Information on Marketplace Legislation for Business and Consumers
The Credit Reporting Act
The Credit Reporting Act sets out what information credit reporting agencies are allowed to collect, who can provide that information to them, who can use credit reports, and what the reports can be used for. The Act applies to reports made on individual consumers.
A credit report is a one that contains a "snapshot" of an individual’s credit history and/or the individual’s personal information. These reports are often used by lenders, insurers, employers, businesses, landlords, and voluntary non-profit organizations to assess one’s credit, health or behavioral worthiness.
The collectors and distributors of credit and personal information are generally private businesses. In Saskatchewan, a credit reporting agency must be licensed and is governed by The Credit Reporting Act.
By definition (pursuant to The Credit Reporting Act):
1. A “credit report” means any written, oral or other communication by a credit reporting agency of credit information, personal information, or both, pertaining to a consumer.
2. A “credit reporting agency” means a person who provides credit reports:
(i) for gain or profit; or
3. “Credit information” means the following information about a consumer:
(i) the consumer’s name, age, marital status and number of dependents;
(A) the educational and professional qualifications of the consumer;
(v) the consumer’s income or estimated income, paying habits, assets and outstanding debt obligations, including cost of living obligations;
4. “Personal information” means information about a consumer’s character, reputation, health, physical or personal characteristics and mode of living, but does not include credit information;
When are credit reports requested?
Applications for employment, insurance, credit, loans, rental accommodation and contractual arrangements that are based on periodic payments (such as on-going monthly product purchases, gym memberships, apartment rentals, home alarm contracts, cell phone contracts, etc.) often may include a clause in the contract or application authorizing a credit report to be obtained. Agreeing to such clauses means credit and personal information is acquired from and uploaded to credit reporting agencies without further notice to the individual. Carefully read forms or applications before signing them.
Consent or notice required
Section 19 of the Act states:
19 (1) No person shall request or obtain a credit report for a purpose mentioned in clause 17(1)(a) unless:
(a) the consumer has provided his or her consent;
(b) the person:
(i) provides written notice to the consumer that a credit report will be obtained; and
(2) The consent mentioned in clause (1)(a) may be obtained by any method that permits the person to produce evidence that the consumer consented, including prominently displaying the information respecting the consent in a clear and comprehensible manner in an application for credit, insurance, employment or tenancy.
The Act places limits on the kinds of information that a credit reporting agency can include in a credit report and who can receive and use that information. For example, a credit report cannot include the following information:
Under Saskatchewan's legislation, no one can get your credit report without:
Denials based on your credit report
20(1) If a user of information contained in a credit report denies a benefit in whole or in part to a consumer, or increases the cost of the benefit to the consumer, as a result of information contained in a credit report respecting that consumer, the user shall provide written notice to the consumer of the denial or increase.
(2) The user of information must give the notice mentioned in subsection (1):
(a) within 30 days after making the decision; and
(3) If the consumer makes a written request to the user within 60 days after receiving the notice, the user of the information must provide the consumer with the name and address of the credit reporting agency that provided the credit report.
(4) The notice mentioned in subsection (1) must advise the consumer that the consumer can make the request mentioned in subsection (3).
Release of personal information is restricted
A credit reporting agency is allowed to release or reveal the information in your file or give a credit report but only:
Right to Review
You have the right to review your files and to be told whether the information has been given to anyone. You also have the right to have the information contained in your credit report explained to you and to make copies of that information. A credit reporting agency is not allowed to require you to sign a waiver or release before you can see your file.
You can contact any credit reporting agency, at no cost, to request a copy of your credit report. Two major agencies in Canada are:
See also FCAA411 as there are more than 10 such reporting agencies (2016).
Statement of dispute
If you disagree with the accuracy or completeness of any information in your credit report, the credit reporting agency must investigate. If the agency finds that the information is incorrect or cannot be confirmed, it must update or remove the information and notify you and every person who has been given your credit report in the previous 12 months of the changes, unless you request that notification not be given.
If the credit reporting agency determines that the file information is correct, you can file a statement of dispute and the agency must then add this statement to your file. The statement will be shown every time someone requests information from your credit file. In addition, the credit reporting agency must provide a copy of the statement to anyone who received your credit report in the past 6 months, unless you request that a copy of the statement not be provided.
If the Registrar is of the opinion that any information contained in a file of a credit reporting agency is inaccurate, incomplete, or does not comply with this Act or the associated regulations, the Registrar may make an order doing any or all of the following:
(a) directing the credit reporting agency to amend or delete any information in the file;
(b) restricting or prohibiting the credit reporting agency from using any information in the file;
(c) directing the credit reporting agency to provide notice of any amendment, deletion, restriction or prohibition made pursuant to clause (a) or (b) to any person who has received a credit report.
There is other legislation that offer personal information protection. These include the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and the provincial acts: The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and The Health Information Protection Act. For further information on these two provincial acts visit https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/accessing-health-care-services/your-personal-health-information-and-privacy