Industry News

  • 13 Sep 2017 2:22 AM | Anonymous

    Receivables Management Association of Canada Inc.
    Association Canadienne de la Gestion de Créances Inc.

    Submission to the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
    Consultation on Regulations to Support Putting Consumers First Act, 2016

    September 8, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario

    A.
    Background

    Receivables Management Association of Canada (RMA) is a national association, established in 2012, representing the business and policy interests of Canada’s credit grantors —financial institutions, telecommunications, retail and utility sectors— debt buyers and debt sellers and collection agencies.

    While RMA has a national mandate, the business operations of its members are largely concentrated in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. RMA’s members are governed by provincial and federal statutes.

    RMA advocates for strong public policies that strengthen Canada's economy and benefits Canadian consumers and businesses.

    Members of Ontario’s receivables management sector comprise a sizable segment of Canada’s business community and represent an important economic driver in Ontario; is a large purchaser of goods and services; support thousands of employees; and, fund philanthropic investment in communities in Ontario and across the country.

    RMA has used the past 12 months to strengthen bilateral relations with key federal and provincial decision-­‐makers, aspiring to become actively engaged with federal and provincial parliaments in the discussion of policy, legislative and regulatory matters that govern the receivable management sector.

    B.
    Ministry of Government and Consumer Services | Consultations on Regulations to Enact Putting Consumer First Act, 2016

    RMA applauds the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ efforts to modernizing consumer protection in Ontario by its recent passage of Putting Consumer First Act, 2016.

    RMA and its members are accustomed to operating in highly regulated environments and understand the need for robust, but balanced consumer protection statutes and regulations.

    The aim to protect consumers and to support a transparent and better-­‐informed marketplace, where consumers and businesses can count on being treated fairly, supports not only the development of sound public policy, but reflects the ethos of RMA and its members.

    RMA acknowledges a collaborative relationship with Ontario’s current registrar and his responsive to our industry’s inquiries.

    In all discussion with senior officials of the Ministry Government and Consumer Services, ministers, MPP and senior policy advisors, RMA has been clear that its members support fairness and transparency, but also promote consumer protection and responsible business practices.

    C.
    Consultations

    As part of the Government of Ontario’s consultations on the development of regulations to support the enforcement of measures passed in the Consumer Protection Act, 2017, the paper Consultation on Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act Regulation Reform sought the views of industry stakeholders, consumers and others.

    In the sections below, RMA offers its views regarding the ministry’s proposed regulatory provisions to adopt under the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act (the Act).

    Proposals
    1.
    Paralegals and Lawyers

    The proposed General Regulation amendments provide for more equal treatment of licensees under the Law Society Act (LSA) by including an exemption from the Act for paralegals when they are providing services for which they are licensed under the LSA.

    Proposed regulation text:

    See section 18.1 of the Draft Revised General Regulation in Appendix One.

    Question #1: Do you agree with the proposed approach to the exemption of lawyers and paralegals?
    ☐ Yes
    ☐ No
    ☑ Other - Please Explain Below

    Limiting the exemption for lawyers and law firms performing collection and debt settlement services under the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act will benefit Ontario consumers and provide a consistent treatment of services within the sector. Licensing under the Act is not onerous, and will provide protections under the prohibited practices of the Act.

    Given the proposed wording of sections 18.1 (1a), (1b), 2(a), and (2b) of the draft regulation, RMA recommends further clarity between the division of legal and collection processes performed by a lawyer. If a lawyer or paralegal have written direction to undertake legal action on a suit-­‐worthy account within the legal statute of limitations, they should have an opportunity to call prior to judgment to potentially avoid a costly litigation against a consumer.

    If, however, a lawyer is involved in an account or a bulk assignment of collection accounts where no written direction for legal action exists, or an account is beyond the statute of limitations or is not suit-­‐ worthy, then this activity is a collection matter and should require registration and adherence to the Act’s regulations.

    2.
    Clarifying the Act’s Application

    In order to be clearer about situations the Act is not intended to cover, the regulations propose to add a number of exceptions to the General Regulation.

