Under new legislation tabled by Quebec Justice Minister Kathleen Weil, there will no longer be expiry dates on gift cards.

The new legislation ensures that gift cards will not gradually lose their value over time.

In some cases, companies choose to deduct an amount from a gift card's balance if the card is not used within a certain time frame.

Weil said the new law is necessary because the conditions attached to gift cards have been unfair to consumers.

"That gift card that you buy today is really like cash, and it will have no more expiry date," Weil said.

The legislation and regulations take effect next July, but the gift card provisions cover this year's Christmas shopping, Weil added.

Cell phone contracts

Weil also plans to tackle the issue of cell phone companies charging consumers exorbitant fees for cancelling three-year contracts.

Three-year contracts are often attractive to consumers because the cost of buying a phone is significantly cheaper than going with a shorter-term deal.

"If you want to pull out of that contract early at this time, the penalties are very, very onerous. We're going to bring in a regulation that limits the penalty to the cost of the phone," Weil said.