Nova Scotia Collection Act Changes for 2021
It looks like other provinces are following British Columbia and Ontario’s lead, and following with legislative changes to allow email notices for mandatory initial collection letters.
The new law, originally introduced in 2012 (?!) has finally passed. It was proposed as Bill 107 under the name “Debt Collection and Management Reform (2012) Act”, and it comes into effect May 1st, 2021. The final act isn’t available in PDF form, but here’s the proposed wording that will come into force.
The Proposed Act Changes: https://nslegislature.ca/legc/bills/61st_4th/1st_read/b107.htm
The Updated Regulations: https://www.novascotia.ca/just/regulations/regs/2021-005%5bA%5d-CA-Collection_and_Debt_Management_Agencies.pdf
The new act clearly identifies a “contact[ing] by telephone, personal call, or electronic means” as a contact attempt, and now adds the specific limitation of three contact attempts in a seven-day period.
In the regulations, it now allows the initial collection notice to be sent by email. Nothing specific about privacy, shared email addresses, etc, so caution should still be exercised, and I discussed this point in an earlier blog when Ontario rolled out allowed email collection notices.
“In clause 20(1)(f) of the Act, “written notice” includes a notice sent by e-mail”
It also specifically calls out new limitations for contacting employers, unless to confirm employment, or get a debtor’s address or telephone number, and only one contact is allowed.
Another interesting clause is a collection agency must inform a consumer of changes to reporting a debt to the credit bureau. It’s not clear if a pre-emptive collection notice might count (eg. “your file will be reported to the credit bureau within 7 days if not paid”), or what they mean by a change of status – so if a file is closed with an agency, does that mean a notice has to go out stating it’s been reported to the bureau as closed?
“A holder of a collection agency licence who has reported a debt to a consumer reporting agency must inform the consumer reporting agency of any change in the status of the account within 35 days of the change in status.”
As well, calls to consumers on specific holidays are now called out as prohibited -- New Year’s Day; Nova Scotia Heritage Day (the 3rd Monday in February), Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Natal Day (the 1st Monday in August), Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
If you would like to read more about the further changes, our blog has more of the details!