Lawmakers often pass legislation to protect consumers, though sometimes the laws they pass can be controversial to business interests. In Ontario, a new business law prevents door-to-door sales of items, including furnaces, air conditioners, air purifiers, water heaters, water filters and duct cleaning. The government says the legislation is in response to approximately 4,000 complaints from consumers across the province about deceptive door-to-door sales practices related to these products.
Lawmakers say that seniors and new Canadians are particularly vulnerable to door-to-door scams. Ontario lawmakers say they may adjust the legislation to include other products in the future should complaints emerge. The maximum fine for individuals breaking the new business law is $50,000, while corporations may face fines up to $250,000.
One of the controversies in the new law, according to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, is the fact that it does not include telecommunications companies. Those selling internet, phone or TV services fall under federal jurisdiction, so the Ontario law does not influence their activities. Charities remain untouched by the Ontario law for the same reason. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has sent a public letter to the CRTC, Canada’s telecommunication regulator, to open a public inquiry into door-to-door sales in its industry.
Consumer complaints can often leads to business law changes in Ontario. These changes can have various effects on individuals and businesses across the province. Those who have questions or concerns about the new law or how it might affect their business dealings may benefit by discussing the issue with a lawyer.