Claudette Boyer, MPP Statement, Second Reading Debate

…I will support this bill on the understanding, as I've said before, that this is just a first step, that we have to go along with other amendments and review the bill…So this is a start. It's a start in the right direction. I think this bill is really better than nothing.

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The Legislative Assembly of Ontario
May 17, 2000

Member of Provincial Parliament Statement
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Mrs. Claudette Boyer, MPP

Hansard Reporting and Interpretation Services
1st session, 37th Parliament

Orders of the Day
Second Reading Debate

FRANCHISE DISCLOSURE ACT, 1999
Consideration of Bill 33, An Act to require fair dealing between parties to franchise agreements, to ensure that franchisees have the right to associate and to impose disclosure obligations on franchisors

CLAUDETTE BOYER, MPP

Mrs Claudette Boyer (Ottawa-Vanier): C'est avec plaisir que j'apporte mes commentaires au projet de loi 33. I would like to share my time with the member for Kingston and the Islands, the member for Eglinton-Lawrence, the member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and the member for St Catharines.

The final consensus reached by the standing committee on regulations and private bills was that the franchising legislation should go forward with the provision that it is not nearly as extensive as we might have liked. The obligation of the franchisors to provide complete disclosure documents-that is,
pre-sale information-and the right for the franchisees to associate are surely a first step in the right direction.

We really cannot deny the fact that legislation in this field is desperately needed. After hearing the testimonials of people who lost their life savings and went through many hardships, it became clear to other members of the committee and myself that something had to be done. Through these public hearings we were all made aware of the difficulties encountered by many who had been involved in franchises. The number of presentations that brought to light serious problems allows me to conclude that these were not isolated incidents. Constituents, franchisees and potential franchisees approached us with their concerns and they really wanted this bill to go ahead.

The franchisee is induced to rely on the trust that he or she places in the franchisor's sales associate. This bill now increases the obligation on the franchisor to disclose pertinent information such as all material facts, all financial statements and copies of all agreements relating to the franchise. This bill also allows for an evaluation of the contents of the disclosure.

Je crois que le message clair et précis qu'apporte l'obligation de divulgation du franchiseur apportera sûrement au franchisé l'information nécessaire pour prendre une décision éclairée par rapport à son investissement. Ceci lui permettra d'acheter une franchise non pas avec son coeur mais avec sa tête.

Let the franchisee now buy a franchise not with their heart, but with their head.

Les amendements adoptés à l'unanimité par le comité ont donné un peu plus de mordant à ce projet de loi. J'ai bien dit au début de ma présentation que ce projet de loi était un premier pas.

[French to English translation by Google: I think the clear and precise message brought by the disclosure requirement of the franchisor to the franchisee will surely bring the necessary information to make an informed decision in relation to its investment. This will allow him to buy a franchise, not with his heart but with his head.

Let the franchisees now buy a franchise not with their heart, but with their heads.

The amendments adopted unanimously by the committee gave a little more teeth to this bill. I said at the beginning of my presentation that this bill was a first step.]

Although this bill brings us a step forward, I really believe we have to give it a little bit more teeth. The second step should be post-sale legislation that would really regulate the relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee once the franchise has been sold and an agreement has been signed.

What we need is a central registry in order to allow potential franchisees to cross-reference disclosure documents. That is a necessary step that must be undertaken in future legislation.

We need to clarify and define the meaning of "fair dealing." We need to establish the right of franchisees to acquire goods and services independently and locally under certain conditions. This bill needs to promote the local economy.

We also need to strike out the exemption for crown corporations. We need to establish a franchise registry. We need an alternative dispute resolution in order to alleviate the stress on an already overburdened legal system.

Yes, with a few changes this legislation can reach the objective of protecting consumers without affecting the professional and honest businesses.

This was my first experience going through public hearings as an MPP. When people would ask me, "Come on, listen, what did you learn from these public hearings?" I was tempted to answer: "Well, the answer is, do I really want to buy a franchise now? Would I really get enough protection? Would I get the protection needed?"

All these Liberal amendments, the needs that I think should be there, should be enacted in due time, most certainly in a second step of legislation. They are very necessary components of good franchising legislation. I do, however, recognize that franchising is important to the economy of this province. This is an important portion of the Ontario labour market. Unfortunately, I think this bill does not lay out any specific penalties for franchisors who fail to abide by the terms of this legislation. In light of all this and the great financial strains that franchise agreements impose on franchisees, let's hope that this will be looked into.

This is how I feel about this, and being on that committee and having said that there was unanimous consent, I will support this bill on the understanding, as I've said before, that this is just a first step, that we have to go along with other amendments and review the bill. Of course the franchisees really wanted this bill to pass right now because of a lot of impending court settlements to be done. So this is a start. It's a start in the right direction. I think this bill is really better than nothing.

I would pass on now to the member for Kingston and the Islands.

This document is a verbatim copy of this MPP’s speech. To review the original transcript:
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?Date=2000-05-17&Parl=37&Sess=1&locale=en

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Office of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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