    Proposed regulation text:

    Sections 19.3 to 19.9 of the Draft Revised General Regulation in Appendix One.

    Question #2: Do you agree with the proposed additional exemptions?

    ☑ Yes
    ☐ No
    ☐ Other - Please Explain Below

    RMA favours the exemptions proposed in draft regulation.

    3.
    Revised First Notice Rules

    The General Regulation currently requires that agencies send a written notice with information about an alleged debt before calling or otherwise directly contacting a debtor.

    The draft regulation proposes no collection agency or collector shall demand payment from the debtor until first sending a private written notice to verify, inter alia, debtor’s address and, perhaps, to seek permission to communicate electronically; that no other contact beyond the first private written notice be permitted until the sixth day after sending the notice; the notice include more detailed information about the creditor, collection agency and debt; and, require the notice include a mandatory information statement set out by Minister’s Regulation.

    Proposed regulation text:

    Sections 21 to 21.2 and clause 22(3)(c) of the Draft Revised General Regulation in Appendix One and the draft mandatory information statement in Appendix Three.

    Question #3: Do you agree with the proposed approach to first notice?

    ☐ Yes
    ☐ No
    ☑ Other - Please Explain Below
    1. RMA supports properly notifying debtors before beginning to communicate regarding debt collection. Best practice should apply to collection agency and collector alike. The aim to protect consumers and to support a transparent and better-­‐informed marketplace —where consumers can count on being treated fairly— reflects the practice of RMA and its members.

      Requiring collection agencies and collectors to first provide private written notice, then to wait six days before demanding payment from a debtor, is a reasonable requirement in principle, but is not without challenge in practice.

      Given the preference and predominance of 21st century communication methods, largely via email and text message, few debtors receive or, more importantly, respond to ordinary mail. Also, many debtors are not always forthcoming with an accurate mailing address, even when contacted, and a valid last known address is not always provided, under the Act, to a credit agency or collector. RMA recommends sections 21.1 (5) and 21.1(1) of the draft regulations allow for credit reporting or collection attempts if an address is withheld or refused.
    2. Allowing an exemption for ordinary mail notification when all parties agree to electronic communication is a positive change to regulation and properly avoids privacy issues associated with joint or shared email accounts.
    3. Section 21. (1) of the regulation sets out the information that a creditor must communicate to the debtor in the first private written notice. Among the information the debtor is required to communicate: ‘the amount of the debt on the date it was first due and payable, and if different, the amount currently owing, including a breakdown of that current amount.’

      Agreement on how to define ‘the date a debt is first due and payable’ is not unanimous. In the Province of British Columbia, a lack of clarity on the ‘the date a debt is first due and payable’ created much consternation for Canada’s receivables management industry. To avoid repeating errors made in other jurisdictions, RMA recommends that Ontario’s regulations define the date a ‘debt is first due and payable’ as the date when a financial institution first demands a creditor’s balance be paid in full. Clarifying the definition of when a ‘debt is first due and payable’ will support compliance.
    4. RMA challenges the value and has strong concerns regarding the operational cost of requiring all collection agencies and collectors to describe in the first private written notice to a debtor, ‘a description of any other debts currently owed by the debtor to the creditor that have been assigned to the collection agency, including the amount of each debt and the type of financial product, if known’ —section 21. (1) subsection (6).

      If all individual debtors are to receive a first private written notice for each outstanding debt then notification will be generated for each debt owed by the debtor to the collection agency.

      Complying with section 21. (1) subsection (6) will be difficult from a technological standpoint. While compliance by mono-­‐line credit card providers would be manageable, financial institutions that transact with a given collection agency for multiple classes of debt may not be handled by same area of the financial institution to know that additional debts are owing. Similarly, a collection agency might transact with a given financial institution, but in different departments (i.e., auto loans, credit card, home equity lines of credit).

      Also, in matters concerning the notification of co-­‐debtors, when cases when both co-­‐debtors are not party to all of the debt obligations held by one agency, privacy breaches would result.
    5. Section 21, subsection (5) —that no collection agency shall report a debt to a consumer reporting agency until the time period referenced in section 21 subsection (2) or (4)— creates potential for confusion and problematic timing when communication with a debtor.

