Complaints and Inquiries Statistics

IIROC maintains statistics on the complaints it receives and the investigations and prosecutions it conducts. It also tracks disciplinary statistics for those complaints and matters that regulated firms are required to file to IIROC through the Complaints and Settlement Reporting System (ComSet). IIROC monitors this information to identify potential emerging regulatory issues in the industry it regulates.

Below you will find Complaints and Inquiries Statistics. If you are looking for Enforcement Statistics, please visit our Enforcement Statistics page.

Total complaints and inquiries received

IIROC received a total of 13,147 complaints1 & inquiries2 (contacts) from 2019 to 2021. Just over 70% of those contacts were about matters relating to the dealer firms we regulate (member) or about trading on the Canadian debt and equity markets (market) we monitor. Most of the remaining contacts (29%) fell outside of IIROC's jurisdiction3 (other). In this case, people are redirected to the appropriate regulator, firm or resource.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we experienced a significant increase in contacts from clients of Order-Execution-Only dealers4 , which is reflected in the overall volume increase and more specifically, in the increase in “Member” contacts.

Total complaints and inquiries received
  • 1Complaints: a (typically) written expression of dissatisfaction.
  • 2Inquiries: questions, comments or verbal expressions of dissatisfaction.
  • 3IIROC only has jurisdiction over those individuals and firms that are registered with IIROC, and Canadian debt and equity markets. See Looking up an Investment Advisor or Firm and Markets We Regulate. Any complaints or inquiries not falling within these categories, nor about IIROC specifically, are included under “other”.
  • 4Order-Execution-Only dealers, or OEO, are firms that provide services, but not advice, to DIY investors.

     

    Grand Total of all Contacts

    Year Event Type Total
    2019 Complaint 1108
    2019 Inquiry 2733
    2020 Complaint 1624
    2020 Inquiry 2715
    2021 Complaint 1603
    2021 Inquiry 3364
    Total 13147

    Complaints and Inquiries 2019

    Case Type Total
    Market 1376
    Member 1274
    Other 1191

    Complaints and Inquiries 2020

    Case Type Total
    Member 1872
    Market 1410
    Other 1057

    Complaints and Inquiries 2021 YTD

    Case Type Total
    Member 2042
    Other 1484
    Market 1441

    Complaints and inquiries regarding IIROC-regulated firms

    IIROC averaged 1,736 contacts annually from 2019 to 2021 about IIROC-regulated firms.

    Member Complaints and Inquiries

       

      Member Complaints and Inquiries

      Date Event Type Total
      2019 Jan Complaint 34
      2019 Jan Inquiry 72
      2019 Feb Complaint 40
      2019 Feb Inquiry 89
      2019 Mar Complaint 35
      2019 Mar Inquiry 84
      2019 Apr Complaint 34
      2019 Apr Inquiry 77
      2019 May Complaint 31
      2019 May Inquiry 85
      2019 Jun Complaint 28
      2019 Jun Inquiry 68
      2019 Jul Complaint 28
      2019 Jul Inquiry 69
      2019 Aug Complaint 32
      2019 Aug Inquiry 69
      2019 Sep Complaint 27
      2019 Sep Inquiry 64
      2019 Oct Complaint 33
      2019 Oct Inquiry 70
      2019 Nov Complaint 52
      2019 Nov Inquiry 69
      2019 Dec Complaint 24
      2019 Dec Inquiry 60
      2020 Jan Complaint 54
      2020 Jan Inquiry 76
      2020 Feb Complaint 54
      2020 Feb Inquiry 83
      2020 Mar Complaint 91
      2020 Mar Inquiry 123
      2020 Apr Complaint 93
      2020 Apr Inquiry 118
      2020 May Complaint 97
      2020 May Inquiry 92
      2020 Jun Complaint 61
      2020 Jun Inquiry 89
      2020 Jul Complaint 71
      2020 Jul Inquiry 80
      2020 Aug Complaint 54
      2020 Aug Inquiry 73
      2020 Sep Complaint 60
      2020 Sep Inquiry 75
      2020 Oct Complaint 53
      2020 Oct Inquiry 78
      2020 Nov Complaint 44
      2020 Nov Inquiry 92
      2020 Dec Complaint 71
      2020 Dec Inquiry 90
      2021 Jan Complaint 127
      2021 Jan Inquiry 169
      2021 Feb Complaint 134
      2021 Feb Inquiry 194
      2021 Mar Complaint 106
      2021 Mar Inquiry 163
      2021 Apr Complaint 58
      2021 Apr Inquiry 136
      2021 May Complaint 40
      2021 May Inquiry 107
      2021 Jun Complaint 45
      2021 Jun Inquiry 100
      2021 Jul Complaint 28
      2021 Jul Inquiry 64
      2021 Aug Complaint 37
      2021 Aug Inquiry 65
      2021 Sep Complaint 38
      2021 Sep Inquiry 90
      2021 Oct Complaint 45
      2021 Oct Inquiry 79
      2021 Nov Complaint 37
      2021 Nov Inquiry 75
      2021 Dec Complaint 42
      2021 Dec Inquiry 63
      Total 5188

