FCAC was established in 2001 under the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act. We were established to consolidate and strengthen oversight of consumer protection measures in the federally regulated financial sector, and to expand consumer education. While some consumer protection activities existed previously, they were dispersed among various federal bodies.
FCAC’s creation was one in a series of initiatives resulting from an extensive period of study and public consultation on financial sector reform.
The five-year process was launched in December 1996 with the establishment of the Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector. In September 1998, the Task Force presented the federal government with its report, Change, Challenge, Opportunity (known as the MacKay Report). One of the Task Force’s findings was that “the current framework for consumer protection is not as effective as it should be in reducing the information and power imbalance between institutions and consumers.” The Task Force Report was reviewed by two parliamentary committees, which held public consultations across the country and presented their own recommendations.
What emerged through this process was a broad consensus on ways to improve the sector. In June 1999, the government released a policy paper, Reforming Canada’s Financial Services Sector: A Framework for the Future, containing 57 reform measures. Among them was a proposal to create a financial consumer agency to oversee consumer interests and improve consumer protection. Legislation to implement the reform package was passed on June 14, 2001. For more information, visit the Department of Finance’s Web page on financial sector reform.
On July 11, 2010, amendments to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act came into effect and further expanded FCAC’s role. Specifically, the amendments provided that:
The Bank Act was also amended on July 11, 2010, to provide a framework enabling federal credit unions. As a result, any credit unions that choose to be regulated federally will be subject to FCAC supervision and monitoring in relation to the provisions in the financial institutions statutes that apply to them.