Laws Regulating Collection Agencies a Confusing Patchwork Quilt


Mark Silverthorn has spent more than three decades as a student of the law regulating collection agencies in Canada.


In Canada each province and territory not only licenses but also regulates the conduct of collection agencies.  The result is a patchwork quilt of inconsistent laws across the country.

Collection agencies, for example, are legally permitted to call the workplace of a Saskatchewan resident with an outstanding account–but are prohibited from making any phone calls of any kind to the place of employment of a consumer living in Newfoundland.


Relevant law is the law where the consumer lives

An individual may be receiving phone calls from a collection agency which has offices in his or her province, in another Canadian province, or from outside Canada.  The relevant law regulating the conduct of collection agencies is the one where the recipient of the phone call from a collection agency resides.


Collection agency-specific statute versus component of provincial consumer protection law

Provincial and territorial law regulating collection agencies in Canada fall into one of two broad categories:

  • collection agency-specific regulation
  • consumer protection legislation

In some provinces the provincial law regulating collection agencies is specific to collection agencies.  These narrowly focused statutes describes provincial law regulating collection agencies in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the four Atlantic provinces. The law in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and the three territories regulating collection agencies is contained in a much broader consumer protection statute regulating industries including but not limited to the collection industry.


Law regulating collection agencies may be contained in regulations

It is common for provincial statutes to permit some of the law in a provincial statute to be enacted pursuant to regulation.  The law regulating collection agencies in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia can be found in the regulations.


Names of specific statutes regulating collection agencies

You can find the names of provincial  and territorial statutes and regulations regulating collection agencies at the following link on on a webpage titled “Provincial Regulation of Bill Collectors”.



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