      Regulatory vs. non-regulatory complaints and inquiries

      Investors contact IIROC for both regulatory and non-regulatory matters. Regulatory matters are subject to IIROC rules or securities law. For example, allegations of unsuitable investments or unauthorized trading. Non-regulatory matters are issues such as poor customer service and general inquiries about dealer policies and procedures. Non-regulatory matters accounted for over 60% of contacts from 2019 to 2021. Since non-regulatory matters do not fall under IIROC's mandate, the investor should address these matters directly with the firm involved.

      Regulatory vs. non-regulatory complaints and inquiries

         

        Regulatory vs. Non-Regulatory Inquiries (Member)

        Year Total Regulatory or Non
        2019 1169 Non-Regulatory
        2019 773 Regulatory
        2020 1249 Non-Regulatory
        2020 721 Regulatory
        2021 1796 Non-Regulatory
        2021 770 Regulatory
        Total 6478  

        Regulatory vs. Non-Regulatory Complaints (Member)

        Year Total Regulatory or Non
        2019 193 Non-Regulatory
        2019 330 Regulatory
        2020 542 Non-Regulatory
        2020 417 Regulatory
        2021 659 Non-Regulatory
        2021 301 Regulatory
        Total 2442  

        Most frequent inquiries about IIROC-regulated firms

        The five most common topics of inquiries to IIROC by clients of IIROC-regulated firms accounted for 56% of all such inquiries (3,255) from 2019 to 2021.

        Many of these inquiries did not result in a formal complaint to IIROC since they were not regulatory in nature.

        The remaining inquiries covered a broad range of topics. Learn more about making a complaint.

        Most frequent inquiries about IIROC-regulated firms


        *Note: each inquiry may involve more than one topic, thus appearing under multiple categories.

           

          Top 5 Member Inquiries

          Allegation Total Year
          Firm policies/procedures 121 2019
          Firm policies/procedures 95 2020
          Firm policies/procedures 185 2021
          IIROC rule questions/complaints 130 2019
          IIROC rule questions/complaints 109 2020
          IIROC rule questions/complaints 139 2021
          Info. on filing a complaint 187 2019
          Info. on filing a complaint 210 2020
          Info. on filing a complaint 141 2021
          Service Issues 65 2019
          Service Issues 164 2020
          Service Issues 232 2021
          Transfer of Accounts 54 2019
          Transfer of Accounts 53 2020
          Transfer of Accounts 51 2021
          Total 1825  

           

           

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          Most frequent complaints about IIROC-regulated firms

          The five most common topics of complaints to IIROC by clients of IIROC-regulated firms account for 64% of all such complaints (1,952) received from 2019 to 2021.

          Of these complaints, only unsuitable investments and account transfers are generally considered to be regulatory matters, with the remainder generally falling outside of IIROC jurisdiction. Matters that aren’t subject to IIROC rules must be addressed directly by the client to the firm in question.

          IIROC-regulated firms must notify IIROC of all regulatory complaints they receive and handle all complaints they receive according to prescribed standards contained within IIROC rules.

          Learn more about how IIROC-regulated firms handle client complaints.

