Why were these articulate advocates getting a brush off? How did this stonewalling make sense, given Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s promise to bring in a consumer bill of rights in her 2014 election platform?
So, I wrote to the new consumer minister, David Orazietti.
“We’ve now had two meetings with the minister’s chief of staff and policy adviser,” Somerville told me last week. “They seem genuinely interested in what we have to say about the issues and they are following up directly with some homeowners.
Orazietti, 48, a former high school teacher and two-term city councillor in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was elected as a Liberal MPP in 2003. Wynne appointed him as natural resources minister last year and then as minister of both consumer and government services (which includes Service Ontario).
In 2010, he brought in a private member’s bill to regulate cellphone contracts. The government adopted his initiative, The Wireless Services Agreement Act, which passed three years later (after several tries).
Orazietti successfully introduced another private member’s bill, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which imposes fines of up to $ 250 on drivers and passengers caught smoking in cars with children under 16 years of age.
Do retailers and manufacturers charge women and men different amounts for products and services? The practice was publicized by a CBC Marketplace show on Nov. 21. In one case, a men’s anti-wrinkle cream cost $ 8.99. The women’s version from the same company cost $ 21.99.
Do rent-to-own outlets need tougher rules? A CBC news investigation found the industry targets cash-strapped Canadians and often loads up customers with products they can’t afford to finance. Most U.S. states require transparent pricing. Five states have price controls.
He talks about revising the Condominium Act, a huge project started a few years ago. Ontario is still working on creating standards for condo managers and finding ways to resolve condo disputes out of court before introducing new legislation.
Orazietti was also given a mandate to lower costs for businesses. He wants the ministry’s delegated authorities, such as the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) and Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) to cut overhead by sharing office and administration costs.
Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues. You can reach her at email@example.com or www.ellenroseman.com