May 8, 2018 09:45
Jacques St-Amant, analyst at the Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Québec, François Décary, president of consumers Union and Christian Corbeil, director-general Options for Consumer | Photo : Denis Méthot
Bill 141 has been the subject of a shot group from a number of organizations and individuals who have demanded its withdrawal, pure and simple, on Monday. The first salvo came early in the afternoon on behalf of three groups involved in the protection of consumers, the Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Quebec, Option consommateurs andUnion des consommateurs. They have called for the abandonment of the bill and invited all stakeholders who share their concerns to join at their request, during a press conference at which the Log of the insurance attended.
«We head to the rushed adoption of a draft law which would be detrimental to consumers and which may also have a negative impact on the entire financial sector and the economy of Quebec «, has supported the president of consumers Union, François Décary.
«It appears to us impossible and certainly not desirable to attempt to examine what has not yet been seen in the little time that remains. It will give bad results, and a recipe for chess announced, » added Jacques St-Amant, analyst at the Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Québec.
A message heard
The message has been heard and taken up. In the hours that followed, the most important brokerage firms, independent insurance of the province, theAssociation of professional advisers in financial services (APCSF), former ministers Rosaire Bertrand and Alain Paquet, the Chamber of damage insurance (ChAD) and the Chamber of financial security (FSB) have claimed in turn to the withdrawal of this large room legislative controversial.
The brokerage firms insurance and investment have joined their voices to those of the opponents. On account of the financial Group Horizons, the Groupe financier Multi Courtage, Mérici Services Financiers and the financial services firm MICA. In a joint statement, they claim that bill 141 will give more powers to the financial institutions and will reduce to the silence the 33,000 professional advisors members of the Chamber. They repeat that the bill will be detrimental to the groups of the brokerage are independent, use one-half of the population of Quebec.
Too little time for consultations
As have alleged the Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Quebec, Option consommateurs and Union des consommateurs, the brokerage firms and the APSCF consider that the consultations conducted by the minister of Finance Carlos J. Leitão have been too short and too limited. Major stakeholders involved were able to express themselves, what they denounce still today.
«Despite the fact that it represents 12 000 professionals, the APCSF did not even have the right to take part in the brief consultations on invitation of the filing of the bill, despite repeated requests. A few groups have been able to benefit from a range of 10 minutes to give their opinion. It is too little, » said to turn Flavio Vani, president of the association.
All of these groups recognize the need to modernize the financial sector, but they believe that the haste and pressure with which the government seeks to carry out this operation will be to the detriment of consumers and major industry players.
Before members of the press gallery in Quebec city, François Décary recalled that the draft of act 141 contains more than 2,000 articles and key a sixty laws, a dozen of which are reworked in depth, or entirely replaced. According to him, the parliamentary calendar is already too tight to swallow a piece too big.
While the Committee on public finance has examined barely one-fifth of the bill, nearly 80 amendments have already been carried out to date, and the elect have not yet addressed the more complex issues and more difficult, and then there is just six weeks before the adjournment summer, and that the same Commission should in principle consider other bills that the 141.
The time lack
«It appears clearly impossible to examine carefully all the issues raised by the bill in the calendar and make good decisions with regard to hundreds of items that remain to be examined «, judge Mr. Décary.
«We don’t have the time and the stakes are too substantial to bâcle the work. It is unthinkable that one of the most impressive projects in the history of the parlementarisme québécois will be adopted in haste. The withdrawal of the draft law requires that we have the time to make a thorough examination of all the issues in-depth that it raises. «
Among these issues, there is the obligation of advice of the representatives certified by the insurance, the processing of complaints, the disappearance expected of the two Chambers and the return of the insurance of funeral expenses, abolished it thirty years and that consumer associations do not want to.
They also fear that consumers who provide online will not be sufficiently protected if their purchase form has not been filled in properly. When the industry has spent millions to provide technological solutions to sell insurance online, it is feared, it will be difficult to take a step back.
«To adopt bill 141 as it is now would ensure that, in some cases, to reduce the current consumer protection. In other areas where it would be necessary to increase it, we do nothing, » said Jacques St-Amant. This last said find it unfortunate that the bill has been tabled so late in the parliamentary timetable and questions on the support it enjoys from the government.
«By looking at the list of parties in favour and those against the project of law, we note that the major financial institutions are all in favour of, and organizations concerned about the public interest have the most reservations. There may be players who have more ability to argue their point of view (from the government) than others. «
The three organizations are aware that the withdrawal of the draft law 141 means that he will die on the order paper and that it will need to repeat the process with a new government after the elections, which will take place last fall. This, therefore, is not before 2019 or 2020, a new version could be adopted and be implemented.
They agree, however, that the present bill contains major advances that would have deserved to be adopted in order to better regulate certain practices or certain products, such as selling insurance online. But, between complete abandonment and a rushed adoption, they still prefer the withdrawal and recovery process even if it results in a very long time.
In any case, they argue, in some respects, the draft act 141 is already late compared to the european legislation in the same field and they would see in this report an opportunity for the government to redo its homework.
A consultation of the whole
«We should take a consultation of a whole that help to define a coherent reform inspired by the best international practice and that would protect adequately the public,» added François Décary. This consultation has not taken place prior to the filing of the bill (…). It seems to us to be imperative, therefore, to step back to better move forward after that. «
Even if the draft law is likely to disappear due to lack of time on the calendar before the summer recess, and therefore before the next provincial election, the consumer groups would prefer that the minister withdraws himself.
The case Desjardins
They agree, however, that an aspect of bill 141 should be adjusted quickly.
The agencies believe that the aspect of the Desjardins group could be the subject of a separate draft law and targeted that can be adopted during the current parliamentary session, in order that Québec complies with the invitation made in 2014 by the international monetary Fund. The legislative text is already written, it would be sufficient to extract the bill to proceed to its adoption by the suspension of the work of the parliament in mid-June, they say.
In favour of the maintenance of the Rooms
Interviewed by the Journal of insurance, representatives of the three groups of consumers were in favour of maintaining the Room property and casualty insurance and the Chamber of financial security.
«The consumers’ associations of Quebec have almost always asked that there are two levels of checks : at the level of companies and corporations that offer these products, but also at the level of ethics, individuals. Therefore, we are in favour of the maintenance of the Rooms, » responded François Décary.