All federal financial institutions – banks, retail associations and federal trust, loan and insurance companies – MUST, by law, have a complaint-handling process in place for consumers. If you are wondering how to know the best path to take or to speak to about your complaint, read on as we have gathered some helpful information from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

First it’s important to understand which institutions are federally regulated. Generally speaking, according to The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) website, the following financial entities are federally regulated:

  • Banks and federal credit unions
  • Insurance companies
  • Loan companies
  • Retail associations
  • Trust companies
  • Payment card network operators

If you are having an issue with any of those types of companies, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a Complaint Handling Process Search Tool for you. The purpose of the tool is to assist you in learning more about the complaint-handling process for your federally regulated financial entity. It’s pretty simple to use, just follow the prompts and you will be directed to the complaint-handling process for that particular business.

If one is available, the tool also offers a third party that you can turn to if you don’t feel that you have gotten anywhere with the first few steps. One such option is the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). The OBSI website states that they “resolve disputes between participating banking services and investment firms and their customers if they can’t solve them on their own.”

Keep in mind that all of this information is for federally regulated institutions, not provincially regulated financial institutions (like credit unions). Below you will find some tips on how to complain as effectively as possible if you are having an issue with any business. We hope this is helpful!


Excuse me, there’s a fly in my soup (steps on how to complain)
How to write an effective complaint letter