McGuinty Government Protecting Young Consumers Against Scams



    2008 Smart Consumer Calendar Now Available To The Public

    QUEEN'S PARK, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - Educating young consumers is the best
defence against fraudulent schemes and sophisticated scams that are
increasingly targeting 18-25 year olds, Government and Consumer Services
Minister Ted McMeekin said today at the launch of the annual Smart Consumer
Calendar.
    "Ontario has become a leader in consumer protection, and we are
determined to keep it that way for generations to come," said McMeekin. 
"That's why our 2008 Smart Consumer Calendar features valuable information
that will help young consumers as they enter the work world, borrow money,
purchase their first car or buy a home."
    McMeekin launched this year's calendar at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers
School of Management. The ministry's co-sponsors and partners joined the
Minister, including Toronto Police Service Staff Inspector Stephen Harris,
unit commander of the Fraud Squad and chair of the Toronto Strategic
Partnership on cross-border fraud, Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy,
and several business students who are today's young consumers and tomorrow's
marketplace leaders.
    "Education is always the public's best defence against fraud, especially
now for young people shopping in the internet age." said Staff Inspector
Harris.  "We are pleased to join with all Ontario police services to support
the 2008 Smart Consumer Calendar, because we know how effective this product
is at raising awareness when it arrives in dorm rooms, homes and organizations
across the province."
    "Ryerson University is training tomorrow's business leaders, and ethics
are a vital part of that education," said Ken Jones, Dean of Ryerson's Ted
Rogers School of Management. "Tools like this calendar help keep consumers
well informed, and that's good news for the future leaders we're developing
here."
    The government has taken a number of steps to improve consumer protection
across the province - all under the framework of Ontario's consumer protection
and safety legislation - including:

    
    -  Banning expiry dates on retail gift cards;
    -  Requiring payday lenders to communicate clearly with the public
       regarding the consequences of their loans; and
    -  Requiring all electrical products to be certified and labeled before
       they are sold in Ontario.

    "I'm especially pleased to be launching the calendar here at Ryerson
University," Minister McMeekin concluded. "Young Ontarians are increasingly
becoming targets of fraud, and they need all the information we can give them
in order to understand their rights, act on their new responsibilities as
consumers, and protect themselves in the process."
    Ordering the Smart Consumer Calendar has never been easier. The public can
call toll free at 1-800-668-9938 to place an order, or order online at
www.serviceontario.ca/publications. Handling and delivery are free of charge.
    For more information on consumer protection in Ontario, visit
www.ontario.ca/consumerprotection or call the ministry's Consumer Services
Bureau at 1-800-889-9768 (or in Toronto at 416-326-8800).

    Disponible en français

                              www.mgs.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                       CONSUMER PROTECTION IN ONTARIO
                     AND THE 2008 SMART CONSUMER CALENDAR

    2008 Smart Consumer Calendar

    The 2008 Smart Consumer Calendar provides consumers with helpful tips and
resources, while educating them about frauds and scams in the marketplace.

    -  The ministry will distribute 275,000 English and 30,000 French copies
       of the calendar to individuals and organizations across Ontario
    -  The calendar will be available at all MPP constituency offices, and at
       all Service Ontario/government information centres
    -  The calendar can be ordered by individuals and groups, free of charge,
       by calling 1-800-668-9938, or by ordering online at
       www.serviceontario.ca/publications.
    -  The calendar can also be downloaded from the ministry's website at
       www.ontario.ca/consumerprotection.
    -  The 2008 Smart Consumer calendar is proudly sponsored by a number of
       private and public sector organizations, who work to protect both
       consumers and businesses across Ontario from frauds and scams,
       including:

          -  Board of Funeral Services
          -  Financial Services Commission of Ontario
          -  Ministry of Health Promotion
          -  Ontario Energy Board
          -  Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council
          -  Real Estate Council of Ontario
          -  Bank of Canada
          -  Investor Education Fund
          -  Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan
          -  Canadian Health Care Anti-Fraud Association
          -  Interac Association
          -  Canada Revenue Agency - Charities Directorate

    Recent Government Initiatives to Enhance Consumer Protection

    -  December 2006: Land Title and Mortgage Fraud provisions to protect
       homeowners from losing their property, a fraudulent sale, or a
       counterfeit power of attorney.
    -  December 2006: Streamlined the process to apply to the Land Titles
       Assurance Fund.
    -  June 2007: New powers to suspend or revoke liquor licences.
    -  July 2007: New regulation requiring electrical products to be
       certified and labeled.
    -  August 2007: New payday lending requirements that require all payday
       lenders to communicate to consumers with greater transparency.
    -  October 2007: New provisions for consumer gift cards prohibiting
       expiration dates and fees other than for replacement of a lost card or
       to customize a card.

    Top Ten Consumer Complaints

    1.  Collection Agencies
    2.  Home Repairs
    3.  Home Furnishing
    4.  Motor Vehicle Purchases
    5.  Motor Vehicle Repairs
    6.  Appliances
    7.  Health and Fitness Clubs
    8.  Credit Reporting
    9.  Personal Items (clothes, shoes, cosmetics)
    10. Electricity Retailers/Natural Gas Marketers

    Disponible en français

                               www.mgs.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Greg Dennis, Minister's Office,
Office: (416) 327-3072, Cell: (647) 281-4403; Ciaran Ganley, Communications
Branch, (416) 325-8659

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