The Credit Reporting Act defines what information credit reporting agencies are allowed to collect, to whom that information can be provided and for what purposes the reports can be used. By limiting the information a credit agency can include on a credit report, the act works to guarantee the privacy of Canadian citizens.
Credit Reporting Agencies
Credit reporting agencies are private, licensed businesses that retain and provide credit information, which can be released on request to employers, banks and other businesses. Activities are overseen by the attorney general’s office, who also holds the right to revoke a company’s license if they fail to comply with regulations set by the Credit Reporting Act.
Reports issued by credit reporting agencies may not contain information about bankruptcies, imprisonments or judgments more than six years past their discharge, payment or release date. Any current court actions or judgments are not to be included unless the current status, amount in question and the name of the lender are included.
All credit holders are entitled to a copy of their credit history, which can be obtained at no cost by contacting one of two major reporting agencies.
Equifax Canada 1-800-465-7166 www.equifax.ca
Trans Union of Canada 1-800-663-9980 www.tuc.ca
Disputes and Investigations
If a consumer disagrees with the accuracy of a report, the agency must, by law, investigate. If any information is found to be incorrect, the agency must correct the inaccuracy, as well as contact every person who has received a copy of the report within the last 12 months, unless the consumer specifies otherwise. If no mistakes are found, a statement of dispute can be filed with the report, which will be provided anytime a person requests a copy of credit history.