          Most frequent complaints about IIROC-regulated firms

          *Note: each complaint may involve more than one allegation, thus appearing under multiple categories

           

             

            Top 5 Member Complaints

            Allegation Total Year
            Firm policies/procedures 55 2019
            Firm policies/procedures 95 2020
            Firm policies/procedures 114 2021
            Service Issues 48 2019
            Service Issues 180 2020
            Service Issues 271 2021
            Trading disputes, error and delays 24 2019
            Trading disputes, error and delays 66 2020
            Trading disputes, error and delays 68 2021
            Transfer of Accounts 34 2019
            Transfer of Accounts 60 2020
            Transfer of Accounts 60 2021
            Unsuitable Investments 100 2019
            Unsuitable Investments 110 2020
            Unsuitable Investments 56 2021
            Total 1243  

             

             

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            Market-related complaints and inquiries

            IIROC averaged 1,430 contacts annually from 2019 to 2021 regarding trading on Canadian debt and equity markets.

            Market-related complaints and inquiries

               

              Market-related complaints and inquiries

              Date Event Type Total
              2019 Jan Complaint 35
              2019 Jan Inquiry 53
              2019 Feb Complaint 38
              2019 Feb Inquiry 66
              2019 Mar Complaint 51
              2019 Mar Inquiry 85
              2019 Apr Complaint 111
              2019 Apr Inquiry 93
              2019 May Complaint 36
              2019 May Inquiry 73
              2019 Jun Complaint 27
              2019 Jun Inquiry 74
              2019 Jul Complaint 36
              2019 Jul Inquiry 59
              2019 Aug Complaint 42
              2019 Aug Inquiry 55
              2019 Sep Complaint 43
              2019 Sep Inquiry 60
              2019 Oct Complaint 66
              2019 Oct Inquiry 59
              2019 Nov Complaint 39
              2019 Nov Inquiry 40
              2019 Dec Complaint 61
              2019 Dec Inquiry 74
              2020 Jan Complaint 47
              2020 Jan Inquiry 65
              2020 Feb Complaint 44
              2020 Feb Inquiry 79
              2020 Mar Complaint 57
              2020 Mar Inquiry 48
              2020 Apr Complaint 107
              2020 Apr Inquiry 74
              2020 May Complaint 65
              2020 May Inquiry 68
              2020 Jun Complaint 62
              2020 Jun Inquiry 66
              2020 Jul Complaint 57
              2020 Jul Inquiry 67
              2020 Aug Complaint 52
              2020 Aug Inquiry 54
              2020 Sep Complaint 50
              2020 Sep Inquiry 44
              2020 Oct Complaint 47
              2020 Oct Inquiry 63
              2020 Nov Complaint 27
              2020 Nov Inquiry 62
              2020 Dec Complaint 50
              2020 Dec Inquiry 55
              2021 Jan Complaint 53
              2021 Jan Inquiry 102
              2021 Feb Complaint 91
              2021 Feb Inquiry 131
              2021 Mar Complaint 80
              2021 Mar Inquiry 94
              2021 Apr Complaint 45
              2021 Apr Inquiry 73
              2021 May Complaint 42
              2021 May Inquiry 60
              2021 Jun Complaint 33
              2021 Jun Inquiry 50
              2021 Jul Complaint 30
              2021 Jul Inquiry 58
              2021 Aug Complaint 28
              2021 Aug Inquiry 50
              2021 Sep Complaint 43
              2021 Sep Inquiry 44
              2021 Oct Complaint 61
              2021 Oct Inquiry 44
              2021 Nov Complaint 94
              2021 Nov Inquiry 53
              2021 Dec Complaint 43
              2021 Dec Inquiry 39
              Total 4227

               

               

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              UMIR vs. non-UMIR complaints and inquiries

              Investors contact IIROC regarding both matters that are subject to the Universal Market Integrity Rules (UMIR) and those that are not. Under Recognition Orders issued by the  Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and by agreement with the marketplaces, IIROC monitors all equity and debt market activity on all Canadian marketplaces, including stock exchanges and alternative trading systems, to detect manipulative trading practices and other breaches of the marketplace trading rules.

