Amendments to the Ontario Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act and its regulations (CDSSA) came into effect starting the first of this month (January 1, 2018). The CDSSA was amended by Bill 59, the Putting Consumers First Act (Consumer Protection Statute Law Amendment), 2017. The main change from a consumer’s point of view was to make the CDSSA apply to debt purchasers and require them be licensed as collection agencies. Collection law firms were also to have been brought under the CDSSA and licensed as collection agencies. However, after the consultation period this past summer, the Ontario government set aside this amendment for further consideration. Our firm was one of those who made a written submission (see our reponse to the Ministry).
Earlier this month I received a Registrar’s Bulletin from Shane Gallagher, the Registrar of Collection Agencies, outlining the changes coming into effect. He invited questions, so I telephoned him to hear directly what had happened with the proposed amendment.
Mr. Gallagher told me that input recieved during the consultation indicated that the proposed amendment would benefit from further consideration. He invited my thoughts on the differences between genuine collection law firms and collection agencies to pass on to policy-makers. The main point I shared was that, in my view, the key distinguishing characteristic is that law firms obtain and enforce judgment on all suit-worthy accounts that are not paid voluntarily while collection agencies do not.
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