Funding of over $3 million awarded for consumer research to protect and empower Canadian consumers

News release

June 10, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

All Canadians want a fair and safe marketplace that they can trust. That is why the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, has awarded more than $3 million in funding over two years to support 16 consumer-interest research and development projects that will contribute to the protection and empowerment of Canadian consumers. Whether it is examining the protection of privacy in the online marketplace or the accessibility of telecommunications for Canadians with disabilities, ensuring Canadians are informed is essential to a robust and effective economy and gives Canadians the peace of mind they deserve.

Funded research projects will fill knowledge gaps, and the research findings will be made available online. Funded development projects will help consumer advocacy groups carry out research that will protect and empower Canadian consumers.

Quotes

“Our government is committed to protecting Canadians and recognizes that an informed consumer is an empowered consumer. Funding research that helps us to better understand the evolving needs of Canadian consumers will help us equip them with the information they need to be strong marketplace participants. I look forward to the findings of this research.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-Profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations has an annual budget of $1.69 million. For the two-year 2019–21 call for proposals, the program received 30 proposals, 16 of which were recommended for funding based on merit.

  • The Office of Consumer Affairs manages this program on behalf of the Government of Canada.

  • The following examples show how government-funded consumer research and development projects from this program have served the interests of Canadian consumers:

    • The Consumer Association of Canada – Manitoba’s report “Tackling Energy Poverty” was used as a source of information prior to a proposed electricity rate increase before a provincial Public Utilities Board. The report helped participating parties better understand the challenges many Canadians face when coping with increases in energy bills.
    • Option consommateurs studied how technology allows online merchants to vary the advertised price for goods or services based on a consumer’s Internet activity. The report titled: “Changes to prices advertised online: Analysis of business practices and the legal framework in Canada” provides useful insight of commercialized personalized pricing tactics in Canada and recommendations on how Canadian consumers can better protect their information when making purchasing choices in a rapidly evolving online marketplace.

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