as enacted by SM 1987-88, c. 9 on July 17, 1987.
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R.S.M. 1987, c. T110
The Trade Practices Inquiry Act
WHEREAS, it is deemed expedient in the public interest to make provision for the receiving of complaints respecting matters that may, from time to time, be alleged to exist in any trade, business, industry, pursuit, occupation, calling, profession, or activity, for inquiry into and concerning them and for regulating the prices, charged for any article or product, sold or provided in connection with any trade, business, industry, pursuit, occupation, calling, profession or activity.
THEREFOR HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:
In this Act,
"minister" means the member of the Executive Council charged by the Lieutenant Governor in Council with the administration of this Act; ("ministre")
"trade" means any trade, business, industry, pursuit, occupation, calling, or profession, and includes an activity of any kind whatsoever carried on by any person or through which the support or patronage of the public is sought for any purpose. ("activité commerciale")
Any four persons, resident in Manitoba, of the full age of 18 years, who have reason to believe
(a) that any one or more persons carrying on or engaged in any trade in Manitoba,
(i) by misleading representation or advertising are selling, offering for sale, or otherwise dealing in, articles or products of inferior quality; or
(ii) are manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, or otherwise dealing in, improperly adulterated or diluted articles or products;
(iii) are making charges for storing, conditioning, reconditioning, repairing, remodelling, servicing, packing, wrapping, or in any manner whatsoever dealing in or with, any article or product which is unfair or improper; or
(iv) are making charges by way of commission, flat charge, or otherwise for selling, handling, disposing of, or otherwise dealing in, any article or product which is unfair or improper: or
(v) are making use of unfair, improper, or misleading advertising or statements, whether written or oral; or
(vi) are offering to provide, or are providing, educational training services or facilities to students that are inadequate properly to instruct or qualify the students; or
(vii) are making improper, misleading, or unfair, appeals to the public for financial support or donations of any kind whatsoever; or
(viii) are following or using unfair, detrimental, or improper practices; or
(b) that conditions of any kind whatsoever exist or are prevalent in, or in the conduct, operation, or management of, a trade, whether involving one or more than one person engaged in or carrying on the trade, that are detrimental to the person or persons engaged in or carrying on the trade and to any persons employed by the person or persons carrying on the trade, and to the public or to any one of them;
may make a complaint in writing to the minister with regard thereto.
Where a complaint is made to the minister he shall make or cause to be made such inquiry concerning the subject matter of the complaint as he considers necessary to determine whether it justifies any action.
Where the minister decides that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, or for any other reason does not justify an inquiry under this Act, he shall notify the complainants of his decision.
A decision of the minister is final and conclusive and is not subject to review or appeal.
Where the minister has reason to believe that any of the conditions set out in section 2 may exist in a trade, whether or not a complaint in writing has been made under that section, the minister shall recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that an inquiry be made into the conditions existing in the trade and any matters incidental to or arising out of or in any way connected with it and the Lieutenant Governor in Council may
(a) appoint one or more persons as a board to make the inquiry; or
(b) refer the matter to the Public Utilities Board for inquiry pursuant to section 107 of The Public Utilities Board Act.
In appointing persons as a board under subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may fix a period within which the board is to complete the inquiry and make its report, and may from time to time extend that period.
For the purposes of the inquiry the members of a board appointed under section 4 have like protection and powers as are conferred upon commissioners appointed under Part V of The Manitoba Evidence Act and the board shall comply with section 86 of that Act.
The proceedings of a board appointed under this Act may, at the discretion of the board, be conducted either in private or in public.
A board appointed under this Act may make interim reports to the minister prior to the completion of its inquiry.
Upon the completion of an inquiry the board shall make a full report thereon to the minister, and the report shall set forth the various proceedings and steps taken by the board for the purpose of fully and carefully ascertaining all the facts and circumstances relating to the complaint, dispute, or difference or activity or business, and shall also set forth the facts and circumstances and its findings therefrom.
The minister may publish and supply copies of any report in such manner, and upon such terms, as to him seems most desirable.
No action or other proceedings of whatsoever kind or nature shall be taken or are maintainable against the minister or any person in respect of the publication or republication in any manner of the report or any part of it.
For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act according to their intent, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make such regulations and orders as are ancillary thereto and are not inconsistent therewith; and every regulation or order made under, and in accordance with the authority granted by, this section has the force of law; and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations and orders,
(a) for the payment of incidental and necessary expenses of inquiries;
(b) prescribing the form in which complaints shall be made to the minister and requiring such supporting material or evidence as he deems necessary;
(c) prescribing the forms for use in connection with the practice and procedure on inquiries; and
(d) appointing officers and clerks to boards and prescribing their duties.
Where a board appointed under clause 4(1)(a) recommends in an interim or final report that the price of the article or product be controlled and in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the article or product
(a) is essential in the day to day activities of a significant number of people in the province:
(b) is distributed through a system which limits competition: and
(c) is not an article or product for which a reasonable substitute can be easily and widely obtained;
the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, prescribe the maximum price that may be charged for the article or product at any stage in its production, distribution or marketing.
A regulation under subsection (2)
(a) shall specify a day upon which it expires;
(b) may establish maximum prices at different stages of production or distribution of the article or product;
(c) may establish maximum prices for different methods of marketing the article or product:
(d) may apply to all or a part of the province: and (e) may establish different maximum prices for different areas of the province specified in the regulation.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council without obtaining any further report may change the expiry date or vary any of the terms of a regulation under subsection (2).
Where the Public Utilities Board has under clause 4(1)(b) inquired into a trade and has concluded that the circumstances described in clauses (2)(a). (b) and (c) exist, the board may make an order and subsections (2), (3) and (4) apply to that order as if the order were a regulation.
Every person who charges or seeks to charge, whether by way of sale price, service charge, commission or otherwise, a price for an article or product sold or provided by him that is in excess of the maximum price prescribed for the article or product under the regulations made pursuant to subsection (2) or an order made pursuant to subsection (5) is guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not less than $50. or more than $1,000.
A person is guilty of a separate offence for each transaction that constitutes an offence under subsection (6).
The provisions of this Act are in addition to, and not in substitution for, the provisions of any other Act of the Legislature.
The minister shall, within 15 days after the opening of the Legislative Assembly, make a report to the assembly covering all the inquiries made under this Act.