• Somewhere In Between: Administrative Monetary Penalties
  • December 20, 2013 | Author: Suhuyini Abudulai
  • Law Firm: Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP - Toronto Office
  • The Ministry of Consumer Services (Ontario) (the “Ministry”) is proposing to amend certain consumer protection legislation to introduce administrative monetary penalties (“AMPs”), adding to existing enforcement tools available to regulators. Regulators will consult with their sectors to develop and implement appropriate policies to enforce AMPs in their respective sectors (e.g. travel services, payday loans or collection agencies). AMPs would be issued against a business or an individual and are viewed by the Ministry as a “middle ground” in the enforcement regime, striking a balance between the stringent penalties that may be imposed upon non-compliance with applicable law, such as prosecution or revocation of licences, and lesser penalties such as issuing a simple warning or educating businesses by providing written information and materials regarding their compliance with the law.

    Legislation that will be impacted by the proposed AMPs include the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, the Consumer Protection Act, the Payday Loans Act and the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act. The proposed framework is designed to, among other things, deter non-compliance and future violations more effectively and permit the publication of information as to compliance records of businesses to keep consumers informed.

    Three monetary penalty levels are proposed and are subject in certain circumstances to review as to fairness:

    • Level 1 ranges from $100 to $2,000 for minor non-compliance violations.
    • Level 2 ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 for more serious violations that create a risk to public safety or cause financial or other harm to consumers.
    • Level 3 ranges from $2,500 to $10,000 for the most serious acts of non-compliance, particularly in relation to repeat contraventions or those who derive economic benefit from non-compliance.

    The Ministry is in process of reviewing feedback it received during a consultation process and expects to clarify any concerns in 2014 with stakeholders and other interested parties.