      Specifically, when a debtor does not respond to the first private written notice within the period defined in subsection (2), a credit agency or collector can report the debtor to a consumer reporting agency. If at a date beyond the period defined in subsection 21 (1), a credit agency or collector makes contact with the debtor to learn they did not receive the private written notice required in subsection 21 (1), the letter described in subsection (4) must be sent.

      Is the intention of the regulation to require a credit agency or collector to cease reporting for 6 days while the letter required in subsection (4) expires? If so, it is impractical for credit agencies or collectors to suspend reporting for 6 days only then to return.

      RMA recommends that the regulations allow a credit agency or collector to continue to report a debtor to a collection reporting agency—even when the notice described in subsection 21 (4) is required— provided that the private written notice required in subsection 21. (1) was sent by ordinary mail.
    4.
    Prohibited Practices

    The Act and General Regulation set out various practices collection agencies are prohibited from carrying out such as calling people outside certain hours, contacting them too frequently or harassing them.

    The draft regulations propose two changes to the General Regulation: adding a new prohibition against agencies reporting a debt to a consumer reporting agency until after they have sent the required first notice to a consumer; add an exemption to this prohibition that forbids agencies from communicating using means that impose costs on the people they are contacting, but declaring there is no contravention if the cost is reimbursed within 15 days of the consumer presenting evidence such as copy of a bill from their communications provider.

    Proposed regulation text:

    Subsection 21(5) and section 19.9 of the Draft Revised General Regulation in Appendix One.

    Question #4: Do you agree with the added prohibited practices?

    ☐ Yes
    ☐ No
    ☑ Other

    RMA supports the draft regulation’s requirement that a credit agency or collector reimburse a debtor within 15 days of the debtor presenting evidence that a cost has been incurred in the process of being contacted by a credit agency or collector, unless the debtor has given prior consent to be contacted via the cost-­‐incurring method.

    To clarity, presenting documented consent by the debtor should waive any recourse to requesting reimbursement. It is acknowledged, however, that the Act also permits a debtor to withdraw consent to be contacted by any means than ordinary mail.

    5.
    Financial Requirements - Bonding and Trust Accounting

    The draft regulation removes the requirement for collection agencies to post bonds. Requiring all agencies to incur the ongoing cost of maintaining bonds for such a low frequency of claims is unreasonable.

    The proposed regulation would improve protection against actual financial losses by clarifying that monies required to be deposited into a trust account are to be directly deposited without going through other accounts and the obligation on agencies to have the full name of trust accounts used by financial institutions would also be clarified as it may not always be feasible for an institution to use the full name.

    Proposed regulation text:

    Section 17 of the Draft Revised General Regulation in Appendix One.

    Question #5: Do you agree with the proposed revisions concerning bonding and trust accounting?

    ☐ Yes
    ☐ No
    ☑ Other - Please Explain Below

    RMA believes the removal of the bond requirement is a reasonable step given the supporting evidence provided.

    But also, that section 17 (4) of the proposed regulations outlines a number of reasonable precautions governing trust accounts. However, section 17 (4.2) could contravene regulations required in other provinces.

    Under the provincial regulations of Manitoba, Quebec, and Yukon Territory, segregate trust accounts are required for collection funds. Often a collection agency or debt settlement company will have to redirect funds to the appropriate trust account in the above-­‐named provinces, and it is RMA’s understanding that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services’ template for ‘Schedule A’ trust reconciliations allows for transfer to designated trust accounts where funds have been collected within Ontario.

    To comply with other collection regulations in provinces such as Quebec, Manitoba or Yukon Territory, provinces where funds must be transferred to trust accounts if received in an Ontario designated trust, RMA recommends that section 17 (4.2) be clarified to state that no collection agency shall transfer trust funds to any non-­‐designated trust account outside of Ontario. Such a clarification should create harmony between provincial legislations and comply with the MGCS’ distributed Schedule A trust reconciliation form.

    6.
    Amendments Reflecting Regulation of Debt Purchasers and Ending Collector Registration

    When proclaimed into force, the amended Act would require debt purchasers to register if they intend to collect debts themselves.

