Consumer Protection / Loyalty Programs

Almost all retail brands, franchised and non-franchised alike, offer some sort of loyalty points program. Loyalty programs have recently been the subject of legislative scrutiny, as recent media coverage has highlighted consumer concerns with the expiry of loyalty points. 

Ontario

The Protecting Rewards Points Act will eliminate expiry dates on reward points programs based on time alone in Ontario. Any points that expired on or after October 1, 2016 will be reinstated. Before the law takes effect, the provincial government will have to work on developing regulations to provide more details. The new law was approved by the legislature on December 5, 2016 and will come into force in 2018 after a period of consultations with businesses and consumers.

Québec

On May 2, 2017, the Québec government introduced new legislation intended to modernize the Quebec Consumer Protection Act (CPA), as well as provide for new consumer protection measures. As it pertains to loyalty programs, Bill 134 would: require merchants to provide certain disclosures (to be set out in the regulations) to the consumer before entering into a contract relating to a loyalty program; prohibit the expiry of points by a set date or by the lapse of time; and prevent the unilateral amendment of the rewards program contract, unless the contract indicates the elements that may be unilaterally amended and the merchant provides written notice of the change.