427 Laurier Ave. W., 6th Floor
Ottawa ON K1R 1B9
Subject: Complaint procedures and FCAC’s compliance framework
I am writing to you to request certain information about your insurance company, and to review some of your obligations as a federally regulated financial institution (FRFI).
On October 24, 2001, legislation came into force creating the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to oversee compliance by federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs) with their statutory obligations related to the consumer provisions that are contained in the legislation.
FCAC also monitors compliance with the voluntary codes of conduct and public commitments that your institution has put in place, which are designed to protect the interests of your customers.
In addition, FCAC promotes the adoption of best practices designed to implement compliance with the consumer provisions, and provides consumers with information about financial products and services, and about their rights and responsibilities as Canadian consumers.
Since your institution’s governing legislation contains a requirement to file a copy of your detailed complaint-handling procedures with FCAC, I would ask you to provide us with a copy of these procedures. It also requires that these procedures include a third-party dispute resolution body or mechanism to mediate complaints that remain unresolved by the institution.
I would also request that you provide FCAC with a one-paragraph summary of your complaint-handling procedures outlining the specific steps consumers can take to have their complaints resolved. We will post this summary on our Web site. Our call centre will also use this summary to assist consumers by informing them of complaint-handling procedures they should follow for your institution, and by directing them to the right point of contact in your institution, or to your third-party dispute resolution body or mechanism.
In order to establish and maintain an effective working relationship with your institution, I am enclosing a number of reference materials that I believe will be helpful to you, such as an up-to-date list of telephone numbers for FCAC staff, and a list of the consumer provisions that FCAC oversees.
FCAC’s Compliance Framework outlines how the Agency works with the FRFIs to ensure that institutions respect the consumer provisions that apply to them. To implement this framework and help us deal with matters of common interest, FCAC requires a list of the appropriate contact people in your organization; in particular, the names, titles, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of the staff who are responsible for the following functions.
Complaint liaison and compliance liaison
FCAC compliance officers contact complaint and compliance liaison staff in cases where corrective action may be required to address compliance issues that involve a possible violation of a consumer provision, or possible non-compliance with an industry voluntary code of conduct or public commitment.
Self-reporting of second-level complaints
The Compliance Framework requires institutions to report to FCAC any consumer provision complaints that have been escalated to the second level of their complaint-handling process. Institutions must forward a report on these types of complaints to FCAC within 60 days after the complaint is received at the second level. They must report complaints even if they have been resolved.
As outlined in the Compliance Framework, a reportable complaint is “a complaint involving a consumer provision, or an FCAC-targeted code of conduct or public commitment that has been received by or forwarded to the designated reportable level, or higher, of the financial institution’s complaint-handling process”.
The reportable level of a financial institution is one level higher than that which usually handles and makes operational decisions about the subject at hand. The reportable level may vary from one institution to the other. The FCAC officers who are responsible for ensuring compliance with the consumer provisions need to be advised of any potential compliance issues in a timely manner so that they can start working with the financial institution on corrective measures, as quickly as possible.
Please provide us with an organization chart that shows the various line positions included in your complaint-handling process, so that we can more easily identify the levels of responsibility involved, at each stage.
FRFIs must inform FCAC promptly of any changes to their complaint-handling procedures or to their contact people.
Please provide the information requested in an electronic format that is compatible with Microsoft Word and e-mail it to: compliance@FCAC.gc.ca, or send it by regular mail to:
Compliance and Enforcement Branch
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON K1R 1B9
For any questions, or to discuss any comments you may have about this letter, you may also call us toll-free at 1-866-461-3222, or call us at 613-996-5454, and ask to speak to one of our compliance officers.
For more information about FCAC, including the Commissioner’s decisions on the Agency’s compliance cases, I invite you to visit our Web site at: www.FCAC.gc.ca. You can also find detailed information about the consumer provisions for all of the FRFIs on our Web site at:
Thank you for your co-operation.