In 2006 Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs funded a study on Credit Counselling in order to ensure that the consumers were well served and to reduce the risk of fraud or conflict of interest.
The report, issues in November 2006, noted that The Credit Counseling Industry was unregulated and it raised concerns that there are no standards of expertise and experience required of the people counseling consumers. The report observed that anyone can claim to be a qualified to advise consumer – whatever the training and expertise he or she may (or may not) possess, thus leaving consumers vulnerable.
The report also concluded that some not-for-profit counselors may not provide the consumers with all of their financial options as they may have a bias toward solutions that bring in funding via commissions or donations from creditors and that organizations offering budget counseling may face a difficult balancing act as they seek to maintain complete independence vis-à-vis creditors and the need for funding.
A Credit Counsellor is a person who provides financial guidance to individuals that have financial problems. Anyone can use that title. Credit Counsellors are generally not regulated, they are not required to abide by a Code of Professional Ethics, and no minimum specific financial knowledge is required. There is no legal certification, training or governing body that regulates Credit Counsellors in Canada.