The Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) is considering banning young people under the age of 18 from having access to a credit card.
P reoccupied by the over-indebtedness of adolescents, Lucie Lecours, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Justice (consumer protection component), believes that Quebec must question the access to credit too easy at a young age.
“This is a big question to think about. We really will wait to see what will come out of the consultations for our final idea, but yes, the ban on under 18, it could be part of the measures adopted, “expresses M me Lecours.
Although the Consumer Protection Act has undergone some changes in recent years, M me Lecours and the Minister of Justice Sonia Lebel believe it is time to give it a “new life.” A bill should be ready next fall. “It goes fast consumption and were really very concerned right now with debt,” says M me Lecours.
As a mother of two young adults, M me Lecours said he saw around her examples of young people who want to have access to credit from the age of 14. “If there is one who has been paying attention to that, it’s me. But it’s not all parents who do, who take the time to talk about the proper use of credit with their teenager. So to enshrine it in a law is an interesting avenue. ”
If she is happy that the financial education courses have returned to schools, M me Lecours worries that young adults are already facing bankruptcy or that their credit rating is affected by errors in adolescence. “When you get young, you hang out a long time. We must take concrete action. ”
Beware of forbidden
Jacques St-Amant, consulting analyst at the Coalition of Consumer Associations of Quebec (CACQ), is also concerned about youth debt. “But you have to be careful with complete bans. If you have a girl of 17 years and 9 months, who has a beautiful entrepreneurial project and who needs credit, it should also not put a spoke in the wheels, “he says.
Mr. St-Amant believes, however, that it is necessary to tighten the rules. “We must not leave the field totally open to financial institutions that want to give credit to everything that moves.”
Before writing its bill, the CAQ government asked the Office of Consumer Protection (OPC) to hold a consultation with certain organizations by April 19.
In all, 52 new measures are proposed by the OPC in a consultation document posted last week.
The document states that “credit cards will be issued to persons under the age of 18 without verification of parental consent”. The OPC suggests that financial institutions have at least the obligation to obtain the written authorization of a parent before granting a card or line of credit to a minor.
In 2011, former Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier introduced Bill 24 to “combat consumer debt overhang”. This bill, which provided for a tightening of access to credit for minors, was finally not adopted, because of the 2012 elections. Since then, nothing has moved in this direction, apart from the fact that the solicitation to sell cards or lines of credit was prohibited in the CEGEPs.
The OPC does not have statistics on the number of teenagers who have a credit card in Quebec.
The OPC’s consultation paper also explores many other credit-related topics, including car leases. M me Lecours wants to curb the “balloon loans”, which occur when a consumer has more debt on his vehicle that the market value of the vehicle.