Gift cards and  loyalty programs 

Things to know

  • With limited exceptions, gift cards cannot have an expiration date, and consumers cannot be charged 

usage, dormancy or other fees.

  • Key exceptions to the prohibition on expiration dates include gift cards issued for promotional 

purposes (e.g., the consumer did not pay for the gift card), or issued for a specific good or service.

  • Any restrictions, limitations and conditions must be printed on the card.

  • Some provinces require the issuer to provide a cash refund of an unused balance on the gift card in certain circumstances.

  • The term “gift card” is defined broadly in provincial consumer-protection legislation, and includes physical and electronic gift cards, certificates, vouchers, and other devices.

  • Certain provinces also regulate points earned pursuant to loyalty programs, and also impose 

limitations on the ability of the issuer to expire the reward points.

  • The term “points” is defined broadly to prevent circumvention of the legislation.

  • Similar to the gift card legislation, there are certain exceptions from the prohibition on the expiration of points, including points issued for a specific good or service.

  • Ontario’s legislation requires an issuer to re-instate points that expired between October 1, 2016 and  January 1, 2018, subject to certain conditions.

Things to do

  • Ensure that you fully disclose any permissible usage limitations and fees to the consumer 

prior to purchase.

  • Ensure that your gift card provides all disclosure required by the gift-card legislation.

  • Refrain from having your gift card expire unless an exemption applies. 

  • Re-instate points that were expired in contravention of the legislation.

Canada Company Registration

Company Formations Canada offers fast and easy company registration in Canada for non-Canadian residents and foreign companies wishing to operate and do business in Canada.

Register a new company in Canada as a non-Canadian resident

Register a foreign company in Canada

Canada Registered agent services for foreign companies and non-Canadian residents.

Canada Nominee director services for foreign companies and non-Canadian residents.

Shared from: Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt llp Publication

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