CARP Demands a Single Banking Ombudsman With Binding Authority

The impact of financial loss on older Canadians can be life altering. Retirees, seniors and vulnerable investors deserve an independent, accessible, and most importantly, effective financial ombudsman service, as any undue losses they incur cannot readily be recouped. With increased longevity, more seniors will face financial hardship and require taxpayer-supported social benefits.


CARP is calling on the Federal Government to give the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI), a well-established and trusted entity, the authority to make binding decisions on banks.  CARP believes this is one of several critically needed measures to protect the financial security of older Canadians.

Currently, when a customer has a complaint with a bank, there is no single, ombuds organization with binding authority to make recommendations over the banks.  This results in divergent results and compensation orders that are not always delivered upon.  Canadians who lack the capacity, time and/or resources to successfully navigate an opaque and confusing complaint resolution landscape with multiple players with diverse interests are especially vulnerable.

“We want to advance consumer protection, improve access to justice, and foster fairness and confidence in Canada’s banking sector,” says CARP Chief Operating Officer Bill VanGorder.

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.

CARP, along with others, including investor and consumer advocates have been urging industry, regulators and governments to implement this protection for more than 10 years.

CARP is encouraged that in Prime Minister Trudeau’s December 2021 mandate letter, he specifically requested that Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, establish, on a priority basis, “a single, independent ombudsperson, with the power to impose binding arbitration, to address consumer complaints involving banks.”

Read the letter to Minister Freeland from the Coalition of Concerned Consumer Advocates, of which CARP is a key member.  Stay tuned for progress on this important issue