              Our goal is to ensure trading complies with UMIR and other IIROC rules. Matters that are not subject to UMIR (or other IIROC rules), such as cease-trade orders, listed company activity and disclosures, fall outside of IIROC’s jurisdiction. These non-UMIR matters accounted for almost 50% of contacts (excluding halt inquiries) during the three most recent years. Since non-UMIR matters do not fall under IIROC's mandate, the investor should address these matters directly with the principal regulator for the issuer (see SEDAR) or the exchange.

              UMIR vs. non-UMIR complaints and inquiries

                 

                UMIR vs. Non-UMIR Inquiries

                Year Total  UMIR
                2019 692 Non UMIR
                2019 74 UMIR
                2020 665 Non UMIR
                2020 50 UMIR
                2021 725 Non UMIR
                2021 54 UMIR
                Total 2260  

                UMIR vs. Non-UMIR Complaints

                Year Total UMIR
                2019 291 Non UMIR
                2019 291 UMIR
                2020 396 Non UMIR
                2020 266 UMIR
                2021 301 Non UMIR
                2021 342 UMIR
                Total 1887  

                 

                 

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                Most frequent market-related inquiries

                The top five market-related inquiries accounted for over 70% of all such inquiries (2,371). By far, our most frequent market-related inquiries are about trading halts, even though we are not able to provide information about specific halts beyond that obtained in the halt notice that is published on our website and through various news services. We also hear from the public about listed company issues and cease-trade orders (CTOs), which do not fall under IIROC’s jurisdiction.

                IIROC’s market-related jurisdiction encompasses monitoring trading on Canadian marketplaces for compliance with the Universal Market Integrity Rules (UMIR). IIROC does not have jurisdiction over public companies or their directors, officers or employees.

                See more about UMIR here.

                Most frequent market-related inquiries

                *Note: each inquiry may involve more than one topic, thus appearing under multiple categories. CTO = Cease Trade Order

                   

                  Top 5 Market-Related Inquiries

                  Allegation Total Year
                  CTO 19 2019
                  CTO 8 2020
                  CTO 78 2021
                  Halt inquiry 364 2019
                  Halt inquiry 349 2020
                  Halt inquiry 361 2021
                  Listed company issues 124 2019
                  Listed company issues 94 2020
                  Listed company issues 86 2021
                  Manipulation 48 2019
                  Manipulation 28 2020
                  Manipulation 22 2021
                  Other jurisdiction 58 2019
                  Other jurisdiction 40 2020
                  Other jurisdiction 35 2021
                  Total 1673  

                   

                   

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                  Most frequent market-related complaints

                  The top five market-related complaints accounted for over 70% of all such complaints (1,918). The largest number of the complaints about market activity are allegations of market manipulation.

                  IIROC rules prohibit orders or trades that create a false or misleading appearance of trading activity (or interest in trading) or create an artificial bid, ask or sale price. This activity is considered manipulative and IIROC’s surveillance staff use specialized systems to continuously monitor trading in real-time across multiple marketplaces to detect and pursue instances of suspicious or prohibited trading activity. While some complaints are well-founded, most often, a more fulsome review by IIROC staff who have access to more information about the trades in question and the parties involved, alleviates our concerns. When concerns remain, we forward the complaint information to our Trading Review & Analysis (TR&A) department.

                  Learn how IIROC monitors and analyzes market activity.

                  Most frequent market-related complaints

                  *Note: each complaint may involve more than one topic, thus appearing under multiple categories.

                     

                    Top 5 Market-Related Complaints

                    Allegation Total Year
                    Disclosure 112 2019
                    Disclosure 98 2020
                    Disclosure 59 2021
                    Insider Trading 76 2019
                    Insider Trading 79 2020
                    Insider Trading 47 2021
                    Listed company issues 67 2019
                    Listed company issues 133 2020
                    Listed company issues 78 2021
                    Manipulation 201 2019
                    Manipulation 166 2020
                    Manipulation 250 2021
                    Short Selling 64 2019
                    Short Selling 56 2020
                    Short Selling 122 2021
                    Total 1367  

                     

                     

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                    Order-execution-only (OEO) vs. advisory contacts

                    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, IIROC has experienced a significant increase in the number of contacts by clients of OEO dealers.

