Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to discuss how our government continues to lower costs for businesses and consumers and in that process update this House on all that our government has done on this subject in recent years.
We do understand that Canadians are tired of hidden fees. That is exactly why we introduced the code of conduct for the credit and debit card industry in Canada.
The code was launched in 2010 to promote fair business practices and ensure that merchants and consumers understand the costs and benefits associated with credit and debit cards. At the same time, Canadian banks understand that they operate in a highly competitive environment and that they must be prepared to respond to the specific and often changing needs of Canadian consumers.
Canadians work hard for their money. That is why our government believes that Canadians deserve to keep more of that money in their own pockets. That is why we have taken action to improve low cost accounts and expand access to no cost banking services to protect consumers and save even more money for Canadians.
In this spirit, in May 2014, the government secured voluntary commitments from Canada's eight largest banks to enhance low cost bank accounts and offer no cost accounts with the same features as low cost accounts to a wider range of eligible consumers.
What does this mean? As a result no cost accounts are available to youth, students, seniors qualifying for the guaranteed income supplement, and registered disability savings plan beneficiaries.
Banks also committed to provide free monthly printed credit card statements to their customers. This action fulfills a 2013 Speech from the Throne commitment to expand no cost basic banking services as well as an economic action plan 2014 commitment to enhance access to basic banking services.
Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, just this past April the government released an update to the code of conduct for the credit and debit card industry in Canada, delivering on a commitment made in 2014 to help make life more affordable for Canadians and entrepreneurs.
Consumers will also benefit from a new requirement that requires credit card issuers to disclose to consumers who apply for premium credit cards that the use of these cards results in higher merchant fees.
Finally, let me again remind the member that banks have already made a commitment to the federal government that they will not charge customers for bills when money is owing. To spell it out, banks have voluntarily already promised to end pay-to-pay fees.
With this knowledge and the fact that the NDP has refused to support any of our measures, not a single one, to support small businesses, on top of all our measures to protect consumers, I find it remarkable and very hard to believe that all of a sudden the NDP is actually concerned about helping consumers at this point in time.