consultations were undertaken with the water heater, real estate and debt settlement sectors, including posting regulatory proposals for consultation on the Regulatory Registry in March 2014 (door-to-door and debt settlement) and April 2014 (real estate).
  • prepared Bill 60 - Wireless Services Agreements Act, 2013, for introduction on April 29, 2013 to bring greater fairness and transparency to wireless service agreements entered into by Ontario families and individuals. The Bill was supported through Standing Committee and passed with all party support on October 30, 2013. Regulations were prepared for consultation through the Regulatory Registry (December 2013 - January 2014) and the legislation was implemented on April 1, 2014.
  • commenced a review of the Payday Loans Act, 2008 to enhance protection of payday loan borrowers. This included market scans, research, and the establishment and engagement of a panel of expert stakeholders. The experts have submitted a report to government containing their findings and recommendations on issues ranging from the cost of borrowing, new form of borrowing, rollover and concurrent loans and borrower awareness.
  • began exploring potential responses to e-consumer protection risks. The ministry has conducted research, policy analysis and initial collaboration with potential partners in the federal, provincial, business and advocacy sectors, including supporting the development of an E-Commerce Consumer Protection Conference hosted by the Consumers Council of Canada in Spring 2015.
  • undertook consultations to enhance consumer protection specific to towing and vehicle storage with the assistance of two advisory groups. The consultations are part of the government’s overall initiative to help reduce auto insurance rates.
  • continued to work with the Ministry of Finance and other provinces on possible amendments to personal property security legislation to facilitate certain cash collateral transactions, in particular over-the-counter derivative transactions (e.g., trade of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, commodities or directives directly between two parties).
  • initiated a public consultation process to establish mandatory qualifications for home inspectors, following an October 2012 Minister’s announcement. 
    • the consultation process included the development of an expert panel’s report, jurisdictional research, a questionnaire completed by key home inspector stakeholders, and an association map depicting affiliations between Home Inspector Associations
  • assisted the not-for-profit sector to understand the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 (ONCA) which is not expected to come into force before 2016, by releasing a transition checklist and preparing a plain language guide.
  • responded to requests from the board of the Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario to make amendments to the regulations under the Vintners Quality Alliance Act  that support quality improvements, label transparency and relevance to consumers. Received approval to make amendments with regards to the use of synonyms for grape varieties on the label and to revise the residual sugar level in icewine at bottling.
  • initiated a consultation process to explore the potential for social enterprise legislation, following a September 2013 announcement of the government’s Strategy for Social Enterprise. An expert panel composed of a wide variety of stakeholders including social entrepreneurs, impact investors, representatives of the not-for-profit sector and legal practitioners considered a possible framework for dual purpose corporate legislation.

Through its Public Safety Branch, the ministry:

  • partnered with Ontario One Call (ON1Call) to support the effective implementation and administration of the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012. This included two consultation papers and over 30 meetings with a broad range of private, public and municipal infrastructure owners to develop, refine and receive government approval of foundational regulations.
  • partnered with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority to form a consultation round table comprised of members from a range of business types in the propane industry, members of fire services associations and consumer representatives. Meetings held over four months led to the development of four regulatory proposals to enhance safety and reduce administrative burden on business, and a consultation paper for broad business and public comment.
  • partnered with the Electrical Safety Authority to remove duplicative regulations for electrical products following the passage of federal legislation. Following a consultation paper, the ministry and the authority coordinated with Health Canada the seamless transition of safety oversight roles and activities through effective cooperative communication across the regulators and with industry.

Transformation and Strategic Operations Division

Through its Business Intelligence and Regulatory Partnerships Branch, the ministry:

  • successfully led consultations and achieved policy approval to proceed with the creation of two administrative authorities in the bereavement and film sectors;
  • enhanced the ministry’s used of operational data to inform business process improvements, scoped out business technology and information requirements and set the stage for major investment in a replacement ministry business system;
  • created several online tools to support business compliance;
  • led several Economic Regulatory Deputy Ministers’ Committee projects aimed at reducing compliance costs by working collaboratively across eight ministries on projects related to inspector/investigator training; accelerated use of the Single Business Number as a common identifier; risk management and communications as a compliance tool; and
  • developed partnerships with other consumer service ministries across Canada and Industry Canada on data classification and sharing; and initiated the development of MOUs with regualators such as the federal Competition Bureau.

Through its Consumer Protection Branch, the ministry achieved the following:

  • provided advice and assistance to 41,379 consumers.
  • conducted over 402 inspections and educational field visits and over 56 consumer education workshops.
  • laid 761 charges under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and other Acts enforced by the ministry resulting in: 
    • 31 months of jail imposed on violators and 690 months of probation for violators;
    • $306,750 in fines against violators; and
    • $1,017,818 court-ordered restitution for victims (the highest in ministry history) plus an additional $53,660 restitution through mediation.
  • The Registrar, Payday Loans took legal action against two of the province’s largest licensed payday loans providers, Cash Store and Instaloans, successfully obtaining an Order from Ontario’s Superior Court that prohibited the companies from providing their basic line of credit without a payday licence and requiring them to pay $50,000 in costs to the Ministry of Consumer Services. The Registrar also refused to issue licences to Cash Store and Instaloans because of their persistent non-compliance, as a result of which they are no longer operating in Ontario.
  • The Cemeteries Regulation Unit continued province-wide education and outreach sessions to inform stakeholders in the bereavement sector about requirements of the Funeral Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 which came into law on July 1, 2012. Some sessions were specifically focused on the handling of burial site discoveries and the related engagement with various Aboriginal communities involved in the process. 
    • with the Ontario Association of Cemetery and Funeral Professionals, training was provided to crematorium operators and their staff.
    • the unit responded to 17 burial site discoveries.
  • The Ontario Film Review Board reviewed and classified or approved a total of 4,532 films. It also reviewed and classified 1,951 films on the basis of documentation (a written synopsis of the films). Films classified in this manner include those for film festivals, cartoons, children’s programs and documentaries.
  • continued to successfully implement professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in Ontario. Four (4) professional MMA events and five (5) professional boxing events, including one large MMA event with an audience of approximately 11,500 were conducted in accordance with the rules, with no serious injuries sustained by any of the fighters.

Ministry interim actual expenditures 2013-14*

Ministry interim actual expenditures 2013-14
Type of expense Cost of expense
Operating*$22.5 million
Captial*n/a
Staff Strength** (As of March 31, 2014)137 million

*Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2014 Ontario Budget
**Ontario Public Service Full-Time Equivalent positions.