Financial Consumer Agency of Canada publishes industry guideline to help protect Canadians with existing mortgages

News release

July 5, 2023

Ottawa, Ontario

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) protects Canadians by supervising the compliance of federally regulated financial entities, such as banks, with their legislative obligations, codes of conduct and public commitments, and by strengthening Canadians’ financial literacy.

In response to the challenges facing consumers in the current economic environment, FCAC has published a Guideline on Existing Consumer Mortgage Loans in Exceptional Circumstances. The guideline sets out how FCAC expects federally regulated financial institutions to provide tailored support to consumers with mortgages on their principal residence who are experiencing severe financial difficulty.

Today’s economic environment is characterized by high household debt, increased cost of living and higher interest rates. As a result, some mortgage holders are at risk of not keeping up with their regular payments. 

According to FCAC’s research, a growing number of Canadians are struggling to keep up with their financial commitments. A key finding is that a growing number of homeowners with a mortgage are at risk of experiencing financial hardships, such as having to increasingly borrow for daily expenses or draw on savings.

FCAC’s guideline is based on best practices in financial consumer protection and centred around the principles of fairness, appropriateness and accessibility for Canadian consumers. It will assist financial institutions to adopt fair and consistent approaches when they offer relief measures to consumers who are at risk of defaulting on their mortgage for their principal residence.

For an overview of the guideline and examples of FCAC’s expectations on federally regulated financial institutions, please consult this backgrounder.

FCAC’s Guideline on Existing Consumer Mortgage Loans in Exceptional Circumstances took effect on the date of its publication (July 5, 2023).


“FCAC’s guideline will help protect Canadians with mortgages who are experiencing severe financial stress, and make sure they are treated fairly and consistently in their dealings with their financial institutions. FCAC recognizes the positive actions that many financial institutions are taking to assist their customers during challenging times. FCAC’s guideline builds on these practices. It outlines FCAC’s regulatory expectation that financial institutions contribute to the protection of financial consumers by proactively working with their mortgage customers who are at risk to provide appropriate and tailored relief measures, based on individual needs and circumstances.”

Judith Robertson, Commissioner, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • As set out in FCAC’s Supervision Framework, guidelines establish best practices and standards that FCAC expects regulated entities to incorporate within their business operations.  

  • FCAC’s Guideline on Existing Consumer Mortgage Loans in Exceptional Circumstances builds on a communication to industry in October 2022, which set out FCAC’s expectations that financial institutions monitor and address potential hardships for consumers, specifically for those with variable rate mortgages. 

  • Consultations are part of FCAC’s standard practice in developing guidelines and enable FCAC to benefit from a wide range of perspectives. FCAC received 36 submissions from industry, stakeholders and members of the public on the guideline. FCAC will publish an anonymized summary of comments received during the consultations. 

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