    Proposed regulation text:

    Sections noted above in the Draft Revised General Regulation in Appendix One.

    Question #6: Do you agree with the proposed approach to implementing regulation of debt purchase and ending collector registration?

    ☐ Yes
    ☑ No
    ☐ Other - Please Explain Below

    Debt purchasers requiring regulation is perfectly reasonable. However, there is a suggestion in the proposed regulation that a creditor cannot collect debts for anyone else – this would prevent agencies from engaging in both debt purchasing and contingency work, but not both. The proposed regulation would affect only a handful of collection agencies, but would have a dramatic impact on those few.

    RMA is not supportive of the proposed change to the regulation of debt purchasers. The proposed changes, once enacted, will not work in practice. RMA recommend that this section be removed from the draft regulation.

    7.
    Call Recording

    The draft regulations propose that collection agencies record all phone calls made or received by an agency or by a collector to help with the better resolution of consumer complaints.

    Proposed regulation text:

    Section 32 of the Draft Revised General Regulation in Appendix One.

    Question #7: Do you agree with the proposed approach to call recording?

    ☑ Yes call recording should be mandatory for all collection calls by agencies.
    ☐ No, call recording should not be required

    RMA favours —for the purpose of improved customer service and/or complaint resolution— the recording of all phone calls made or received by an agency or by a collector who works for an agency, but recommends the following clarification/amendment:

    • The draft regulation proposes that collection agencies shall retain for two years the recordings made under section 32, subsection (1). The consultation document and the proposed administrative penalties section state the recordings be retained for three years. RMA recommends that recordings be kept for only 2 years; and,
    • Subsections (5) and (6) declare that a consumer or Registrar be provided a copy of a requested recording within 10 days and 5 days, respectively. RMA favours consistency and recommends that a copy of a recording be provided to either consumer or Registrar within 10 days from the date of receiving the written request.

    Also, while providing a copy of a recording is a reasonable request for an established collection agency, RMA recommends that any new collection agency be afforded a grace period of 2 years from their date of incorporation to allow the time and expense of technological fit-­up.

    8.
    Administrative Penalties

    The draft regulations propose a schedule of administrative penalties to address contraventions of the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act and regulations.

    Proposed regulation text:

    Draft Administrative Penalties Regulation in Appendix Two.

    Question #8: Do you agree with the proposed approach to administrative penalties?

    ☐ Yes
    ☐ No
    ☑ Other - Please Explain Below
    1. RMA members place high-­‐value on ensuring that receivable management industry employees engaged in collection activities are in full compliance with all federal and provincial statutes and regulations. To ensure compliance, millions of dollars have been invested, and will continue to be invested, in systems development, employee training, quality control and auditing.

      RMA favours providing the Registrar of Collections Agencies the authority to discipline bad actors of the receivables management industry. Outlined Appendix Two: Proposed Administrative Penalties Regulation, the ministry’s proposed graduated schedule of administrative penalties an assessor may impose for contraventions of provisions set out in Column 1 of Table 1, are, on balance, clear, fair and practical.
    2. For clarity, Item 17 of Table 1, Column 1 notes the prohibition against the contravention of subsection 17 (4.2) of Ontario Regulation 74. In the above-­‐noted section, Financial Requirements -­‐ Bonding and Trust Accounting, RMA recommends that section 17 (4.2) of the Ontario Regulation be clarified to state that no collection agency shall transfer trust funds to a non-­‐designated trust account outside of Ontario. RMA repeats its concerns herein.
    3. When the ministry first introduced Bill 59, Putting Consumers First, RMA raised concern regarding the proposed bill’s absolute liability provisions and, relatedly, how the resulting regulations would treat inadvertent contraventions of the Act.

      While RMA supports the strict enforcement of deliberate or repeated contraventions of consumer protection regulations of the Act, how the ministry proposes to regulate, if at all, an inadvertent contravention of the Act requires clarification.

