Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gift-card rules expected in spring

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OTTAWA -- Ottawa is moving ahead with new regulations on so-called prepaid credit cards, but not in time for the holiday shopping season.

A source says the federal government will bring in an array of regulations governing prepaid cards, including an end to expiry dates and a prohibition on charging maintenance fees for the first year.

The cards, often given as gift, will also need to clearly display all fees and conditions associated with their use on their exterior packaging.

However, government sources say the effective date for the new regulations won't be until May.

The new rules build on a proposed regulations suggested by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty last fall.

The announcement is expect to be made in Ottawa today by junior finance minister Kevin Sorenson and by Maxime Bernier, the minister of state for small business, who will also launch public consultations for a new financial consumer code.

The government envisages a 12-week process, which will then be used as the basis for cross-country roundtable discussions on how to protect consumers in the field of financial services.

The Harper government has made protection of the consumer a key plank of its agenda leading up to the 2015 election campaign.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 3, 2013 B6

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