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Collection Agencies

Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations

VISION To promote a fair, safe and informed marketplace which supports a competitive economy in Ontario.

There are many reasons people don't pay their debts —financial setback, poor repayment habits, overspending or sometimes they're just not happy with a product they bought.
Whatever the reason, it's important to communicate with the person who is owed money. When creditors understand the problem, chances are they will work out a reasonable, manageable way for the consumers to repay debts.
On the other hand, consumers who don't cooperate with their creditors may find their accounts turned over to collection agencies.

What is a collection agency?

A collection agency is an organization that obtains or arranges for payment of money owed to a third party; this could be a person or a company.

Why do businesses use collection agencies?

Collection agencies provide a service to businesses that:

How do I deal with collection agencies?

If you've been notified in writing that an account has been turned over to a collection agency, don't panic. The agency isn't in business to make life unbearable for you—its management just wants to collect the money you owe its client.

What should I do?


If I feel I'm being treated unfairly by a collection agency, what can I do?

The Collection Agencies Act sets out a code of ethics for Ontario's collection agencies.
Ontario's consumer ministry worked with the industry to put this law into place to be sure all collection agencies and collectors follow the same set of rules. The public also has a better understanding of what collection agencies can and can't do. The regulations forbid collection agencies from:


Collectors are not, generally, allowed to contact a debtor's friends, employer, relatives or neighbors for information other than the debtor's telephone number or address. The only exceptions are contacting a person about a debt they've guaranteed to pay for the debtor or contacting an employer about payment connected with a wage assignment or a court order, or to confirm employment.
If you believe any of the above regulations have been breached by a collection agency, contact the head of the agency. If you're still not satisfied, contact the ministry at (416) 326-8555 or 1-800-268-1142.

Financial problems?

If your financial problems are out of control, expert advice in solving them is available. Credit-counselling services for consumers are offered by provincial and local governments, various community groups and credit-granting organizations.
More than 25 counselling services are available throughout Ontario to help people arrange orderly and convenient repayment of their debts. Check your telephone directory for a credit-counselling service office near you.

Be an informed consumer

The Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations has published a number of other booklets covering a wide range of consumer topics.
For further information or to obtain copies of the ministry brochures call or write to:
General Inquiry Unit
Ministry of Consumer arid Commercial Relations
250 Yonge Street
Toronto ON MSB 2N5
(416) 326-8555 1-800-268-1142 (416) 326-8566 - TTY (Telephone for the deaf)
Ministry web site: We 'd like to hear from you.
Cette publication est egalement disponible en francais sous le titre Guide du consommateur sur les agences de recouvrement.
@ Ontario
ISBN 0-7778-4862-7 Rep 02/99-2M-2E