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Fourth Session, Thirty-Eighth Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications.

Bill 24

THE CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT (GOVERNMENT CHEQUE CASHING FEES)


Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. C200 amended

1           The Consumer Protection Act is amended by this Act.

2           The following is added after section 164:

PART XIX

GOVERNMENT CHEQUE CASHING FEES

Definitions

165         The following definitions apply in this Part.

"cheque cashing fee" means

(a) a fee, commission or other amount or consideration charged, paid or given for cashing or negotiating a government cheque; and

(b) any other fee, commission, amount or consideration designated by regulation as a cheque cashing fee. (« frais d'encaissement de chèque »)

"government agency" means a body designated as a government agency in the regulations. (« organisme gouvernemental »)

"government cheque" means a cheque or other written order to pay drawn on an account of

(a) the Government of Canada;

(b) the Government of Manitoba; or

(c) a government agency. (« chèque du gouvernement »)

Prohibition against unauthorized fees

166         No person shall

(a) charge, require or accept; or

(b) permit any other person to charge, require or accept;

a cheque cashing fee except as permitted by or under an order of The Public Utilities Board.

Definition of "payer"

167(1)      In this section, "payer" means a person who pays or is charged or required to pay a cheque cashing fee.

Consequences of failure to comply

167(2)      If a person contravenes section 166,

(a) the payer is not liable to pay the cheque cashing fee or any part of it; and

(b) the person must, immediately on demand by the payer or the director, reimburse the payer, in cash for

(i) the total amount paid as a cheque cashing fee, and

(ii) the value of any other consideration given.

This is in addition to any penalty that the person may be subject to under any other provision of this Act or the regulations.

Regulations

168(1)      The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) designating a fee, commission or other amount or consideration as a cheque cashing fee for the purpose of this Part;

(b) designating a body as a government agency for the purpose of this Part;

(c) exempting any transaction or class of transactions or any person or class of persons from the application of this Part or a regulation under this Part;

(d) respecting any other matter the Lieutenant Governor considers necessary for the administration of this Part.

Application of regulation

168(2)      A regulation under this Part may be general or particular in its application and may apply to one or more classes of persons or things, and to the whole or any part of the province.

"Board" defined

169(1)      In this section, "board" means The Public Utilities Board.

Board to set maximum amount of fee

169(2)      The board must, by order, fix the maximum amount, or establish a rate, formula or tariff for determining the maximum amount, that may be charged, required or accepted as a cheque cashing fee.

What the board may consider

169(3)      In making an order under this section, the board may consider

(a) the business operating requirements of persons who cash or negotiate cheques for a fee;

(b) the financial risks taken by persons who cash or negotiate government cheques for a fee;

(c) any other factors that the board considers relevant and in the public interest; and

(d) any data that the board considers relevant.

Order to be just and reasonable

169(4)      An order made under this section must be one that the board considers just and reasonable in the circumstances, having regard to the factors and data considered by it.

Periodic review

169(5)      The board must review its existing orders under this section at least once every three years. After the review, the board must make a new order that replaces the existing orders.

Review on changed circumstances

169(6)      Whenever the board is satisfied that circumstances with respect to the cashing or negotiating of government cheques have changed substantially, or that new evidence has come to its attention that may affect an existing order made under subsection (2), the board may review any existing order. After the review, the board must make a new order that continues, modifies or replaces the order that was reviewed.

Notice and hearing

169(7)      Before making an order under this section, the board must give public notice and hold a public hearing in respect of the subject matter of the order.

Board may determine status

169(8)      At a hearing under this section, the board may define the status and rights of any person wishing to make a submission or to provide or challenge evidence provided to the board.  The board may refuse to admit evidence or receive a submission that, in the board's opinion, is not relevant to the subject matter of the hearing.

Costs of intervener payable by government

169(9)      The board may determine whether an intervener is entitled to costs for participating in a hearing under this section, and may fix the amount of those costs.  Costs are payable out of the Consolidated Fund with money authorized by an Act of the Legislature to be so paid and applied.

Application of The Regulations Act

169(10)     Despite clause (e) of the definition "regulation" in section 1 of The Regulations Act, that Act applies to an order of the board made under this section.

Application of The Public Utilities Board Act

169(11)     The provisions of Part I of The Public Utilities Board Act — except section 33, subsection 51(2), section 52, and section 56 to the extent that it relates to the costs of an intervener — apply to the making of an order under this section, with necessary changes, as if the powers and duties of the board under this section were assigned to the board under that Part.

Conditional amendments

3(1)         This section applies only if Bill 25, introduced in the Fourth Session of the 38th Legislature, entitled The Consumer Protection Amendment Act (Payday Loans), has not received royal assent before this Act comes into force.

3(2)        Part XIX of The Consumer Protection Act, as enacted by section 2 of this Act, is renumbered as Part XVIII.

3(3)         Sections 165 to 169 of The Consumer Protection Act, as enacted by section 2 of this Act, are renumbered as sections 137 to 141.

3(4)        Subsection 167(2) of The Consumer Protection Act, as enacted by section 2 of this Act, is amended by striking out "section 166" and substituting "section 138".

Coming into force

4           This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Explanatory Note

This Bill amends The Consumer Protection Act to limit the amount that may be charged to cash a government cheque. The maximum fee is to be set by order of The Public Utilities Board.