Consultation on a proposed Guideline on Whistleblowing Policies and Procedures for Banks and Authorized Foreign Banks

Current status: Open

This consultation is open. All submissions should be received by January 29, 2022.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) invites comments on a proposed Guideline on Whistleblowing Policies and Procedures for Banks and Authorized Foreign Banks (Guideline) in support of the implementation of the new Financial Consumer Protection Framework (FCPF) in the Bank ActThe FCPF introduces new or enhanced consumer protection measures that will further empower and protect consumers in their dealings with banks and authorized foreign banks (Banks).

The Guideline sets out clear principles and expectations that Banks should use when developing their employee whistleblowing policies and procedures to ensure that they are effective, easy to access, understand and use, and that they protect employees who report wrongdoings from retaliation and keep their identity confidential.

The consultation will give all interested parties an opportunity to express their views and enable FCAC to benefit from a wide range of perspectives.

This is the third in a series of consultations on guidelines that FCAC has developed to help Banks comply with their obligations in the Bank Act and the new Financial Consumer Protection Framework Regulations, which will come into force on June 30, 2022. 

A first consultation on a proposed Guideline on Complaints Handling Procedures ended on December 11, 2021. A second consultation on a proposed Guideline on Appropriate Products and Services is in progress until January 6, 2022.

How to participate

FCAC invites all interested parties to submit their comments by email to FCAC.Consultation.ACFC@fcac-acfc.gc.ca or by using the following form.

FCAC will also accept written comments by mail or fax at:

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Supervision and Enforcement Branch
427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th floor
Ottawa, ON K1R 1B9
Fax:  613-941-1436

FCAC may wish to quote from or summarize your submission in its public documents and post all or part of it on its web pages on Canada.ca. We may revise submissions to remove sensitive information. If you would prefer that FCAC withhold all or part of your comments from its public documents, please indicate this clearly in your submission.

All comments received by FCAC will be subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, and may be disclosed in accordance with the law. 

Who is this consultation for

The consultation is primarily intended for the financial industry and stakeholders with an interest in consumer protection. Interested members of the public are also invited to participate.

Background

In 2017 and 2018, 2 FCAC reports highlighted key areas where legislation and regulations could better protect bank consumers and strengthen regulatory oversight. The first was an assessment of best practices in provincial, territorial and international consumer protection regimes in the Report on Best Practices in Financial Consumer Protection. The second was a review of bank sales practices in the Domestic Bank Retail Sales Practices Review.

To address the issues raised in these reports, the federal government introduced legislative amendments in 2018 to the Bank Act to create what is referred to as the FCPF. The FCPF contains new obligations on Banks to implement a whistleblowing program for their employees. In August 2021, the government published the Financial Consumer Protection Framework Regulations, which add detail and specificity to certain legislative obligations and establish the coming into force date as June 30, 2022.

Proposed Guideline

FCAC is seeking comments and feedback on the following document:

Proposed Guideline on Whistleblowing Policies and Procedures for Banks and Authorized Foreign Banks

The proposed Guideline sets out FCAC’s expectations with respect to Banks’ implementation of, and compliance with, the new whistleblowing provisions in the Bank Act, which will come into force on June 30, 2022.

The new legislative requirements introduce new measures for whistleblowing. They require Banks to establish and implement policies and procedures that:

FCAC expects Banks to review and revise their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the applicable consumer provisions under the Bank Act and applicable regulations. In addition, Banks should be guided by the principles and expectations detailed in the Guideline when establishing their employee whistleblowing policies and procedures.

Next steps

FCAC will consider all comments received and may modify the proposed Guideline, where appropriate. FCAC plans to publish an anonymized summary of comments on Canada.ca once the final version of the Guideline is released.​

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