News release

Nova Scotians To Benefit From Responsible, Respectful Debt Collection

New legislation introduced today, Oct. 31, will protect Nova Scotians struggling to pay their debts from aggressive marketing tactics and promises of unrealistic debt reductions.

The Debt Collection and Management Reform (2012) Act amends both the Collection Agencies Act and the Consumer Creditors' Conduct Act to update consumer protections for collection and debt management agencies.

"While we know no one plans to go into debt without having some means of paying it off, sometimes the unexpected happens and people are left struggling to pay creditors," said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell. "These amendments will make life better for Nova Scotians who need help managing their debt by ensuring they are treated fairly and do not pay up-front fees for services they don't receive."

Current restrictions in the legislation do not protect as many people or adequately address new technologies like social media or text messaging.

"The debt settlement industry is flourishing and many Nova Scotia consumers are being lured into believing that debt settlement is an easy fix and that their debt will disappear overnight," said Don MacKinnon, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Atlantic Provinces. "Any change in legislation that helps to protect consumers from unscrupulous debt settlement companies that prey on Nova Scotia consumers, is welcome and supported."

Changes to the acts include

  • limiting collection agencies to three contacts in seven days
  • requiring written authorization from creditors for collections agencies to collect a debt
  • stopping ongoing calls when the wrong person is reached or the debt is disputed
  • creating authority for government to cap fees for debt management services and allowing fees to be charged only after a settlement has been reached with creditors
  • creating a debt management agency and debt management agent licences
  • prohibiting unlicensed debt management agencies

These changes will bring Nova Scotia's practice for collection and debt management agencies in line with other provinces, particularly Alberta and Ontario.

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations offers a debtor assistance program to help educate and counsel Nova Scotians in personal financial matters. For information, call 1-800-670-4357 (toll free) or 424-5200 (HRM) or visit www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/access/individuals/debtor-assistance.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotians struggling to pay their debts will be protected from aggressive marketing tactics and promises of unrealistic debt reductions through legislation introduced today (October 31th).

Amendments to the Collection Agencies Act and the Consumer Creditors' Conduct Act update and modernize consumer protections around debt collection and debt management agencies.

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell says these amendments will make life better for Nova Scotians who need help managing their debt by ensuring they are treated fairly and do not pay up-front fees for services they don't receive.

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Media Contacts:

Susan Tate
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-0112 E-mail: