CARP Win: Security through Banking Ombudsman

The recent Federal Budget 2022 announced the government’s intention to strengthen banks’ external complaints handling system through an Ombudsman for Banking and Services and Investments (OBSI).  The OBSI is well-established and will ensure a single, non-profit, external complaints body when addressing consumer complaints. The impact of financial loss on older Canadians can be life altering. Retirees, seniors and vulnerable investors deserve this newly won independent financial ombudsman service, as any undue losses they incur cannot readily be recouped.

“We have partnered with investor and consumer advocates and worked for more than 10 years on this issue,” says CARP Chief Policy Officer, Bill VanGorder.  We are proud of our role in this change, which is one of several critically needed measures to protect the financial security of older Canadians.”

Prior to this legislation taking effect, when a customer has a complaint with a bank, banking customers experience divergent results and compensation orders are not always upheld.  Canadians who have lacked the capacity, time and/or resources to navigate a confusing complaints process with multiple players are especially vulnerable.

Consumer complaints are wide-ranging but include:

  • credit card issues, such as chargebacks or unauthorized transactions;
  • banking or loan issues related to transaction problems, loan penalties or information breakdowns;
  • investment issues related to common shares, mutual funds or scholarship trust funds such as suitability of investments, fee disclosure and service complaints.

The government agrees that, “banks should not be able to choose the complaints handling body they participate in, and the system should not be run on a for-profit basis. The new legislation will strengthen Canada’s external complaints handling process and enhance consumer confidence in the system.”

Read the letter to Minister Freeland from the Coalition of Concerned Consumer Advocates, of which CARP is a key member.