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As of February 1st, the first credit freeze legislation in Canada to fight fraud is Quebec’s Credit Assessment Agents Act also known as Bill 53 (Loi sur les agents d’évaluation du crédit). The Act allows Quebecers to place a credit freeze on all forms of credit under their name. 

The Act is a preventative measure to protect individuals from identity theft, and debt from illegal access to credit products like loans. The new credit freeze will be available through the two major credit score reporting agencies, Equifax and Transunion. Here is how it will impact you. 

How Bad Is The Credit Fraud Problem in Canada?

According to a cyber security study by Cyberlands, 2020 saw an 11% increase in the frequency of security breaches. 

Canadians rank 13th in the world when it comes to security measures against cyber attacks. However further studies showed that by 2021, 85% of Canadian companies had been the target of cybercriminals. 

As more and more Canadians move online for everyday purchases and banking needs, security measures against cyber fraud are necessary. At the moment, only Canadian consumers in Quebec have the ability to enact a credit freeze through the major credit bureaus. 

As for the rest of Canada, Ontario briefly considered similar measures. However, further legislation came to a haul during the 2018 provincial elections. At the moment, no other province is in the process of creating similar preventative laws against cyber fraud. 

Canada’s New Credit Freeze Act: What Does It Mean?

As of February 1, 2023, consumers in Quebec can place, suspend, or revoke a credit freeze on their Transunion and/or Equifax consumer credit reports. 

When you activate a credit freeze, any new or additional credit products and services will be blocked. If you already have an open credit account, either a line of credit or a credit card, a temporary credit freeze will allow you to temporarily stop any further increases or withdrawals. 

The credit freeze applies to all businesses and lenders operating in Canada, however, the service is only available for individuals residing in Quebec. 

Under the new credit freeze, you will have two different options:

  • Credit Freeze: Stop any attempts at opening new or additional credit products and services under your identity.
  • Credit Lock: Stop any attempts at a credit report evaluation for the purpose of opening new or additional credit products and services under your identity.

How Will The Credit Freeze Impact Canada’s Consumers?

You may be wondering how the new credit freeze act will affect security breaches and identity theft. Consumers who place a freeze on their account through Equifax and Transunion will find that any new credit file or product will be prohibited. 

For example, let’s say personal information like your Social Insurance Number (SIN) or name and address have been released in a data leak. Under the act, cyber thieves who try to use your data for credit contracts will be unable to do so unless personally approved by you through the credit bureau. 

This will affect contracts or requests including:

  • Entering into a credit contract
  • Credit card increases
  • Credit extensions (e.g. increasing a credit card limit, extending a line of credit)
  • Long-term contract for a lease of goods (e.g. a car loan)
  • Long-term contract involving sequential performance (e.g. financing products like cell phones or furniture).

Can Anyone In Canada Place A Credit Freeze?

Canadian consumers in Quebec will be the sole individuals allowed to place, suspend or remove a credit freeze. This process is done through your Equifax and/or TransUnion accounts.

Credit freezes will be able to be managed online. Those who may need temporary access may also do so for certain applications. Moreover, you can place a credit freeze on certain family members.

What Do You Need To Prove You Are The Account Holder

To pass verification you must have a current Quebec residential address and account with Transunion and Equifax Quebec.

How To Protect Your Credit Account In The Rest of Canada

More Canadians rely on the internet today than ever before, from filing taxes online to shopping.  protecting yourself from identity theft becomes increasingly important. Luckily, Quebec has made a landmark step toward protective and preventive measures.

However, a Canada-wide credit freeze is not available. One way to achieve this is by contacting your local municipal representatives. If you want to keep up to date with your credit score and credit activities as a personal preventative measure against fraud, we recommend you visit our CompareHub platform. 

Through CompareHub, you can view your Equifax credit profile in real time, ensuring that any suspicious activity or decrease in your credit score can be tracked and detected right away. 

Read more about protecting yourself from identity theft and safeguarding your credit score. 

FAQs About Bill 53 in Canada

If I activate my account in Quebec but move elsewhere in Canada – will I still be able to place a credit freeze?

No. Unfortunately, credit freezes are currently only available in Quebec. Of course, if you are only traveling for a short period of time, your access will not be revoked. 

Will I be charged a fee for placing a credit freeze?

No, you will not be charged for placing a credit freeze. 

Will a credit freeze impact my credit score?

No, a credit freeze can not affect your credit score. 

How fast will a credit freeze come into effect?

According to Equifax and Transunion, a credit freeze on your credit file can happen in real time. However, it may in some cases take up to one hour.
Maidina Kadeer, BA avatar on Loans Canada
Maidina Kadeer, BA

Mai Kadeer is a graduate of Concordia University, with a BA in English Literature, with a minor in Law and Society. Mai was a student strategist on the Concordia University Senate (2016), through the Academic Planning and Priorities committee. She has a background in financial budgeting as a board member for non-profit organizations, such as the Quebec Public Interest Research Group and the Concordia Food Coalition. For the past five years, Maidina has worked as a content specialist. Mai is passionate about helping Canadian consumers with financial management and literacy so they can make informed decisions regarding their personal finance.

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