The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) derives its mandate from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act. The Act outlines our functions, administration and enforcement powers, and lists the sections of federal laws and regulations under our supervision.
FCAC has eleven objectives as set out by the FCAC Act:
- to supervise federally regulated financial institutions to ensure that they comply with federal consumer protection measures that apply to them, with undertakings relating to the protection of customers as defined in legislation, and with directions from the Minister of Finance
- to promote the adoption by financial institutions of policies and procedures designed to implement consumer protection measures, voluntary codes of conduct and financial institutions’ public commitments designed to protect the interests of customers
- to monitor federally regulated financial institutions to ensure that they comply with voluntary codes of conduct and respect the public commitments they have made to protect the interests of consumers and merchants
- to promote consumer awareness of the obligations of financial institutions to financial consumers and of all matters related to protecting consumers of financial products and services
- to foster consumer understanding of financial services and related issues in cooperation with government bodies, financial institutions, consumer groups and other organizations
- to collaborate and coordinate its activities with stakeholders to contribute to and support initiatives to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians
- to monitor and evaluate trends and emerging issues that may have an impact on consumers of financial products and services
- to supervise payment card network operators to determine whether they are in compliance with the provisions of the Payment Card Networks Act and its regulations
- to promote adoption by payment card network operators of policies and procedures designed to implement provisions of the Payment Card Networks Act and its regulations
- to monitor implementation of voluntary codes of conduct adopted by payment card network operators and any public commitments they make regarding their commercial practices relating to payment card networks
- to promote public awareness about the obligations of payment card network operators under a voluntary code of conduct or the Payment Card Networks Act.
As a regulatory agency, FCAC can exercise its enforcement powers to ensure that federally regulated financial entities comply with the consumer provisions of the various federal acts relating to financial services, including:
- the Bank Act
- the Insurance Companies Act
- the Trust and Loan Companies Act
- the Co-operative Credit Associations Act
- the Green Shield Canada Act
- the Payment Card Networks Act
- the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act.
In cases of contravention or non-compliance with legislation, we notify the federally regulated financial entity of a violation. We may also, depending on the severity and frequency of the problem:
- seek a commitment from the financial entity to remedy the issue within a short time
- impose a monetary penalty
- impose criminal sanctions
- take other actions as necessary.
FCAC reports to the Minister of Finance on the Agency’s activities and the legislative framework for consumer protection. In addition, each year FCAC prepares an annual report for Parliament. It describes:
- the Agency’s operations
- the performance of federally regulated financial entities in complying with consumer and merchant protection provisions
- the procedures that federally regulated financial entities have in place for dealing with complaints
- the number and nature of complaints that have been brought to the Agency’s attention.