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Investor Recourse and Compensation



If you’ve lost money and you think it’s because your investment advisor or firm acted improperly, you have options: from using an ombudsman to going to arbitration or court.

Each option varies based on things like cost, procedures, the amount of time each may take and whether decisions are binding.

The information and links below will help you decide which option works best for you. 

Regardless of the option, in all cases the first step should be a written complaint to your investment advisor and their firm. Under IIROC rules, they must provide a response to you within 90 days.

If you aren’t satisfied with their response, one of these options might be your next step:


 

Options at a Glance

CHANNEL

TIME LIMIT**
TO COMPLAIN

AWARD LIMIT

COST

DECISION BINDING

Yes

Up to $350,000

No

No

Yes

Up to $500,000

Yes

Yes

Yes

Up to $200,000*

No

No

Yes

None

Yes

Yes


*The limit applies only to compensation for losses related to financial fraud covered by the Fonds d’indemnisation des services financiers (Financial services compensation fund). There is otherwise no monetary limit on complaints investors may file with the AMF.
**It is important to understand the time limits for each option.

 


 

Free Legal Advice

The Investor Protection Clinics at Osgoode Hall Law School and University of Toronto Faculty of Law provide free legal advice to investors across Canada who cannot afford a lawyer.

Canadian Investor Protection Fund

The Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) provides protection to investors in the event a firm becomes insolvent or ceases operations due to bankruptcy. CIPF is funded by IIROC-regulated firms and their membership is mandatory.



 

Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)

If you’ve lost money and you think it’s because your investment advisor or firm acted improperly, you can submit a complaint to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI).

Free, independent and informal+

180 days to complain+

Decisions are not binding+

More information+


 


 

Arbitration

Arbitration is like going to court, however, it is less formal, usually less expensive and takes less time. Arbitration decisions are final and binding on the parties.

How it works+

Who conducts the arbitration?+

Costs+

More information+

 


 

Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF)

If you are a Quebec resident who lost money and think it’s because your investment advisor or firm acted improperly, you have the option of using the free mediation and conciliation services of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).

How it works+

More information+

 


 

Legal Action: Going to Court

All investors who believe they lost money because their investment advisor or firm acted improperly have the option of taking legal action.

Time limits+

Legal assistance+

Legal Costs+