Alberta                       Statute:          Consumer Protection Act

                                   Regulation:     Alta Reg 194/99  Collection and Debt

                                                          Repayment Practices Regulation

British Columbia      Statute:           Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act

                                   Regulation:     B.C. Reg. 295/2004  Debt Collection and

                                                          Repayment Regulation

Manitoba                  Statute:           The Consumer Protection Act

Newfoundland          Statute:           Collections Act

                                   Regulation:     986/96 Collections Regulations

New Brunswick         Statute:          Collection Agencies Act

                                                          Regulation 84-256

NWT                           Statute:          Consumer Protection Act

                                                         NWT Reg 049-2003

Nova Scotia               Statute:          Collection Agencies Act

                                    Regulation:    NS Reg. 151/76 Collection Agencies Regulations

Nunavut                      Statute:         Consumer Protection Act

                                                          Nunavut Consumer Protection Act Regulations

​Ontario                       Statute:          Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act

                                    Regulation     Reg 74 General

                                                          Reg 247/18  Additional Disclosure to Debtor

                                                          Reg 461/17  Administrative Penalties


Quebec                       Statute:         An Act Respecting Collection of Certain Debts

                                    Regulation:    Regulation respecting the application of the Act

                                                          respecting collection of certain debts


PEI                              Statute:          Collection Agencies Act

                                                          PEI Reg EC450/95

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

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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