How the IIROC Complaints Process Works

How does IIROC review investor complaints?

Every complaint that IIROC receives is reviewed by a Complaints & Inquiries (C&I) staff member. We document receipt of your complaint and carefully review the information you have provided. We interpret the facts to see if the matter involves a potential breach of IIROC rules and whether the individuals involved are under IIROC’s jurisdiction. We can take action only if a rule we enforce has been broken by an IIROC-regulated individual or firm. In some cases, we may take informal action short of a public disciplinary hearing to address problematic behaviour by individual registrants or regulated firms.



What do we need from you, in order to look into your complaint?

  • A written complaint from the account owner (for complaints involving IIROC-regulated firms/individuals)

  • Your name and contact information (in some situations, particularly regarding market activity, we can accept anonymous complaints; however, complaints about your advisor or account may be hindered by a lack of specifics that can be followed up on)

  • The name and contact information of any individual or firm mentioned in your complaint

  • Specific details of how, why and when you encountered problems with your investments or investment professional

  • Specific details of the security and trades involved, if applicable

  • IIROC staff may request additional information to ensure the circumstances are thoroughly considered



How do we keep you informed? 

For market complaints:

  • We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and provide educational information, where relevant.

  • If your complaint falls outside of our jurisdiction, we will advise you and provide relevant contact information for the appropriate regulator, where applicable.

  • You will not receive any additional information about our review. IIROC has confidential investigation procedures and as such staff cannot comment on any reviews we may be conducting or a potential investigation unless it becomes a matter of public record. By keeping information confidential, we protect the integrity of our investigation, ensure the complaint process is not used to affect the market and maintain fairness to those who may be the subject of a complaint that does not result in an investigation or sanction.

For complaints about IIROC-regulated firms or individuals:

  • IIROC will contact you upon receipt of your complaint. If your complaint does not fall under our jurisdiction, we will explain why and to whom you should direct your complaint.

  • If your complaint proceeds to our Enforcement Department, you will receive an acknowledgement letter with the name of the staff member reviewing your complaint.

  • We will update you when the initial assessment is completed advising you whether we will be proceeding with further action or closing our file.

  • If we start an investigation, we will notify you and you may be contacted to provide additional information and/or testify at a disciplinary hearing.



What do we look at when considering whether to begin an investigation?

  • Jurisdiction:

    • Does the complaint involve an individual registered with IIROC or an IIROC-regulated firm?

    • Does the complaint involving trading activity on a Canadian marketplace regulated by IIROC? (Note: IIROC monitors trading on Canadian markets for compliance with UMIR; however, our jurisdiction is limited to individuals and firms that are registered with IIROC. If we discover problematic activity by issuers or non-registrants we refer the case to the appropriate regulator.)

    • Does the complaint involve activity that is subject to IIROC rules (i.e. not customer service related)?

  • What is the severity, nature, scope and age of the activity being complained about?

  • Is it likely that disciplinary action will have a deterrence effect and lead to improved behaviour by regulated individuals, firms or the industry as a whole?

  • Is there preliminary evidence of an IIROC rule breach and is that evidence likely to be sufficient to prove a rule violation?



What happens if we do not pursue an investigation as a result of your complaint?

  • We will inform you of our decision (except in market cases). Any information obtained during the course of our review remains confidential and cannot be publicly released.

  • We may suggest other ways of solving the issues you've raised, if possible.

  • We keep your complaint on file for future reference.

  • We may refer the case to another regulator or law enforcement.

  • We may issue a cautionary letter to an IIROC-regulated firm or individual, or take other appropriate action.



IIROC disciplinary proceedings

The primary purpose of IIROC disciplinary proceedings is to maintain high standards of conduct in the securities industry and to protect market integrity. The determination of the appropriate sanction/penalty in any given case is discretionary and a fact specific process. The appropriate sanction depends on the facts of a particular case and the circumstances of the conduct. Hearing panels retain the discretion to impose the sanctions they consider appropriate.

Penalties that IIROC hearing panels can impose on IIROC-regulated individuals can include:

  • Fines, up to a maximum of $1 million per contravention or an amount equal to three times the profit made, or loss avoided, due to the contravention;

  • Imposition of conditions on current approval in one or more categories of employment;

  • Suspension of current approval in one or more categories of employment for any period of time and upon any conditions or terms;

  • Prohibition of the right to seek future approval in one or more categories of employment;

  • A ban, permanent or for a specific period of time, on approval in any or all categories of employment; and

  • Any other fit remedy or penalty.

Penalties against firms regulated by IIROC can include:

  • A reprimand;

  • Fines, up to a maximum of $5 million per contravention or an amount equal to three times the profit made or loss avoided due to the contravention;

  • Imposition of conditions on membership;

  • Suspension for any period of time and upon any conditions or terms;

  • Expulsion; and

  • Any other fit remedy or penalty.



For further information:

Call our Complaints & Inquiries Line at 1 (877) 442-4322 if you prefer to speak to IIROC staff about making a complaint. Choose your language and then press 2 for market-related trading queries or 1 for all other queries. IIROC records all calls to and from Complaints & Inquiries team telephone lines.