Government to regulate banking disputes resolution services

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On April 10, the Minister of Finance published new regulations that apply to external complaint bodies in the banking sector. Published in the Canada Gazette, the Complaints (Banks, Authorized Foreign Banks and External Complaints Bodies) Regulations come into force September 2, 2013. Amendments to the Bank Act and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act establish the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of  Canada (FCAC) as an oversight body for external complaints bodies (also known as Ombudsman or dispute resolution services). The regulations establish criteria for ministerial approval of external complaints bodies, criteria for maintaining  that approval and obligations of banks and authorized foreign banks in respect of external complaints bodies and the complaints that they receive and deal with. The regulations also require that external complaints bodies, as well as banks and authorized foreign banks, publicly report information about the complaints they receive and investigate on an annual basis. A company or not-for-profit corporation that wishes to serve as an external complaints body will be required to submit an application to the FCAC demonstrating that it meets the standards set out in the regulations. Once it is independently assessed, the Commissioner will refer the application to the Minister, along with a recommendation. The FCAC is expected to publish an application guide to assist potential applicants.

About the Author
Libby Gillman is, by training, an experienced corporate and commercial lawyer with particular expertise in financial institution incorporation and regulation, banking law and regulation, sophisticated and innovative payment systems, electronic banking products, emerging technology-based financial and other products and services, electronic commerce including Internet law, and legal issues of privacy and security on the Internet.