All banks, and trust, loan, insurance companies, and retail associations that are federally regulated (or that are incorporated at the federal level) must have a complaint-handling process in place for individuals and small businesses.
This process details how a customer may make a complaint, and it must be available in all branches of the institution, on its website, and must be sent in writing to anyone who requests it. Each organization's complaint-handling process is also filed with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).
If you have a complaint or a problem with a federally regulated financial institution, you can take the steps outlined below to resolve it. The steps must be followed in order, and you should take notes during each step of the process so that you have a record of your conversations and progress in case you are asked.
For more detailed information on your own financial institution's complaint-handling process, use FCAC’s complaint handling process search tool, or call us toll-free at: 1-866-461-3222.
First, try to resolve your problem by dealing directly with the manager or customer service representative of your financial institution. This would involve speaking with branch staff or the branch's local representative, or someone at their call centre.
If following Step 1 does not resolve your complaint, you can ask to be referred to a senior staff member, a customer care group or an internal ombudsperson—the person in charge of investigating complaints from consumers.
If you are not satisfied with the solution proposed after Step 2, in most cases, you can have your complaint reviewed by an independent third party, called an external ombudsperson. The table below gives you the contact details of some of the major third party complaint review services in Canada's financial services sector. Who you contact will depend on the type of business you have been dealing with.
|Type of business||Third-Party Reviewer||Telephone Number||Website|
|Banks and trust companies||Contact FCAC for information on the third-party reviewer for your own bank or trust company||1-866-461-3222||How to Lodge a Complaint’|
|Life and health products and services issued by life insurance companies||Ombudservice for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI)||1-888-295-8112
In the Toronto area:
In the Montreal area:
|Home, car and business insurance||General Insurance OmbudService (GIO)||1-877-225-0446||www.giocanada.org|
In some cases, depending on the type of financial institution you are dealing with, you can also contact your provincial regulator. For a list of the regulators in your province, please call FCAC toll-free, at: 1-866-461-3222, or visit the "Other Regulators" section of our website.
Note: The complaint-handling process is a less expensive alternative than going to court to have your complaint resolved. However, if you decide to go to court, you can no longer follow the complaint-handling process described in this document.