      If a debtor gives permission to a collection agency or collector to be contacted by mobile phone, but then, for example, relocates to a city located in a time zone in western Canada (e.g. PT), plus chooses not to obtain a mobile telephone number from an area code corresponding to the region, a collection agency or collector could, unintentionally, contact the debtor by telephone at a time of day that would be in breach of the regulation. How would regulation treat such a contravention?

      A collection agency or collector should not be penalized for such inadvertent contraventions of the regulations. The ministry needs to provide clarification on such matters.
    9.
    Phase-In Period to Implement Rules

    If the proposed regulation provisions are finalized and approved, they would be published before the amendments to the Act made under Bill 59 are proclaimed into force. The intent would be to give the industry and public time to learn about the new rules and to know what to do to comply before coming into effect.

    The ministry proposes that proclamation of the Act’s amendments and coming into force of related regulations take place approximately 60 days after publication.

    Question #9: Do you agree with the proposed time frame for agencies to come into compliance with the new rules?

    ☐ Yes
    ☑ No
    ☐ Other - Please Explain Below

    The ministry’s proposed phase-­‐in period of 60 days is problematic. While giving offering 60 days to learn of the new rules and to understand how to comply may seem adequate, collection agencies, collectors or financial institutions required to implement operational or system technology changes to become compliant with new regulatory provisions —in particular the revisions to first notice rules— will require more than 60 days.

    A phase-­‐in period of 180 days is more realistic. The experience following the strengthening of consumer protection in the Province of British Columbia is proof that a lengthier phase-­‐in period is less disruptive to both consumers and industry.

    Final Comments

    RMA supports the Government of Ontario enacting consumer protection measures that will foster job creation and economic growth while better protecting consumers.

    RMA is keen to partner with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to develop an effective consumer protection regulatory framework, drafted using accurate consumer data and analysis, and to address legitimate areas of concern in Ontario’s receivables management sector.

    As a contributor to Ontario’s economy and to the well-­‐being of Ontarians, RMA, but in particular its Ontario-­‐based members, strongly believe the feedback contained in this submission can assist the ministry to further achieve these objectives.

  • 13 Sep 2017 1:02 AM | Anonymous

    Receivables Management Association of Canada Inc.
    Association Canadienne de la Gestion de Créances Inc.

    Submission to Service Alberta
    Consultations on the Modernization of Existing Consumer Protection Legislative and Regulatory Framework

    August 29, 2017
    Edmonton, Alberta

    A.
    Background

    Receivables Management Association of Canada (RMA) is a national association, established in 2012, representing the business and policy interests of Canada’s credit grantors -financial, telecommunications, retail and utility sectors- debt buyers and debt sellers, law firms, collection agencies.

    While RMA has a national mandate, the business operations of its members are largely concentrated in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. RMA’s members are governed by both provincial and federal statutes.

    RMA advocates for strong public policy that strengthens Canada's economy and benefits Canadian consumers and businesses.

    RMA’s members -credit grantors, debt buyers and sellers, and collection agencies— comprise a sizable segment of Canada’s business community and represent an important economic driver in Canada.

    The receivables management sector is a large purchaser of goods and services, employs thousands of Canadians, and supports philanthropic investment in communities in Alberta and across the country.

    RMA has used the past 12 months to strengthen bilateral relations with key federal and provincial decision-­‐makers, aspiring to become active in policy, legislative and regulatory discussions that govern the receivable management sector.

    RMA seeks to be proactively engaged when legislative or policy discussions are being considered by federal and provincial parliaments.

    B.
    Service Alberta | Consultations on Modernizing the Existing Consumer Protection Legislative and Regulatory Framework

    RMA applauds Service Alberta for its plans to modernize consumer protection legislation and regulation in Alberta.

    RMA and its members are accustomed to operating in highly regulated environments. RMA understands the need for robust, but balanced consumer protection statutes and regulations.

    The aim to protect consumers and to support a transparent and better-­‐informed marketplace, where consumers can count on being treated fairly, supports not only the development of sound public policy, but reflects the ethos of RMA and its members.

    RMA acknowledges that the Fair Trading Act and the Collection of Debt and Repayment Business Practices Regulation sets out rules for collection agencies in Alberta. But also that, at present, only third-­‐party collection agencies are regulated.

