Scholarship plans

Here are your options if you have lost money in a scholarship plan because of an error, disagreement or possible misconduct.

Compensation process for scholarship plans

Step 1

Start with the scholarship plan dealer

Start with the person you dealt with. Scholarship plan dealers are required to have internal processes for handling consumer complaints and to provide information in writing to consumers about the process. The scholarship plan dealer is required to respond to you if you make a complaint about a product or service offered by the firm or recommended by a representative of the firm.

If you do not receive the information you need on how to make a complaint, contact the scholarship plan dealer’s compliance officer.

Step 2

Consider other options

Here are other options to consider if you are not satisfied with the scholarship plan dealer firm’s 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:

  • the firm has not provided its final response to you within 90 calendar days of the date you complained, or
  • you are not satisfied with the firm’s final decision on your complaint.

You have up to 180 days after receiving the firm’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 scholarship plan dealer firms on the OBSI website.

Regulatory action

If you think an individual or firm has broken the rules, contact the securities regulator in your province or territory. Regulators investigate potential wrongdoing and can impose sanctions on individuals and firms that breach regulatory requirements.

Securities regulators normally do not recover money for consumers. However, securities regulators in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have the authority to issue compensation orders. These orders require individuals or firms that have breached securities law to compensate the consumer. The consumer must file a claim for compensation with the regulator.

For more information about the options available to you, contact the securities regulator in your province or territory, or consult a lawyer. You can find contact information for securities regulators on the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) 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 scholarship plan dealer’s internal complaint handling process. The AMF will review the complaint and may offer assistance to the consumer and firm in reaching a resolution. Participation in the service is voluntary and both the firm 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 scholarship plan brokerage 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 and/or firm 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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Scholarship plan is a type of Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) sold by scholarship plan dealers.

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.