Toronto, May 21, 2009

Archived - Minister of Finance Releases New Credit Card Regulations to Improve Protection for Consumers

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Delivering on the Government’s promise to help consumers of financial products, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today released new proposed regulations aimed at limiting business practices that are not beneficial to consumers and providing clear and timely information to Canadians about credit cards.

“Close to 25 million Canadians have credit cards, and most of them pay their balance in full, which is a great credit to how prudent Canadians are generally,” said Minister Flaherty. “Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, we are helping consumers by mandating a 21-day grace period on new purchases made with credit cards during the month, when a full payment is made at the end of that month.

“As for those circumstances when Canadians don’t pay off their outstanding balance, we want to ensure they are treated fairly, that interest rates and penalties are clearly shown, and that companies use only appropriate debt collection practices.”

The proposed Credit Business Practices Regulations will:

In addition, amendments to the Cost of Borrowing Regulations will:

“Understanding interest rates, fees and increases to monthly payments are key challenges many Canadians face when managing their credit cards,” said Casey Cosgrove, Director of the Social and Enterprise Development Innovations’ Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy. “The measures announced by the government today will contribute to financial literacy by bringing clearer and more transparent information to consumers.”

The proposed regulations would apply to credit cards issued by federally regulated institutions. Some provisions in the regulations would have broader application to other financial products, such as fixed- and variable-rate loans and lines of credit.

“These proposed amendments will ensure Canada remains at the forefront of consumer protection in the financial services sector,” said Minister Flaherty.

The regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette on May 23, and the deadline for submissions is June 13. Contact information for forwarding comments is provided with the proposed regulations.

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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