Statement from FCAC on the publication of independent evaluations of external complaints bodies
September 1, 2022
Statement from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) in response to the publication today of independent evaluation reports on external complaints bodies:
"Impartial and effective complaint handling is an important contributor to consumer protection and enhances consumer confidence in financial institutions and the financial system.
“In accordance with the requirements of the Bank Act, the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO) and the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) published the final reports of independent evaluations of the discharge of their respective functions and the performance of their activities. The reports make recommendations for the improvement of both external complaints bodies (ECBs), while noting the improvements that each one has made to their processes since the last review. The reports conclude that OBSI met and exceeded regulatory standards, and that ADBRO was substantially compliant with regulatory standards.
“FCAC thanks the independent evaluators, Professor Poonam Puri and Dina Milivojevic, for their work in conducting these evaluations of ECBs. FCAC will review the conclusions and consider the recommendations, as part of its role in overseeing ECBs and complaint handling by financial institutions.
“Enhancing consumer protections, including effective complaint handling, is an ongoing process. FCAC supports the federal government’s announcement in Budget 2022 to establish a single, non-profit ECB to address consumer complaints involving banks. This proposed change is in the best interest of Canadians and addresses findings from FCAC’s 2020 report on the Operations of External Complaints Bodies.
“Consumer protection is enhanced when Canadians have access to a fair and effective process to address unresolved complaints with their banks. FCAC is committed to working closely with its stakeholders to protect financial consumers and advance their rights and interests, including those related to complaint handling."
- Report: Independent Evaluation of ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO)
- Report: Independent Evaluation of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)
- The role of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is to protect financial consumers by strengthening the financial literacy of Canadians and supervising the compliance of federally regulated entities, including banks and external complaints bodies (ECBs), with their legal obligations, codes of conduct and public commitments.
- ECBs are organizations that are independent from financial institutions and are mandated to provide a free and impartial review of customer complaints that are referred to them about banking services and products. All banks must be a member of an ECB.
- In accordance with the Bank Act, ECBs are required to submit to an evaluation of the discharge of their functions and the performance of their activities every five years. These evaluations must be conducted by third parties and follow terms of reference established in consultation with the FCAC Commissioner.
- In 2018, the Minister of Finance asked the Commissioner of the FCAC to review the complaint handling processes in banking and the effectiveness of Canada’s ECBs. In February 2020, the FCAC published its findings on ECBs entitled The Operations of External Complaints Bodies.
- Budget 2022 announced the government’s intention to introduce targeted legislative measures to strengthen the external complaints handling system and to put in place a single, non-profit, external complaints body to address consumer complaints involving banks.
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
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