Savings accounts, chequing accounts, GICs and term deposits

Here are your options if you have lost money in a savings or chequing account, GIC or term deposit because of an error, disagreement or possible misconduct.

Compensation process for savings accounts, chequing accounts, GICs and term deposits

Step 1

Start with your representative or financial institution

 

Start with the person or financial institution you dealt with. Many financial institutions have internal processes for handling consumer complaints. Ask for a brochure or other written material explaining the process. Be sure to follow the steps suggested and ask for the final response in writing.

You can find more information about the complaint handling processes for provincially regulated credit unions, caisses populaires and other provincially regulated financial institutions by contacting the appropriate provincial agency .

You can find a list of federally regulated banks, trust companies and other financial institutions on the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions website.

You can find more information about the complaint handling processes of federally regulated banks, trust companies and other financial institutions on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website.

Step 2

Contact the internal ombudsman

 

If you are not satisfied with the response from the internal complaint handling process, find out if your financial institution has an internal ombudsman service. An internal ombudsman service impartially investigates consumer complaints free of charge and assists the parties in reaching a resolution. Your participation in the service is voluntary. You can pursue other options if an agreement cannot be reached.

Step 3

Consider other options

Here are other options to consider if your financial institution does not respond to your complaint or you are not satisfied with the final response:

 

Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)

OBSI is a free, independent service for resolving banking and investment disputes between participating firms and their clients. You can bring your case to OBSI if:

You have up to 180 days after receiving the financial institution ’s response to get in touch with OBSI. OBSI can recommend compensation of up to $350,000.

You can find more information and a list of participating firms on the OBSI website.

 

Regulatory action

You can contact the appropriate provincial or federal regulator. The regulator may be able to provide you with additional information, guidance or other assistance with resolving your complaint. A list of provincial and federal regulators can be found at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario website.

If you live in Québec . . .

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) offers a free mediation service for consumers who live in Québec and are not satisfied with the response from the financial institution ’s internal complaint handling process. The AMF will review the complaint and may offer assistance to the consumer and financial institution in reaching a resolution. Participation in the service is voluntary and both the financial institution and consumer must consent to it. Consumers can pursue other options if an agreement cannot be reached. You can find more information about the AMF mediation service on the AMF website.

The AMF also has a compensation fund that pays compensation to eligible victims of fraud, fraudulent tactics or embezzlement by firms or representatives registered with the AMF to carry on professional activities in connection with the distribution of financial products and services. You can find more information about the AMF compensation fund on the AMF website.

 

Legal action

You can take legal action through the courts to recover financial losses from a representative and/or financial institution for alleged misconduct. Each province and territory has a time limit for taking legal action.

You may want to consult a lawyer to get advice on your rights and options. Your provincial or territorial law society can help you find a lawyer. For a list of provincial and territorial law societies, visit the Federation of Law Societies of Canada website.

 

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Definitions

Representative includes advisers, dealers, financial consultants, investment advisers and counsellors, portfolio managers, insurance brokers and agents, insurance advisers and consultants, insurance representatives, securities dealers, wealth management advisers, mortgage brokers and agents.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is an investment that pays a set rate of interest for a set length of time.

Term deposit is an investment that pays a set rate of interest for a set length of time. The money is returned only at the end of the set period of time.

Financial institutions includes banks, trust companies, loan companies, cooperative credit associations, credit unions, and caisse populaires.