Oil and Gas Ombudsman

This morning, New Democratic Party of Canada MP Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain) introduced legislation that will allow ordinary Canadians to hold oil and gas companies to account for unfair gas pricing.

"The Oil and Gas Ombudsman would be charged with providing strong, effective consumer protection to make sure no big business can swindle, cheat or rip off hard-working Canadians," said Charlton. "I've heard over and over again from people who feel they are getting hosed at the pumps. And they are right."

Last week, a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that gas companies were overcharging consumers between 15 and 27 cents on the litre.

"It's not fair, and it's not right," Charlton said. "It just doesn't pass the nod test that on long weekends, prices go through the roof, or that companies' prices climb in the same direction at the same speed".

"Currently, people can only complain to each other about being gouged at the pumps, with no one in their corner to take on big oil and gas," Charlton said. "My bill creates a meaningful vehicle for having those complaints taken seriously, with mechanisms for investigation and remediation to help consumers fight the squeeze."

Bruce Cran, President of the Consumer's Association of Canada, indicated his support for the legislation.

"We've been inundated with calls from irate consumers who know they are getting a raw deal, and still, successive governments have done nothing," said Cran. "Clearly, the federal government is failing to stand up for consumers. MP Charlton's Bill would fix that."

Charlton's Bill would establish an Office of the Oil and Gas Ombudsman to investigate consumer and business complaints relating to the practices of major oil and gas suppliers.

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