Quebec’s finance minister wants to introduce a bill that would allow consumers to be able to freeze their credit files.
According to a new report from CBC, Finance Minister Éric Girard said Wednesday that the bill could allow citizens to ask credit agencies to prevent their files from being consulted, also known as a credit freeze or credit lock.
“You have been victims of identity theft and you want to stop all transactions under your name,” Girard said in a press briefing. “You install a lock. There won’t be any more consultations of your credit file without your consent. And the consent would be given by you, with the help of your phone: you give consent, you take consent away. It’s additional protection imposed by Equifax following the data breach in the United States, and we don’t have that here in Canada.”
Girard explained that Quebec is the only Canadian province that doesn’t have such legislation. “It’s in [the credit industry’s] interest to offer the best services to Quebecers,” said Girard.
The bill, explains Girard, would set standards that credit bureaus like Equifax and Transunion would have to comply with in order to continue operating in the province, including the ability for consumers to freeze their credit files at a moment’s notice.
Two months ago, the Desjardins data breach revealed the personal data — including social insurance numbers — over 2.7 million individual members, which was then shared with a third party by an employee. Girard’s bill hopes to protect consumers’ credit files in such an event.