As the New Year begins, Ontario is reminding consumers about their rights when they join a gym or fitness club.
January is the perfect time to put healthy lifestyle goals into action. It’s also a time when gyms and fitness clubs offer tempting financial incentives like free passes and time-sensitive promotions for classes and memberships.
Before you sign a contract, make sure that the gym or facility you choose is the right fit for you:
You have the right to cancel a gym membership within 10 days of receiving a written copy of your contract, without providing a reason. All you need to do is give notice to the business, preferably in writing. Use this 10-day cooling-off period to test out the facility to see if it’s right for you.
You have the option to pay monthly
You can choose to pay month-to-month instead of paying up-front for the whole year. The business can charge up to 25 per cent more for monthly payments than the total cost of the annual, up-front fee. However, monthly payments provide flexibility and convenience.
All contracts must end after a year
The gym or fitness club must send you a renewal notice between 30 and 90 days before your contract expires, listing any changes to your new contract. If you receive a renewal notice and do not respond to it, the business has the right to renew your contract. Ask about the club’s renewal policy and how you will be contacted to renew.
Protecting consumers is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services dealt with more than 1,110 gym and fitness club-related complaints and inquiries between 2015 and 2016. Most common topics included contract cancellations, billing disputes and the 10-day cooling-off period.
Contracts for a gym or sports club membership or for classes such as martial arts or dance are called personal development services under the Consumer Protection Act. The rules apply where pre-payment of more than $50 is required.
Consumer Protection Ontario is an awareness program from Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and other public organizations, known as administrative authorities, that promote consumer rights and public safety.
On Monday, November 21, the TTC Board approved a fare increase to take effect on January 1, 2017.
The Board approved a 10 cent increase to the cost of a token and PRESTO e-purse, as well as a $4.75 increase to the cost of a Metropass. Senior/Student fares (cash and tickets) will increase by 10 cents. The cost of a Day Pass will increase to $12.50 and Downtown Express Stickers will increase to $43.00.
The TTC Board also voted to freeze the current price of adult cash fares.
Current new fare
Current fare is $3.25
New fare is the same, $3.25
Current fare is $2.90
New fare has changed to $3.00
Current fare is $2.90
New fare has changed to $3.00
Current fare is $42.25
New fare has changed to $43.75
Current fare is $141.50
New fare has changed to $146.25
VIP Tier 1 (50-249)
Current fare is $127.25
New fare has changed to $131.75
VIP Tier 2 (250-499)
Current fare is $125.75
New fare has changed to $130.25
VIP Tier 3 (500+)
Current fare is $124.50
New fare has changed to $128.75
Current fare is $129.75
New fare has changed to $134.00
Post Secondary Metropass
Current fare is $112.00
New fare has changed to $116.75
Current fare is $2.00
New fare has changed to $2.10
Current fare is $1.95
New fare has changed to $2.05
Current fare is $1.95
New fare has changed to $2.05
Current fare is $33.00
New fare has changed to $34.75
Current fare is $112.00
New fare has changed to$116.75
Current fare is $102.75
New fare has changed to $107.00
Children 12 years of age and under continue to ride free.
Current new fare
Day Pass/Group/Family Pass/E-Ticket
Current fare is $12.00
New fare has changed to $12.50
GTA Weekly Pass
Current fare is $61.00
New fare has changed to $63.00
Downtown Express Sticker
Current fare is $41.50
New fare will change to $43.00
Pass Vending Machines
Located in select Subway Stations, the Pass Vending Machine offers a variety of passes for purchase by credit card and debit card.
Monthly Metropasses passes are sold starting the 24th of the month prior to the month they are valid.
Weekly passes are sold from the previous Thursday, until the Tuesday of the week for which the pass will be used.
The Pass Vending Machine (PVM) accepts payment by debit card and credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or American Express).
Some subway stations have more than one PVM; the passes sold in each PVM may differ and are subject to availability.
Pass Vending Machine – Sales Locations and Pass Types
Ontario is lowering the maximum total cost of borrowing for a payday loan from $21 to $18 per $100 borrowed as of January 1, 2017.
Payday loans are a commonly used financial service in Ontario, and this change will ensure consumers are better protected and able to benefit from lower costs for each loan.
Ontario has also introduced legislation to strengthen protections for consumers who use financial services such as payday loans, instalment loans, rent-to-own services and cheque-cashing services, as well as for consumers who have debts in collection.
Back in 2011, Air Miles announced an expiry policy. They announced that accumulated points would begin to expire on a quarterly basis.
This forced many consumers with Air Miles to start using them, rather than risk losing them. Using them in many instances meant redeeming them for things that card holders didn’t necessarily want.
Bill 47 will ensure that Air Miles points that expired after October 1, 2016 will be returned to the consumer.
“The government will consult with the public and business to develop regulations aimed at protecting consumers’ points while maintaining the viability of rewards programs,” Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, writes in a statement.
Last week, Air Miles announced that it was backing away from an expiration policy that would have come into effect in January.
See the legislation referred to as “Bill 47, Protecting Rewards Points Act (Consumer Protection Amendment), 2016″:
Bill 47 2016
An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 with respect to rewards points
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
(1) Section 1 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 is amended by striking out the definition of “consumer agreement” and substituting the following:
“consumer agreement” means an agreement between a supplier and a consumer in which,
(a) the supplier agrees to supply goods or services for payment, or
(b) the supplier agrees to provide rewards points to the consumer, on the supplier’s own behalf or on behalf of another supplier, when the consumer purchases goods or services or otherwise acts in a manner specified in the agreement; (“convention de consommation”)
(2) Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:
“rewards points” means, subject to the regulations, points provided to a consumer under a consumer agreement that can be exchanged for money, goods or services; (“points de récompense”)
(3) Section 1 of the Act is amended by striking out the definition of “supplier” and substituting the following:
“supplier” means a person who is in the business of selling, leasing or trading in goods or services or is otherwise in the business of supplying goods or services, including the supply of rewards points, and includes an agent of the supplier and a person who holds themself out to be a supplier or an agent of the supplier; (“fournisseur”)
(1) Part IV of the Act is amended by adding the following section:
No expiry of rewards points
47.1 (1) Subject to the other provisions of this section, no supplier shall enter into or amend a consumer agreement under which rewards points are provided to provide for the expiry of rewards points due to the passage of time alone.
Application and transition
(2) This section applies to all consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided,
(a) that existed on October 1, 2016;
(b) that were entered into after October 1, 2016, but before the day this section came into force; or
(c) that are entered into on or after the date this section comes into force.
Effect of termination
(3) Subject to any prescribed exceptions, on and after the day this section comes into force, and upon providing notice to the other party, the supplier or the consumer may terminate the consumer agreement under which rewards points are provided, and if the consumer agreement so provided, the consumer’s accumulated rewards points may expire.
Term of consumer agreement not enforceable
(4) Any provision or part of a provision of a consumer agreement that contravenes this section or that fails to comply with the regulations with respect to rewards points is not enforceable, but such unenforceability shall not invalidate the remaining provisions in the consumer agreement.
Retroactive effect on expiry of rewards points
(5) Subject to any prescribed exceptions, within 15 days of this section coming into force, a supplier shall credit back to a consumer any rewards points that expired on or after October 1, 2016 and before the day this section comes into force.
Transition: crediting back, supplier termination of consumer agreement
(6) If a supplier terminated a consumer agreement under which rewards points were provided on or after October 1, 2016 and before the date this section came into force, the previously terminated agreement shall be deemed to not have been terminated and the supplier shall, within 15 days of this section coming into force, credit back to the consumer all rewards points that expired upon that termination.
No cause of action for retroactivity
(7) No cause of action arises against the Crown as a direct or indirect result of the retroactive application of this section or any regulations respecting rewards points, and no costs, compensation or damages are owing or payable by the Crown to any supplier, consumer or person as a result of such retroactive application.
(8) In any proceeding under this Act about the crediting back of rewards points mentioned in subsection (5) or (6), despite any contractual provision to the contrary, a court or tribunal may consider records presented by the consumer, determine those records’ admissibility and may give those records whatever weight it sees fit.
Other expiry allowed
(9) Consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided may provide for expiry due to reasons other than the passage of time alone, subject to any limits that may be prescribed.
No retroactive offences
(10) Nothing in this section creates a retroactive offence.
