Public notice calling for applications for single external complaints body for banking
Call for applications
An external complaints body (ECB) deals with consumer complaints made to banks that have not been resolved to the satisfaction of the person making the complaint or that have not been dealt with within a period of 56 days of their receipt. When dealing with complaints, an ECB must comply with the obligations set out in the Bank Act (Act) and the Financial Consumer Protection Framework Regulations (Regulations).
The Federal Government has introduced the Budget Implementation Act, 2023, No. 1 (BIA 1), of which Part 4, Division 1 is designed to strengthen Canada’s external complaints handling system for banks, and to designate a single, not-for-profit body corporate to be the sole ECB in Canada (Single ECB).
Since 2015, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has overseen ECBs' compliance with their obligations. FCAC will leverage this substantial expertise to lead the selection process for the single ECB and calls on bodies corporate who are incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (or under a provincial statute equivalent to that Act), and who are interested and able to serve as the Single ECB, to submit an application.
FCAC is committed to conducting an open, fair, and transparent application process. It will review the applications and make a recommendation to the Minister of Finance, who is responsible for designating the Single ECB.
The Single ECB must be accessible, accountable, impartial, and independent, and it must discharge its functions and perform its activities in a transparent, effective, timely and fair manner. The application must clearly articulate how the applicant meets these requirements and, in particular:
- meets the obligations set out in the Act and Regulations as they would apply further to the amendments proposed in BIA 1;
- meets the reporting obligations set out in Parts 4 and 6 of FCAC’s Mandatory Reporting Guide for ECBs;
- conforms to FCAC’s expectations and addresses the findings set out in its Industry Review: The Operations of ECBs (February 2020), insofar as these expectations and findings would apply to the operations of the Single ECB;
- addresses the findings and recommendations set out in the most recent independent third-party, 5-year evaluations of ECBs (available here: Report 1 (PDF) and Report 2 (PDF)), insofar as these findings and recommendations would apply to the operations of the Single ECB; and
- conforms to the recommendations, principles and standards for banking and financial ombudsperson services published by the World Bank (Fundamentals for a Financial Ombudsman (PDF) and Good Practices for Financial Consumer Protection), the G-20 OECD Task Force on Financial Consumer Protection, and the International Network of Financial Services Ombudsman Schemes, insofar as these recommendations, principles and standards would apply to the operations of the Single ECB.
The applicant must address each of the requirements in (a) through (e) above and include specific examples of readiness based on its governance structure, resources, policies, and procedures that enable it to effectively serve as the Single ECB. The supporting evidence should include the following:
- the applicant’s terms of reference, which describe its mandate as the Single ECB, as well as the purpose and scope of its operations;
- all internal policies and operating procedures that the applicant will rely on to meet its obligations as the Single ECB; and
- the applicant’s:
- financial resources (e.g., to support its ongoing and long-term operations);
- technological resources (e.g., to record data, report to FCAC and keep confidential information secure); and
- human resources (e.g., to investigate and handle complaints).
Finally, the application must also include the following identification and corporate information in relation to the applicant:
- the English and French names by which it proposes to operate and the location of its head office;
- financial statements relevant to the operations of the Single ECB;
- the name, position and contact details of its contact person(s);
- up-to-date and complete copies of its constating documents (e.g., its articles of incorporation and by-laws) that:
- confirm its eligibility as a not-for-profit body corporate; and
- clearly identify the individuals and entities that own and control the applicant (e.g., its members), and who are responsible for supervision and decision-making in relation to its operations (i.e., its directors);
- an up-to-date corporate organisation chart that clearly identifies reporting lines for senior positions, key responsibilities within the organisation and a description of the functions that the identified individuals will perform; and
- information about any relationship or dealings that a director may have with any bank that may give rise to an actual or perceived conflict of interest (if applicable).
Note: Applicants must ensure that their application package is complete and contains all the information and documents that they would like FCAC to consider. In reviewing applications, FCAC reserves the right to consider any and all information and documents that it considers relevant, no matter the source. This information can include, for example, FCAC supervisory analysis on ECB matters, as well as information regarding complaint handling obtained from third parties.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is Monday June 26, 2023. Applicants must submit their application to FCAC electronically, via email to applications.OETP-ECB@fcac-acfc.gc.ca. All attachments should be in PDF format.
FCAC will issue a confirmation email once an application has been received.
During its review of applications, FCAC may request additional information from applicants.
All queries regarding the application process should be directed to applications.OETP-ECB@fcac-acfc.gc.ca.
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