Today is a momentous day for victims current and past stuck in a broken franchise system in British Columbia. Today at 1:30pm the government of BC will put forward the long-awaited Franchise Act put forth by Carole James on May 13th, 2015 now gets its second reading.
We should be very careful not to give full credit to Coralee Oakes, though. If it were not for the prodding and pushing of Carol James and Adrian Dix, it is doubtful that this bill would have moved forward so quickly, or, possibly at all.
Will this end the pain forever for franchisees? Of course not. Franchisees will always be in a lower position of power under their Franchisor, but that is more than acceptable if the Franchisor is ethical and gives a duty of fairness to their ‘partners’.
It is not by coincidence that almost every other Canadian province has enacted the legislation. It may have taken a long time and lot more victims along the way, but now, finally, a Franchisee will have a chance to right some wrongs as well as make a much better investment for his/her family.
What are the implications for current Franchisees stuck in the system? For some it will make their stores more difficult to sell, no doubt. They may have prospective buyers come across truths about the Franchisor during the disclosure process that will make them flee. But is that any worse than handing off the pain to yet another victim? Over the long term, this is the necessary change to stop the abuse.
What are the implications for current Franchisors? For those who are already operating in provinces like Ontario, this will be ‘business as usual’ with a few tweaks. For those who have been operating only in BC and under the dark cloak of invisibility and hiding behind their top lawyers and beating down their victims with unbeatable legal bills so they can continue their wicked ways – starting today their day will get very difficult and very uncomfortable.