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 media coverage has highlighted consumer concerns with the expiry of loyalty points. 

Ontario

The Protecting Rewards Points Act passed in December 2017 and was retroactive to October 1, 2016. As of January 1, 2018 new regulations pertaining to reward points took effect. A key feature of the regulations is a ban on the expiry of loyalty points based on time alone, which means that points can still expire because of the passage of time, but there also must be a second reason (such as a combination of time passing and inactivity).

Québec

Update and Status

On July 18, 2018, the Minister for Consumer Protection and Housing Lise Thériault announced that the regulations impacting changes to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), including loyalty programs, will be coming into force in stages.

Of importance to members who are engaged in the loyalty programs space, is that as of August 1, 2018, points can no longer expire unless there is inactivity of not less than one year.

The Act does not apply in the following situations:
  • To a contract relating to a loyalty program where the retail value of each good or service that the consumer may obtain does not exceed $50.
  • To a contract relating to a loyalty program for a single good or service or a set of goods or services determined at the time of entering into a contract relating t a loyalty program.

The regulations governing loyalty programs are aligned with those that have been in effect in Ontario since January 1, 2018.

The final regulations can be found in the Gazette Officiel du Quebec, July 18, 2018, Vol 150, No 29. A news release was issued (in French only) and is available here.

If you have any questions, please contact the CMA Public Affairs team.

Background

On May 2, 2017, the Québec government introduced new legislation intended to modernize Québec's CPA, as well as provide for new consumer protection measures. Bill 134 was passed on November 15, 2017.

Draft regulations were published on April 18, 2018 with comments due by June 1, 2018. CMA undertook consultations with a variety of members for its submissions related to this issue.