Statement from NDP Consumer critic Glenn Thibeault on credit card ruling

With their decision today, the Competition Tribunal dismissed a complaint from major Canadian retailers against credit card processing fees and handed the file back to the government to take action to better protect consumers and small businesses.

The Tribunal found evidence of anti-competitive behaviour in the marketplace that hurts our economy and distorts business decisions but made clear that it’s up to the government to deal with this through stronger regulation.

As Consumer Affairs critic for the NDP, I hear daily from consumers and small businesses about how the current onerous system of credit card fees leads to higher prices for Canadians and smaller profit margins for small businesses.

We look forward to carefully studying the full ruling, once it is released. New Democrats remain committed to ensuring a competitive marketplace. We believe it is wrong that Canadian businesses face the highest merchant fees of all major economies. Exorbitant fees squeeze small businesses and affect business decisions, harming job creation and discouraging research and development. As a result, all Canadians are forced to pay higher prices and the Canadian economy suffers.

The Tribunal has clearly placed responsibility for fixing this problem on the government, unfortunately Conservatives have refused to take strong action and have instead relied on weak voluntary requests that have failed to protect consumers.

The NDP has long advocated changes to merchant fee regulations. We call on the government to now start putting consumers first and work with us to better protect consumers and small businesses.