How FCAC handles your complaint

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

FCAC supervision of federally regulated entities

As a federal government agency, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) investigates complaints about federally regulated financial institutions. These include banks, federal credit unions, authorized foreign banks, insurance companies and trust and loan companies.

FCAC also investigates complaints about external complaints bodies (ECBs) and payment card network operators (PCNOs).

FCAC doesn’t supervise provincially regulated credit unions, finance companies, mutual fund dealers and securities dealers. FCAC does not supervise any financial institutions that fall under provincial jurisdiction. 

Find a list of provincial and territorial regulators.

Types of complaints FCAC deals with

Federally regulated financial institutions must comply with certain obligations when they deal with consumers. For example, when opening a bank account or providing information that is clear, simple and not misleading.  These are known as market conduct obligations.

FCAC investigates complaints about financial institutions that relate to possible breaches of market conduct obligations. This can include a breach of a law, regulation, code of conduct or public commitment. Any consumer can file a complaint about a federally regulated financial institution with FCAC at no cost.

Contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

FCAC is responsible under the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada (the Code) to monitor issues raised by merchants. FCAC also monitors the implementation of the Code by PCNOs and supervises the PCNOs to determine whether they're in compliance with the Payment Card Network Act and its regulations.

Learn more about merchant questions and dispute resolution in the credit and debit card industry.

Matters that FCAC does not deal with

FCAC does not handle complaints that involve certain elements, such as the following examples: 

  • the pricing of products, such as service fees, credit card charges, insurance premiums, or the quality of the service you received
  • lending policies
  • billing errors
  • other general service issues 

These issues fall under your financial institution’s policies. In these cases, you should deal directly with them by using their complaint-handling process.

You might not be satisfied with the resolution your bank (including federal credit unions) or authorized foreign bank offers. In that case, you may take your complaint to the ECB the bank is a member of.

You might not be satisfied with the resolution your trust and loan company or insurance company offers. In that case, you can take your complaint to the independent complaint-handling organization they are a member of.

If you can’t find your financial institution’s complaint-handling process or experience any delays using it, contact FCAC. Keep in mind that FCAC does not resolve individual disputes and does not provide redress or compensation. 

Find the complaint-handling process for your financial institution. 

What to do before contacting FCAC

In most cases, you should first try to resolve your complaint directly with the financial institution, ECB or PCNO you are dealing with. To do this, you must follow their complaint-handling process. When contacting FCAC, make sure you have all the details of your complaint on hand.

How FCAC reviews complaints

FCAC will ask for details about your complaint to help determine if it falls within its jurisdiction. The details will also help to assess whether it involves a possible breach of market conduct obligations.

FCAC will review your complaint to determine whether the financial institution, ECB or PCNO has met its market conduct obligations.

As part of FCAC’s role in supervising these entities, an FCAC employee may contact the entity to discuss your complaint. When it's unclear if the entity has complied with one of its market conduct obligations, FCAC may request additional information from you in writing. FCAC may also request additional information from the entity. 

Once the review is complete, FCAC's actions will depend on its findings. If the entity hasn’t met its obligations, FCAC will use its enforcement tools and powers outlined in the Supervision Framework to address the non-compliance.   

Why FCAC is interested in your complaint

FCAC reports to Parliament on the types of complaints it receives and the performance of federally regulated financial institutions in meeting their obligations. It also monitors and evaluates trends and emerging issues that may have an impact on consumers of financial products and services.

Learn more about your financial rights and responsibilities.

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