2012 Financial Institutions Review
The government has made a number of changes to update the financial institutions statutes. Bill S-5, the Financial System Review Act, received Royal Assent on March 29, 2012. Provisions will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council. Some of these revisions will enhance consumer protection in the financial services sector. They include:
- confirming that Canadians are able to cash federal government cheques in amounts of less than $1,500, free of charge, at any bank in Canada, regardless of whether they are customers or not
- increasing the maximum penalty for a violation of a consumer provision, consistent with penalties for other violations under financial institutions statutes
- providing for consistent regulation-making authority across the consumer provisions applicable to federally regulated financial institutions
- clarifying the supervisory authority regarding the oversight of the use of electronic documents
- clarifying that bank affiliates are subject to all consumer provisions applicable to banks
- providing limited testimonial immunity to the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, as well as their employees and agents, to enhance operational efficiencies and protect the confidentiality of information in working with financial institutions to achieve compliance.