                    Order-execution-only (OEO) vs. advisory contacts

                    *Note: for the purposes of this chart, we have excluded other registration categories so these totals won’t equal the total contacts IIROC received. In addition, not all contacts (such as market-related contacts) provide this information.

                       

                      OEO vs Advisory Contacts

                      Date Received Total OEO vs Advisory
                      2019 Jan 37 Advisory
                      2019 Jan 52 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Feb 60 Advisory
                      2019 Feb 56 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Mar 45 Advisory
                      2019 Mar 36 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Apr 51 Advisory
                      2019 Apr 42 Order Execution Only
                      2019 May 52 Advisory
                      2019 May 48 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Jun 44 Advisory
                      2019 Jun 26 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Jul 41 Advisory
                      2019 Jul 43 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Aug 41 Advisory
                      2019 Aug 34 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Sep 36 Advisory
                      2019 Sep 31 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Oct 34 Advisory
                      2019 Oct 52 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Nov 45 Advisory
                      2019 Nov 34 Order Execution Only
                      2019 Dec 30 Advisory
                      2019 Dec 36 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Jan 56 Advisory
                      2020 Jan 65 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Feb 45 Advisory
                      2020 Feb 64 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Mar 56 Advisory
                      2020 Mar 149 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Apr 61 Advisory
                      2020 Apr 123 Order Execution Only
                      2020 May 59 Advisory
                      2020 May 125 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Jun 57 Advisory
                      2020 Jun 105 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Jul 59 Advisory
                      2020 Jul 97 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Aug 46 Advisory
                      2020 Aug 74 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Sep 55 Advisory
                      2020 Sep 84 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Oct 61 Advisory
                      2020 Oct 69 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Nov 53 Advisory
                      2020 Nov 81 Order Execution Only
                      2020 Dec 39 Advisory
                      2020 Dec 121 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Jan 54 Advisory
                      2021 Jan 235 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Feb 65 Advisory
                      2021 Feb 299 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Mar 64 Advisory
                      2021 Mar 198 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Apr 63 Advisory
                      2021 Apr 131 Order Execution Only
                      2021 May 41 Advisory
                      2021 May 103 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Jun 49 Advisory
                      2021 Jun 89 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Jul 40 Advisory
                      2021 Jul 59 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Aug 35 Advisory
                      2021 Aug 73 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Sep 34 Advisory
                      2021 Sep 87 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Oct 41 Advisory
                      2021 Oct 96 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Nov 38 Advisory
                      2021 Nov 67 Order Execution Only
                      2021 Dec 33 Advisory
                      2021 Dec 57 Order Execution Only
                      Total 4861  

                       

                       

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                      Geographic location

                      Most inquiries and complaints come from Ontario, British Columbia, Québec, and Alberta.

                      Geographic location

                         

                        Location of Investors Who Contact IIROC

                        Location Total
                        Ontario 1015
                        British Columbia 404
                        Alberta 332
                        Québec 280
                        Manitoba 77
                        Saskatchewan 47
                        Nova Scotia 19
                        New Brunswick 9
                        Newfoundland and Labrador 6
                        Yukon 2
                        Nunavut 1
                        Prince Edward Island 1
                        Total 2192

                         

                         

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                        Age and gender

                        In cases where age and gender were disclosed, we have seen an increase in contacts from investors under 60 years old, which may correspond to the increase in DIY (do-it-yourself) investing. We hear from males more often than females.

                        Age and gender

                           

                          Who Contacts IIROC?

                          Gender Total Percentage
                          Female 1138 27%
                          Male 3133 75%
                          Total 4189 100%

                          Note: some cases have more than one party so percentages don't equal 100%


                          Age of Investors that Contact IIROC

                          Age Percentage
                          20-29 5%
                          30-39 16%
                          40-49 15%
                          50-59 27%
                          60-69 19%
                          70-79 12%
                          80-89 5%
                          90-99 2%
                          Total 100%