For more than seventy years, CAC Manitoba has served as the trusted voice of the consumer interest in Manitoba. Marketplace monitoring through price reviews, participation in regulatory hearings, and policy research and promoting consumer rights through education services and publications have resulted in beneficial public policy changes as well as significant financial savings for individuals and households. Beginning with a small group of volunteers and a consumer help line hosted in a volunteer’s home, monitoring milk and grocery prices and the quality of pre-packaged food played a big part in the work of the volunteers in the decade following the Second World War.
As awareness of consumer’s rights grew, so did the demand for services and the need for a permanent space. In 1970 the first consumer night class was held and in 1975 the first resource centre was opened in Winnipeg on Portage Avenue. Until 2017, CAC Manitoba maintained a consumer help line and a public resource centre. During the 1990s, the consumer Infomobile delivered consumer information and environmental education to schools, rural communities and at summer festivals.
“In unity there is strength.” This was the motto of CAC’s first meeting held in
Ottawa with the representatives of 16 national women’s organizations and it
helps to shape our work today. For example, collaboration with other not-for-profit organizations and consumer engagement helped to bring about changes to the costs of borrowing charged by alternative lenders and to policies that address the affordability issues of utility rates and telecommunications costs for vulnerable consumers.
Throughout its history, CAC Manitoba also worked in partnership and consultation with industry and government representatives. In
1983, CAC Manitoba hosted industry and government representatives at the
first of several annual RRSP forums for consumers. CAC Manitoba has for
many years participated in public regulatory hearings on a variety of topics
including utility rates, automobile insurance and environmental sustainability.
Today, a significant portion of our work is in consumer issues research,
particularly where it affects vulnerable consumers.