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Giving Gift Cards This Holiday Season

Archived News Release

Giving Gift Cards This Holiday Season

Mcguinty Government Reminds Consumers To Shop Smarter

Ministry of Consumer Services

Gift cards are a convenient and popular gift this holiday season and Ontario has taken important steps to protect consumers by banning expiry dates.

Here's what you should know before you buy:

  • Expiry dates on gift cards issued on or after October 1, 2007 are banned.
  • Fees or deductions from a gift card's value are banned.  
  • Expiry dates on mall gift cards issued as of September 1, 2008 are banned and there are limits on administrative fees.

There are some exceptions - expiry dates and/or administrative fees may still apply to:

  • Loyalty cards used to collect rewards or points or cards subject to federal jurisdiction, such as prepaid phone cards and credit card branded gift cards.  
  • Cards and certificates redeemable for specific services, such as massages, manicures or dinner for two, even if a dollar amount is specified on the card.

Quick Facts

  • Eighty-two per cent of Canada's largest retailers offer gift cards.
  • Canadians spend about $1.26 billion on gift cards during the holiday season.
  • Effective October 1, 2007, Ontario no longer allows expiry dates on gift cards.

Additional Resources


“Consumers in Ontario enjoy stronger protections when it comes to gift cards. Smart consumers are good for business and I encourage holiday shoppers to learn more about gift cards - and to remember to use them.”

Harinder Takhar

Minister of Small Business and Consumer Services



Business and Economy Consumers