How IIROC-Regulated Firms Must Deal with Complaints

Investors should complain directly to the firm's management or compliance department if they have a complaint about their firm or advisor. A prompt letter of complaint is often the fastest and easiest way to resolve disagreements and settle disputes.

When making a complaint to a firm, be clear about what went wrong and when. Let the firm know the outcome that you are expecting (for example, an apology or getting your account corrected).

  • IIROC-regulated firms must comply with IIROC rules for handling complaints
  • Your firm must explain to you how to make a complaint to them and provide you with the proper contact information.
  • Your firm must give you the brochures, Making a Complaint: A Guide for Investors (Part 1 of 2, pdf) and How Can I Get My Money Back? A Guide for Investors (part 2 of 2, pdf). These brochures, which must be issued at the time an account is opened, again when a written complaint is made and a third time when your firm provides you with a final response, explain how to make a complaint to both IIROC-regulated firms and IIROC as well as the various options for pursuing compensation.
  • If your firm has an internal ombudsperson, use of the service is voluntary. If you are not satisfied with the final decision of the firm, you may bypass their internal ombudsperson and proceed directly to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) for complaints that fall within OBSI’s mandate.
  • Even if you have signed a confidentiality agreement to settle your complaint with your firm, you can still complain to IIROC. IIROC rules prohibit firms from preventing a client from initiating or continuing a complaint with a regulator.
  • Even with service complaints, where rule infractions are not alleged, IIROC rules require firms to respond in writing to all written complaints.

For complaints involving possible rule infractions regarding your account:

  • For this type of complaint, your firm must acknowledge your complaint by writing to you within five business days.
  • Your firm must also provide their final decision to you within 90 calendar days. The decision must include:
    • A summary of your complaint
    • The results of your firm's investigation
    • An explanation of the final decision
    • Information about other options for seeking compensation, in case you are not satisfied with your firm's decision
  • If your firm cannot provide a response within the 90-day period, it must inform you of the delay, the reason for the delay and the expected new response time.

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