    RMA acknowledges a collaborative relationship with Alberta’s current Statute Administrator Darren Thomas. Administrator Thomas appeared at RMA’s 2016 annual national conference and is responsive to our industry’s inquiries.

    RMA has been clear with Service Alberta that its members support transparency and promote responsible business practices.

    C.
    Consultations

    As part of the Government of Alberta’s consultations with consumer and industry stakeholders, an Alberta-­‐based RMA member completed Service Alberta’s online survey, reviewed the consultation issues and policy proposal fact sheets, and has offered, in the sections below, feedback to the general questions, summarized in Appendix A, posed by Service Alberta to help guide the consultations.

    1/2.
    Which of the marketplace issues being consulted on are of primary and of least importance to your organization?

    Given RMA is a national association representing the business and policy interests of Canada’s credit grantors, debt buyers and sellers and collection agencies, RMA considers fact sheet, ‘Your Money and Agreements’, but, in particular, the subsection on Debt Collection to be of primary importance to our board and members.

    Of least importance, the fact sheet guiding consultations pertaining to Emerging Trends/Talent Agencies. RMA members have no business practice in the sectors named in the fact sheet.

    3.
    For the Issues of Primary Importance to RMA
    a.
    Which of the possible proposed solutions do you like most or least, and why?
    • Service Alberta has proposed expanding key elements of the existing banned practices (e.g., restricting the time of day calls can be made) for collection agencies to both collection agencies and creditors.

      RMA is fully supportive of such an expansion of regulation. Best practice should apply to collection agency and creditor alike. Poor business practice is bad for business and harmful to consumers. The aim to protect consumers and to support a transparent and better-­‐ informed marketplace —where consumers can count on being treated fairly— reflects the ethos of RMA and its members.
    • With respect to requiring creditors to provide written notice to a consumer when their debt is re-­‐assigned or sold, this practice is standard operating procedure when debt is sold to a third-­‐party.
    • The challenge with the proposed regulatory change is that if the requirement is notification via written notice to a debtor’s last known address, the likelihood of a successful notification is slim at best.

      Given the preference and predominance of 21st century communication methods, largely via email and text message, few consumers receive or, more importantly, respond to letter mail.

      Creditors’ current billing practice prefers/encourages consumers to receive by either e-­‐letter or e-­‐mail notification that a statement is available online. The Province of British Columbia has enacted such practice in its consumer protection statutes.

      RMA recommends that Service Alberta’s proposed regulations be broadened to include consumer notification by either e-mail or text message of debt assignment, re-assignment or purchase.
    b.
    Are there any unintended consequences to you or your stakeholders with respect to any of the possible solutions?
    • Consumer protection regulations expanded to include all creditors could result in costly consequences for small businesses. Would all businesses, small or large, be required to obtain licensing for debt collection or would regulations stipulate that creditors below a certain number of employees be excluded?
    • If Service Alberta were to adopt RMA’s recommendation regarding the allowance of electronic communication with debtors, privacy considerations would need to be addressed by proactively seeking permission from consumers at time of purchase.
    c.
    What considerations should be given with respect to future implementation of any of the possible solutions?

    While drafting new statutes and regulation to protect consumers, RMA urges Service Alberta to allow equal consideration to businesses. Fair, balanced and robust consumer protection regulations serves the public interest.

    d.
    What is the impact of any of the possible solutions with respect to creating a fair and balanced marketplace, and ensuring a level playing field for your stakeholders?

    Given that businesses pass along added costs to consumer, either directly or indirectly, a proper balance of consumer protection and business fairness is in the public interest.

    e.
    What other possible solutions could be considered and why?
    • Transparency on debt collection complaints and violations: Currently, Service Alberta investigates potential violations of consumer protection laws, reviews complaints for transactions between businesses and consumers, and takes enforcement action where legislative breaches have occurred. RMA suggest that this approach be completely transparent and the results made available on Service Alberta’s website.

