The Government of Québec has issued new regulations governing loyalty programs. The regulations reflect the latest changes made to the Consumer Protection Act. During consultations on the legislative amendments, RCC persuaded the Government of Québec to align its regulations with those of Ontario, which permit reward points to expire due to account inactivity.
Who does this cover?
All retailers who operate in Québec and offer a loyalty program to their clients.
In effect as of August 1, 2018
It will be possible for loyalty program points to expire if the account is inactive for at least one year. However, an inactivity notice will have to be sent 30 to 60 days before the points are to expire.
The regulation does not apply to loyalty programs for a single good or service or a set of goods or services (e.g., coffee cards) and loyalty programs where the retail value of each good or service that the consumer may obtain does not exceed $50.
Details about the information that will have to be provided to the consumers when entering into the contract.
Prohibition of changing the number or value of units received by the consumer or increasing in a disproportionate manner the number of units required to obtain a good or a service, unless justified by a significant increase of the retail value.
If the contract is amended, a notice containing the amended clause, the clause as it read formerly, and the effective date will have to be sent to the consumer 60 to 90 days before it comes into effect. The original contract must, however, have included the elements that may be amended unilaterally.
Temporary amendments will be permitted if they are advantageous to the consumer.
The final draft of the regulation can be found here.
RCC was part of the consultations led by the National Assembly commission that reviewed the changes made to the Consumer Protection Act, and it submitted its comments when the draft regulations were released.
RCC will remain in touch with the government and the Office de la protection du consommateur to obtain any explanations or details that could be needed to apply these new regulations.