COVID-19: Statement from the FCAC Commissioner

April 1, 2020

During these unprecedented times, FCAC has been in regular contact with banks and other regulated financial entities, and we are working together to protect the health and well-being of employees, consumers and our communities.

As Canada responds to the COVID-19 crisis, FCAC is maintaining its operations to protect financial consumers. Our role is to ensure that financial institutions comply with their legislated consumer protection obligations and uphold the codes of conduct and public commitments that they have made.

FCAC will be monitoring the commitments that banks and other regulated entities are making to accommodate the financial hardships of consumers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we are providing unbiased, fact-based information to help Canadians make informed financial decisions during this challenging period through a dedicated web page. This is a troubling and difficult time for many Canadians and FCAC will be there to help protect financial consumers.

Despite considerable disruptions and pressure on their operations and employees, banks and other regulated entities are demonstrating leadership and a strong commitment to ensuring that consumer services remain available. I encourage all banks and regulated entities to ensure that consumers have access to financial services at a reasonable cost and with the safety and security that Canadians have come to expect. I also expect banks and regulated entities to prioritize access for vulnerable groups who are more likely to be impacted by branch or office closures, such as seniors, low-income and rural households and people with disabilities.

Consumers also have a role to play. Many of the people who are most affected by branch or office closures also have challenges using digital tools. For this reason, consumers should use telephone banking with care so that these services can be available to those most in need. Finally, I urge consumers to be vigilant about fraudulent activities, such as requests for personal information.

As we collectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, FCAC is committed to continuing to work hand-in-hand with our federal and provincial partners, banks and regulated entities, as well as stakeholders, to support and protect financial consumers.

Judith Robertson
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

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