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Canadians Need to Complain More - and More Effectively

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 04 June 2002 00:00

Do you find it difficult to get satisfaction when you are not happy with the service or goods you have paid for? Do you often let your complaint go unresolved because you don't know where to start when it comes to writing a complaint letter?

The Complaint Courier may be just the support you need to make your point when faced with bad service or faulty products related to real estate or any other aspect of life. This online step-by-step prompter takes you through the complaint process to ensure your rights are protected. The Letter Wizard provided is ideal for those who are intimidated by putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard and formalizing their complaint. In a fill-in-the-screens format, this guide helps you draft a compelling complaint letter.

The Complaint Courier is part of the Canadian Consumer Information Gateway (CCIG) located at . The CCIG is a federal government online initiative that includes over 35 federal government departments and agencies, as well as more than 250 provincial and territorial partners. These organizations have teamed up to create a unique partnership designed to promote Canadian consumer interests and awareness.

A growing number of selected Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have joined this cooperative venture to further assist Canadian consumers.

The Gateway is an attempt to make it easier for Canadians to navigate the maze of government services and programs and find the right information and answers to a wide range of consumer issues. The government authorities decided that "a multi-agency information portal was needed to improve public access to all levels of consumer information services" and the Canadian Consumer Information Gateway was born.

Looking for reliable, up-to-date information on issues ranging from housing, finance, health, child care, and transportation to consumer services and manufacturing standards? The Gateway is a great starting point. Information is stored by jurisdiction (federal, provincial, territorial) and by topic. If you want information on tenant rights, home builder responsibilities, service contracts, mortgage lending practices, renovation scams or a wide range of other consumer concerns, the government assures us "the Consumer Gateway now provides the most comprehensive Canadian consumer data collection available anywhere."

Whether you use keyword or full text searches or browse the collections by topic, document title or key word, you will be able to use this "single-source window" to access information from the diverse consortium of information sources without having to surf through a number of sites to do so.

Partner organizations maintain their own information by remotely publishing their collections to the government's databases, so their information is easily up-dated.

If you'd like to make a complaint against a federally-regulated financial institution, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada may be another valuable resource to call on. The federal government established this agency to "protect and educate consumers of financial services" by acting as a national regulatory agency for federally-incorporated institutions including banks, insurance companies, trust companies, loan companies and cooperative credit associations. Since the financial services sector, including mortgage financing, represents 5% of Canada's gross domestic product, which makes it second only to the manufacturing sector, many feel this regulatory move was long over due. FCAC may be contacted online or through its toll-free, Canada-only number (866) 461-3222.

Complaints help improve services and goods -- and governments. Don't be shy about making your objections or thoughts known to the companies that serve you and the governments you elect. Without consumer feedback, we'd still be faced with shoddy practices like negative billing by cable companies.

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