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Bill 41 to protect victims of human trafficking from coerced debt

Bill 41 would amend the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit financial institutions and collections agencies from collecting debts human trafficking victims accumulated while being trafficked.
Human Trafficking
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Proposed Ontario legislation aims to protect victims of human trafficking from debts incurred while under the threat of human trafficking.

Bill 41, the private member's bill co-sponsored by Lucille Collard, Liberal Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Ottawa-Vanier, would amend the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit financial institutions and collection agencies from collecting debt victims accumulated while being trafficked. It also prohibits credit bureaus from including the debts on victims' credit reports.

According to the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, coerced debts are accumulated either by identity fraud, or victims being forced into taking out loans for the traffickers.

Sue Hutchinson, president of Equifax Canada, said the financial reporting agency is looking forward to supporting the proposed legislation as it makes it way through the legislative assembly at Queen's Park. 

"We learned of the proposed bill by MPP Collard and we're quite interested in seeing how we could support it," said Hutchinson on The Sam Laprade Show on Nov. 21. "We've been working on a lot of big issues like this, that are around public policy. So improving access to credit for certain segments of the population that don't necessarily fit into our traditional scoring models."

Statistics Canada's most recent data states from 2010 to 2020, nearly 3,000 incidents of human trafficking reported by Canadian police services, with Ontario experiencing the second highest rate of human trafficking among the provinces. Ontario averaged 2.3 incidents per 100,000 people compared to a national average of 1.4 per 100,000. Nova Scotia has the highest rate at 6.3 incidents per 100,000.

Bill 41 is in its first reading at Queen's Park where it was carried. The Bill was first introduced by Collard in March 2022 as Bill 99, during the 42nd parliament.

Listen to the full interview with Sue Hutchinson on The Sam Laprade Show below.


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