The important role of consumer protection agencies

Shopping for travel insurance with coverage for pre-existing conditions, looking for health insurance for your parents or simply exploring your options for travel insurance for your next trip can be difficult. There is a lot to know about insurance, and once you decide on a policy, there are numerous health and travel insurance terms and policy elements to understand.

This is why consumer protection agencies exist. They ensure you get fair and proper treatment, regardless of whether you are looking for travel insurance for retirees or have an issue with your health insurance provider.

Your rights as a consumer are protected. There are laws and agencies in Québec and across Canada that provide you with assistance and support if you have a dispute with a business or organization.

What do consumer protection agencies do?

Consumer protection agencies:

  • Educate consumers about their rights
  • Investigate consumer complaints
  • Regulate businesses within a given industry
  • Award companies with industry certification and licences
  • Enforce consumer protection laws and regulations

The following agencies regulate the industry, ensure there is fair competition and protect consumers’ best interests in the areas of travel and health care insurance coverage.

Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act governs consumer transactions in the marketplace. If your transaction is not covered by the Act, it is likely covered by other consumer protection legislation or a consumer protection agency.

Office de la protection du consommateur

The Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC) regulates travel agencies and travel companies in Québec, ensuring they comply with all industry regulations. It independently enforces the Travel Agents Act, and provides four main services:

  1. Consumer protection
  2. Consumer awareness
  3. Registration, inspection, supervision and discipline of travel companies
  4. Investigation and mediation of disputes between consumers and travel agencies

OPC assists consumers with complaint resolution, inquires, education and awareness, and it inspects potential breaches of the Travel Agents Act by travel companies in the province.

Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) is a non-profit organization and is a complaint resource and information service for consumers. It assists Canadians who experience issues with life and health insurance services. It provides consumers with educational resources, online tools and forms, and protection should an insurance company go out of business.

OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance

OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) is an independent national complaint resolution resource for consumers. All consumers of life and health insurance products have access to impartial and cost-free resolutions of life and health insurance issues, including:

  • Policy questions and concerns
  • Questions about company complaint handling practices
  • Advice and education

If you have questions or issues with your insurance provider and are not satisfied with their level of service, these consumer protection agencies can help.