Getting Your Money Back

If you suspect you may have lost money because your advisor or firm acted improperly, you may be eligible for compensation. The first step is to make a complaint directly to your firm. If your efforts are unsuccessful or you are not satisfied with the response, you can then consider other options to recover your money.


There are several different ways for investors to seek compensation in the case of advisor or firm misconduct. Each option is different. Most require that you try to resolve your complaint with your firm first. Some options are free and time limits for using services or taking legal action may apply. Although IIROC is not directly involved in the compensation process, it requires all IIROC-regulated firms to participate in the ombudsman and arbitration programs if the client chooses this option. For Quebec investors, participation by firms in the AMF’s mediation program is optional. 


Arbitration is private, confidential and less formal than a court.  The arbitrator can award up to $500,000 in compensation to the investor, plus interest and legal costs. The investor is not required to hire a lawyer, but arbitration is a legal proceeding and the investment firms are always represented by a lawyer. When you file your case, you can decide whether the arbitrator should have the power to award legal costs to a party, in which case the arbitrator may order either party to  pay a share of the other’s legal costs. Therefore, this could result in your paying a share of the firm’s legal costs. Administrative fees and the arbitrator’s fees are usually divided equally between you and your firm.


IIROC has arranged to have the organizations that offer these independent services explain them to you. The purpose of these videos is to give you, as an investor, a sense of what your experience will be, if you choose to use one of these services.




 Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments

The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)
Read a quick overview.
Video interview with OBSI’s Doug Melville

Read the interview transcript

Learn more about OBSI 

English: Brochurepdf.gif

French: Brochurepdf.gif


 Authorite des Marches Financiers



Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF – For Quebec residents only)

Read a quick overview.


Video interview with AMF’s Michel Gariépy


Read the interview transcript

Learn more about the AMF





Read a quick overview.

ADR Chambers - All of Canada, excluding Quebec


Video interview with ADR Chambers’ Bette Shifman 

Read the interview transcript

Learn more about ADR Chambers




Legal Action


If you have a dispute with your investment firm and you think you have grounds for seeking compensation, you have the option of going to court. You are not required to try to resolve the dispute with the firm prior to taking legal action.


You should be aware there is a statute of limitations on legal action. This means that there are legal time limits for taking legal action, beyond which you could lose the right to pursue some or all of your claims.


While not always necessary, it is advisable to obtain legal advice before pursuing action in the courts. Depending on your situation, you may want to consult a lawyer for advice on your rights and options. Your provincial law society can help you find a lawyer. For a list of provincial law societies, go to www.flsc.ca. There is no limit to the amount of compensation that can be claimed. However, this option involves legal costs that may not be recoverable and you could also find yourself responsible for the other party's legal costs in addition to your own.

If you have questions regarding any option, call IIROC’s Info/Complaint Line at 1.877.442.4322 or email us at [email protected].

Arbitration Statistics




It's up to you to decide whether to take your complaint to arbitration.

If you do, IIROC rules require Dealer Members to participate and comply with the arbitration program procedures.


IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 2015 

IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 2014 

IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 2013

IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 2012

IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 2011

IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 2010

IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 2009

IIROC Arbitration Statistics: 1996-2008


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​Quick Tips: Things to Ask Yourself About Dispute Resolution:
  • How much compensation am I seeking?
  • Could this process cost me money and if so, how much and am I prepared to incur these costs?
  • Is my investment firm required to take part in this process?
  • Do I need to, or should I, hire a lawyer?
  • Is there a time limit for filing a complaint or pursuing mediation, arbitration or litigation?
  • Is the process confidential?
  • Is the decision binding?