(2) Subsections 47.1 (5), (6) and (8) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), are repealed.
(1) Subsection 123 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:
(k) clarifying the definition of “rewards points” in section 1 and specifying things that do or do not constitute rewards points for the purposes of this Act.
(2) Subsection 123 (5) of the Act is amended by adding the following clauses:
(j) governing the transfer of rewards points among consumers, including upon death;
(k) governing the inactivity of consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided and of the rewards points themselves;
(l) governing the termination of consumer agreements under which rewards points are provided and of the rewards points themselves;
(m) governing the application of section 47.1 with respect to rewards points and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, providing for and prescribing anything that that section refers to as being prescribed or provided for in the regulations and governing transitional matters.
This Act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.
The short title of this Act is the Protecting Rewards Points Act (Consumer Protection Amendment), 2016.
This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 47 and does not form part of the law. Bill 47 has been enacted as Chapter 34 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2016.
The Bill amends the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 with respect to rewards points.
The definition of “consumer agreement” is amended to include agreements under which a supplier agrees to provide rewards points to a consumer. The definition of “supplier” is amended to include a person who supplies rewards points.
The new section 47.1 prohibits suppliers from entering into or amending consumer agreements to provide for the expiry of rewards points due to the passage of time alone. Rewards points may expire if a consumer agreement under which rewards points are provided is terminated by the supplier or the consumer and the consumer agreement provides for the expiry of the points. Transitional and other related matters are provided for.
Committee unanimously endorsed the plan, which would see the TTC give eligible residents 33 per cent off of single adult fare and 21 per cent off an adult monthly pass.
The mayor’s executive committee has approved a plan to give discounts to low-income transit users, but without the amendments pushed for by anti-poverty activists.
During a late evening session on Thursday, the committee unanimously endorsed the plan, which would see the TTC give eligible residents 33 per cent off of single adult fare and 21 per cent off an adult monthly pass.
The landmark Fair Pass Program has been under development for years and would radically shake up the TTC’s concession system by linking fare discounts to riders’ ability to pay.
More than a dozen anti-poverty advocates spoke at the committee, and, while most lauded the policy, they also urged the mayor’s inner circle to make it more robust.
“We are requesting that the discounts are deeper, the rollout is faster,” said Jessica Bell of TTCriders and the Fair Fare Coalition.
She asked that the discount fare program, which would cost $48 million a year when fully phased in by 2021, not be paid for by reducing concession fares to other groups.
The city currently spends $72 million on discounts for seniors, secondary and post-secondary students and children under 13 years of age.
The mayor has suggested the cost of the low-income discount could be offset by “reviewing” the existing programs.
Several deputants asked that people on social assistance be given free transit passes, and that the Fair Pass program, which won’t start being phased in until 2018, be implemented right away.
“Why keep 193,000 low-income citizens waiting when the need has been identified and the solution is right here?” asked Yvette Roberts, coordinator of Young Parents With No Fixed Address. She said economically marginalized residents are forgoing job opportunities and medical appointments because they can’t afford transit.
“We’re seeking immediate implementation. No more delays. Do the right thing now!” she said.
City staff told the committee that the fare plan couldn’t be implemented until the Presto fare program is in place. The TTC’s full network will be Presto-enabled by the end of the year, but the agency won’t phase out its other payment methods until sometime in 2017.
In a speech to the committee, Mayor John Tory said he understood the deputants’ urgency.
“It’s never fast enough. It’s never enough. The discount is never deep enough. I understand that. We’d like to do a lot more. But, at the end of the day, I think we’re doing something substantial here,” he said.
Under the policy, which still has to be approved by city council, Toronto adults who make less than 15 per cent above the low-income measure would be eligible for the fare discount. The cutoff would be $45,075 for a two-parent, two-child household; $31,522 for a single-parent, one-child household, and $22,537 for a single person.
Slightly fewer than 200,000 transit users would qualify, according to a report by city staff. Residents already receiving provincial transportation supports wouldn’t qualify.
The program would be rolled out in three phases, starting in 2018 with Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works clients, followed by residents who receive housing and child care subsidies in 2019, and all others in 2020 and 2021. Most eligible transit users wouldn’t get the discount until the third phase.
The plan will be debated at council’s next meeting, scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14.