Your banking rights and new protections
Protections for bank customers
Under federal laws and regulations, banks must comply with many consumer protections. These protections help make sure Canadians have access to basic banking services and are treated fairly in their dealings with banks.
They include your right to:
- open a personal account at any bank with proper identification
- cash a Government of Canada cheque for free at any bank with proper identification
- receive clear and simple information that’s not misleading about products and services
- get products and services for which you’ve provided express consent
- have your issues resolved through a bank’s complaint-handling process
New and enhanced protections for bank customers
Since June 30, 2022, you now benefit from new and enhanced protections when dealing with your bank. The protections are part of Canada’s new Financial Consumer Protection Framework (the Framework) that applies to banks, authorized foreign banks and federal credit unions.
The new and enhanced protections include:
- additional and timely information to help you with decision-making, such as:
- new electronic alerts
- advance notice when it’s time to renew products and services
- separate agreements for optional products and services
- higher standards for bank sales practices, such as:
- offering or selling products and services that are appropriate for your financial needs
- getting your express consent for all products and services
- broader protections against providing false or misleading information
- broader protections against taking advantage or applying undue pressure
- resolving customer issues:
- more effective and timely complaints handling
- requirement to provide refunds and credits (redress)
- increased limit for cashing a Government of Canada cheque
- whistleblowing program for bank employees
Canada’s new Financial Consumer Protection Framework
In 2018, the Government of Canada adopted legislation to modernize the Financial Consumer Protection Framework in the Bank Act. The Framework introduces new and enhanced protections to protect your banking rights and interests. The new and enhanced protections took effect on June 30, 2022.
The legislation also provided the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) with new powers to better protect you in your dealings with banks. FCAC’s new powers came into force in April 2020. They include the power to:
- impose a penalty of up to $10 million on banks per violation of their legal obligations
- direct banks to take actions to comply with their legal obligations
- direct banks to undergo a third-party, independent audit to comply with their legal obligations
The Framework addresses issues raised by FCAC in its reviews of banks. The reviews highlighted key areas where consumers of bank products and services could be better protected, and where the oversight of banks could be strengthened.
The Framework is also based on extensive consultations with stakeholders across Canada.
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