      For years, such an approach has been adopted by the Government of Quebec’s Office of the Protection of the Consumer, http://www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/consommateur/
    • Service Alberta should use the process to modernize the existing consumer protection legislative and regulatory framework to clarify the Government of Alberta’s policy on the use of Automatic Dialing-­‐Announcing Devices (ADAD) in the collections process. There are striking differences between the Province’s regulations and CRTC rules, http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/phone/telemarketing/politi.htm.
    4.
    Are there other marketplace issues the Government of Alberta should be examining?

    Service Alberta should broaden debt collection regulations to include lawyers and law firms. The Government of Ontario is reviewing such a change in regulation.

    Also, in fact sheet Your Rights and Responsibilities, measures were proposed to protect consumers from unfair contracts and allow for ways to seek retribution if they were treated unfairly. One measure, (Looking ahead, 4), proposes to protect consumers who file honest complaints from any retaliation from businesses; another, (Looking ahead, 5), proposes to protect consumers from being sued from businesses when they publish a negative review, unless that review is intentionally defamatory of false

    While RMA is supportive of protecting consumers against retribution from negative reviews, provided the review is ‘fair comment’ under Canadian law, consumers need to be sensitized to the permanence of most reviews and that reviews can have a significant impact on a business.

    Defamation and libel are already illegal in Canada, but if a review can be proven false —for example saying one has been told by the RCMP that a legitimate business is criminal— the business owner should be able to force removal of the online review and pursue the offending party for damages.

    Final Comments

    RMA encourages Service Alberta to implement consumer protection measures that will foster job creation and economic growth while protecting consumers.

    RMA is keen to partner with the Government of Alberta to develop effective consumer protection legislative and regulatory framework, drafted using accurate consumer data and analysis, to address legitimate areas of concern in Alberta’s receivables management sector.

    As a contributor to Alberta’s economy and the well-­‐being of Albertans, RMA, but in particular its Alberta-­‐based members, strongly believe the feedback contained in this submission can assist the government further achieve these objectives.

    Appendix A
    Questions to Guide Service Alberta’s Consultations on Modernizing the Existing Consumer Protection Legislative and Regulatory Framework

    Service Alberta is interested in feedback specifically with respect to:

    1. Which of the marketplace issues being consulted on are of primary importance to your organization?
    2. Which of the marketplace issues being consulted on are of least importance to your organization?
    3. For the issues of primary importance to your organization:
      1. Which of the possible solutions do you like most or least, and why?
      2. Are there any unintended consequences to you or your stakeholders with respect to any of the possible solutions?
      3. What considerations should be given with respect to future implementation of any of the possible solutions?
      4. What is the impact of any of the possible solutions with respect to creating a fair and balanced marketplace, and ensuring a level playing field for your stakeholders?
      5. What other possible solutions could be considered and why?
    4. Are there other marketplace issues the Government of Alberta should be examining?

  • 12 Sep 2017 9:52 PM | Anonymous

    Receivables Management Association of Canada Inc.
    Association Canadienne de la Gestion de Créances Inc.

    September 11, 2017

    Darren Thomas
    Statute Administrator
    Consumer Programs
    Service Alberta
    3rd Floor, Commerce Place
    10155 – 102 Street
    Edmonton, Alberta T2J 4L4

    Dear Darren:

    On behalf of the board of directors of the Receivables Management Association of Canada (RMA) and our association’s Alberta-based members, I am writing to thank you, Trevor Bergen and members of the Service Alberta team for proactively engaging RMA regarding the Government of Alberta’s plans to modernize consumer protection legislation and regulation in Alberta.

    The meeting in Edmonton in late August, with participation by one of RMA’s founding directors MetCredit President and CEO Brian Summerfelt, was a useful opportunity to share the receivables management sector’s feedback on Service Alberta’s consultation topics and possible solutions. A copy of RMA’s written response to the consultation is attached.

