Banks and federal credit unions
The Bank Act is the primary legislation governing banks and federal credit unions in Canada. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is responsible for administering sections of the Act designated as consumer provisions, in addition to monitoring the financial institutions’ compliance with voluntary codes of conduct and public commitments. 1
The complete text of the Act can be found on the Department of Justice Canada’s website. For your convenience, we have also extracted the specific sections related to consumer provisions.
Sections related to consumer provisions:
- (a) Paragraphs 157(2)(e) and (f), sections 273.1 and 413.1, subsection 418.1(3), sections 439.1 to 459.5, subsections 540(2) and (3) and 545(4) and (5), paragraphs 545(6)(b) and (c), subsection 552(3) and sections 559 to 576.3 of the Bank Act together with any regulations made under or for the purposes of those provisions;
- (a.1) sections 992 to 1003 of the Bank Act as those sections apply to any notice, document or other information that is required under the provisions referred to in paragraph (a).
Bank Act Regulations
- Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations
- Access to Funds Regulations
- Complaints (Banks, Authorized Foreign Banks and External Complaints Bodies) Regulations
- Cost of Borrowing (Authorized Foreign Banks) Regulations
- Cost of Borrowing (Banks) Regulations
- Credit Business Practices (Banks, Authorized Foreign Banks, Trust and Loan Companies, Retail Associations, Canadian Insurance Companies and Foreign Insurance Companies) Regulations
- Deposit Type Instruments Regulations
- Disclosure of Charges (Authorized Foreign Banks) Regulations
- Disclosure of Charges (Banks) Regulations
- Disclosure of Interest (Authorized Foreign Banks) Regulations
- Disclosure of Interest (Banks) Regulations
- Disclosure on Account Opening by Telephone Request (Authorized Foreign Banks) Regulations
- Disclosure on Account Opening by Telephone Request (Banks) Regulations
- Electronic Documents (Banks) Regulations
- Mortgage Insurance Disclosure (Banks, Authorized Foreign Banks, Trust and Loan Companies, Retail Associations, Canadian Insurance Companies and Canadian Societies) Regulations
- Negative Option Billing Regulations
- Notice of Branch Closure (Banks) Regulations
- Notices of Deposit Restrictions (Authorized Foreign Banks) Regulations
- Notices of Uninsured Deposits Regulations (Banks)
- Prepaid Payment Products Regulations
- Prescribed Deposits (Authorized Foreign Banks) Regulations
- Prescribed Deposits (Banks without Deposit Insurance) Regulations
- Prescribed Products Regulations
- Principal Protected Notes Regulations
- Prospectus (Federal Credit Unions) Regulations
- Public Accountability Statements (Banks, Insurance Companies, Trust and Loan Companies) Regulations
- Registered Products Regulations
Voluntary codes of conduct
- Canadian Bankers Association’s Code of Conduct for Authorized Insurance Activities (PDF)
This code outlines the banks’ standards for branch employees selling credit, travel and personal accident insurance. It deals with training, disclosure, promotion practices, customer privacy protection and complaints procedures.
- Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Debit Card Services
This code of conduct is designed to protect Canadian consumers who use debit card services. It outlines industry practices as well as the responsibilities of and consumers and the industry in relation to debit card transactions and liability.
- Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada
This code applies to debit and credit card networks and their participants. It outlines payment card networks operators’ responsibilities for providing information, flexibility and choice to merchants.
- Code of Conduct for Federally Regulated Financial Institutions: Mortgage prepayment information
The Code of Conduct is designed to ensure that enhanced information is available to assist borrowers in making decisions about mortgage prepayment.
- Canadian Bankers Association’s Model Code of Conduct for Bank Relations with Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (PDF)
The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) has developed a code of conduct model that states minimum standards for banks dealing with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The code outlines the banks’ responsibilities when it processes loan or credit applications by small and medium-sized businesses. Each bank develops and applies its own code to the business activities it conducts with SMEs. However, all bank codes include the key elements of the CBA model.
- Principles of Consumer Protection for Electronic Commerce: A Canadian Framework
These principles are intended to guide the actions of businesses, consumers and governments in Canada in developing a consumer protection framework for electronic commerce over open networks, including the Internet. The framework also clarifies the responsibilities associated with the service.
- Canadian Bankers Association: Commitment to Provide Information on Mortgage Security (2014) (PDF)
This public commitment sets out the nature of the information about mortgage security that banks will provide to consumers shopping for a mortgage to obtain funds for the purchase of a residential property, and when they will provide that information, so that, before finalizing their choice of product, consumers have enough information to understand the implications of their choice.
- Canadian Bankers Association: Commitment on Powers of Attorney and Joint Deposit Accounts (2014) (PDF)
This public commitment sets out the information about Powers of Attorney that banks will make available to clients who want to give someone else the authority to do banking for them. The Commitment also sets out information that the banks will make available to their clients about joint deposit accounts.
- Canadian Bankers Association: Commitment on Modification or Replacement of Existing Products or Services (2012)
This public commitment outlines the procedures for banks to follow when they modify or replace existing personal products or services. It excludes optional products and services as defined by the Negative Option Billing Regulations.
- Fraud protection
Several organizations and institutions have made formal commitments to protect consumers from the unauthorized use of their credit card. These commitments outline consumers’ liability in relation to fraudulent transactions on their credit card.
- Low-cost and no-cost accounts
Several Canadian banks committed to enhance their low-cost bank accounts and offer no-cost accounts with the same features as low-cost accounts to a wider range of eligible consumers. No-cost accounts will be available to youth, students, seniors qualifying for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and Registered Disability Savings Plan beneficiaries. This will ensure that Canadians have access to affordable banking services.
For more information, see FCAC’s page entitled Choosing a bank account.
- Canadian Bankers Association’s Guidelines for Transfers of Registered Plans (PDF)
A commitment outlining the maximum amount of time that banks may require when transferring a registered savings plan (RSP) containing deposit type instruments, mutual funds or securities between financial institutions.
- Canadian Bankers Association: Online Payments (PDF)
This public commitment outlines consumer and industry responsibilities related to the use of online payment systems in Canada. A process for dealing with disputes is included in the commitment.
- Canadian Bankers Association Commitment: Plain-Language Mortgage Documents
This document reflects the Canadian Bankers Association member banks’ commitment to improving the understandability of residential mortgage documents.
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