Province Taking Another Step To Protect Consumers
- The province examined the terms of over 50 different programs when drafting the regulations.
- If a reward points program issues vouchers, they will be considered as gift cards, and will not be allowed to expire.
- If a member does not earn or redeem reward points over a long period of time, some rewards programs close accounts due to prolonged inactivity. This will continue to be permitted if it is stated explicitly in the membership agreement.
- Reward programs dealing only with low-value items of $50 or less will be exempt.
Ontario is protecting consumers from losing reward points based only on the amount of time passed since they were earned. Beginning on January 1, 2018, consumers will be protected against losing reward points that they have been saving up for larger purchases, and the change will be retroactive to October 1, 2016.
Consumers who believe their points improperly expired will be able to request that businesses reimburse them, or may file a complaint with Consumer Protection Ontario.
Banning the expiration of reward points is one of a number of changes the province has proposed to increase protection for consumers, including:
- Adding new protections for new home warranties and condo owners
- Strengthening rules and professional standards in the real estate sector
- Increasing transparency in travel services pricing
- Preventing event ticket fraud and excessive markups in ticket re-sales.
Protecting consumers is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.