Ontario Protecting Rewards Points Act
On December 8, 2016, Ontario gave Royal Assent to legislation banning the expiration of reward points. Bill 47, a private member’s bill, entitled Protecting Reward Points Act was introduced to the Ontario legislature in October and has quickly gained momentum. Consumer frustration has been widely reported over the plans of various loyalty program providers to have their unused reward points expire over time. The first legal responses came in the form of consumer class action law suits. Bill 47 will short circuit the litigation barrage by amending Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, 2002 to prohibit implementing policies that call for the expiration of consumer reward points based upon the passage of time. It will also void any provision to the contrary in any consumer agreement. The prohibition will apply retroactively to October 1, 2016, when Bill 47 was introduced, so that any rewards points lost after that date will have to be credited back to the consumer. The law is not yet proclaimed in force because the Government of Ontario is developing its regulations. Ontario will be consulting with industry stakeholders in order to develop those regulations. The legislation is expected to come into force some time in 2017.