Government pledges new consumer protection measures

Speech tackles “hidden fees.”

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The Harper government’s 2013 Speech from the Throne pledged new measures to defend Canadian consumers.

“Canadian families work hard to make ends meet, and every dollar counts. While companies will look out for their bottom line, our government is looking out for everyday Canadians,” Governor General David Johnston said Wednesday in his prepared remarks.

In particular, the federal government plans to crack down on what it calls “hidden fees” by ending extra fees for paper bills; expanding no-cost basic banking services, working with the provinces and territories to regulate predatory payday lenders and further close the U.S.-Canada price gap.

The speech also promised to make merchant transaction fees on debit and credit cards more transparent for consumers as well as take steps to reduce mobile roaming costs on networks within Canada and require that TV channels be unbundled.

Additional measures aimed directly at the wallets of some Canadian families were also mentioned in Wednesday’s speech including making adoption more affordable and preventing employers and insurance companies from discriminating against Canadians on the basis of genetic testing.

For up-to-the-minute reporting and analysis, check out the liveblog from Parliament Hill, powered by Maclean’s. For specific information on what the speech contained on the topics of federal balance sheets, the Canada-EU trade agreement and more, head over to Canadian Business. You can also read the full Throne Speech here.

 

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