Alberta Statute: Consumer Protection Act
Regulation: Alta Reg 194/99 Collection and Debt
British Columbia Statute: Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act
Regulation: B.C. Reg. 295/2004 Debt Collection and
Manitoba Statute: The Consumer Protection Act
Newfoundland Statute: Collections Act
Regulation: 986/96 Collections Regulations
New Brunswick Statute: Collection Agencies Act
NWT Statute: Consumer Protection Act
Nova Scotia Statute: Collection Agencies Act
Regulation: NS Reg. 151/76 Collection Agencies Regulations
Nunavut Statute: Consumer Protection Act
Ontario Statute: Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act
Regulation Reg 74 General
Quebec Statute: An Act Respecting Collection of Certain Debts
Regulation: Regulation respecting the application of the Act
PEI Statute: Collection Agencies Act
Saskatchewan Statute: The Collection Agents Act
Yukon Statute: Consumers Protection Act
Regulation of lawyers engaged in collection activity
There are a handful of law firms across Canada whose activities are virtually indistinguishable from that of a traditional collection agency. These law firms employ full-time staff whose primary task is to make collection calls. The conduct of lawyers engaged in collection activity is subject to the rules of professional conduct governing lawyers in a particular province.
Provincial and territorial law regulating collection agencies
Help me with my debt
Provincial regulation of Bill Collectors
Your original creditor is the firm that provided you with goods, services or credit. For the first three to six months that your account is unpaid you will typically receive collection calls from your original creditor. No province or territory in Canada regulates the conduct of original creditors making payment demands to consumers.
A collection agency is a company which collects unpaid accounts owed to others, invariably on a commission basis. Every province and territory in Canada has a law which not only requires collection agencies to be licensed but also imposes a statutory code of conduct--prohibited collection practices as well as mandatory duties--on collection agencies. The level of protection afforded to consumers from the activities of collection agencies--both in terms of legal protections as well as actual enforcement of the law--varies signficantly by province.
In some provinces such as Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI this law can be found in a "stand-alone" statute as well as regulations enacted under that statute. In the remaining provinces and territories provincial and/or territorial law regulating collection agencies can be found in consumer protection law that regulates not only collection agencies but also a broad range of consumer-related transactions.
In most provinces these laws only regulate the conduct of collection agencies. If you live in British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario, however, you are entitled to the same protections from debt buyers as you are from collection agencies. A debt buyer is a firm which owns your unpaid account other than your original creditor. At some point your original creditor may sell your unpaid account to a debt buyer in which case the debt buyer "steps into the shoes of your original creditor".
Some, but not all, collection agencies purchase unpaid accounts. The primary business of collection agencies is collecting debts owing to others. Collecting purchased debt is a secondary business for those collection agencies which purchase portfolios of unpaid accounts.
The law that applies to you
You may be getting phone calls from collection agencies which originate in your province, in another province, or sometimes from outside Canada.
With one exception, regardless of where these collection calls originate the applicable law governing the conduct of the collector and the collection agency is the law in the province in which you live. if you are receiving collection calls from a collection agency physically situated in Ontario then you are also entitled to all of the protections afforded to an Ontario resident under Ontario law.
Regulation of Bill Collectors under Federal Law
Any consumer who is receiving payment demands in connection with monies owing to a bank or credit card company is entitled to protections afforded under the Federal Credit Business Practices Regulations regardless if the payment demands are from the original creditor, debt buyer, collection agency or a lawyer.
Founder, Mark Silverthorn