    I am confident that Service Alberta will connect again with RMA as soon as Service Alberta shares with Minister McLean its recommendations regarding how to modernize Alberta’s consumer protection legislation and regulation. RMA looks forward to partnering with Service Alberta to help build a consumer protection regime that protects Albertans while fostering job creation, economic growth and an even playing field for Alberta’s receivable management sector.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen Sheather

    RMA President

    Principal, SCORE Statistical Consulting Ltd.

    c: Trevor Bergen, Director, Consumer Programs and Fair Trading, Service Alberta Brian Summerfelt, President and CEO, MetCredit

  • 03 Aug 2017 10:31 PM | Anonymous

    Well, this has come as a surprise … recently, Bill 59 was passed outlining changes to a number of acts, including the Collection & Debt Settlement Services Act of Ontario – most of these changes were fairly straight forward, adding debt buyers under the licensing structure and communication rules with consumers that collection agencies must comply with. However the collection laws in Ontario are broken into the Act itself, and then the associated regulations that deal with the enforcement and minutiae of the Act – the Ontario government is now accepting consulting and input from stakeholders, and has proposed a number of both expected and unexpected changes.

    Full Article

    If any member has any input please reach out to Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer.

  • 01 Aug 2017 8:54 PM | Anonymous

    The Chief of Staff of Minister McLean’s office-Consumer Affairs and I had a quick call on July 26, 2017. This is exactly the kind of call we want, it was to provide a heads up to "interested" parties that Service Alberta was launching a survey tomorrow on Consumer Protection covering 14 different topics, Top 3:

    • Auto
    • Debt Collection
    • High Cost Borrowing

    Prior to launching they wanted to contact industry leaders to give them a heads up that it was coming. She will be sending me a Survey for RMA/ACGC and asked if I would distribute to members located in Alberta or doing business there.

    This survey would be followed up with a roundtable of stakeholders for their respective input. They are looking for concerns not only from the consumer’s standpoint but from Industry’s standpoint as well.

    She did share with me the post “discussion” phase next step-Changes being sought would have to be submitted to Provincial Parliament for approval since the Fair Trading Act would have to be amended.

    I will anxiously await the receipt of the Survey and then discuss next steps. I will copy you once I have received Ms. Ward’s specifics. 

    If any member is interested in this survey please contact the undersigned and I will insure I forward a survey to you upon receipt. 


    Steve Sheather

    President RMA/ACGC

  • 10 Apr 2017 11:42 PM | Anonymous

    As Canadians keep racking up debt, new types of businesses are cropping up across Canada that target those desperate to pay off what they owe or rebuild their credit.

    Read Global News Article

  • 09 Apr 2017 3:49 PM | Anonymous
            

    2017 RMA Conference at The Hyatt Regency Toronto

    Wednesday, November 15th – Thursday, November 16th

    Early Bird Pricing and Conference Hotel Rates

     

    Dear RMA members, past attendees and Receivable Management Professionals;

    The 2017 conference is only a few months away, so make sure to register and book your hotel early to take advantage of our special rates.  The conference to be held in Toronto, November 15th & 16th, at our new venue this year, The Hyatt Regency Toronto. https://toronto.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

    Once again this year, the conference will be focused towards the receivables industry, and will feature discussions on new technical platforms, such as voice analytics, as well as the latest news from Federal and Provincial speakers.

     

    The RMA conference is a great opportunity for the attendees to network in a fun and enthusiastic environment, along with attracting a quality group of speakers with extensive strengths in the industry. This conference will prove to provide a wealth of information from a very diverse and interesting array of guest speakers. Conference attendees will benefit from the insights of industry leaders, with topics directed to professional development.


    EARLY BIRD PRICING

    Early Bird pricing is available until October 4th

       Early Bird  After October 4th
     Members $395 CAD  $495 CAD
     Non-Members $525 CAD  $599 CAD

    *Note that only certain membership levels qualify for the member rate.


    Please visit http://rmacanada.org/event-2512922/Registration to register.


    CONFERENCE ROOM RATE

    Book early and take advantage of the RMA conference rate of $179.00 per night. Please visit https://aws.passkey.com/event/49109795/owner/1460357/home, or call 1-877-806-000 to book your hotel room. The room rate is limited, so book early.

     

    Please visit http://www.rmaconference.ca/ for more details and to register.

     

    Sincerely,

     Stephen Sheather, President - Receivables Management Association of Canada (RMA)


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