The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) was created in 1987 to regulate and supervise financial institutions and private pension plans subject to federal oversight. It is an independent, self-financing agency that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Finance.
Who we regulate
OSFI regulates and supervises all banks in Canada, and all federally incorporated or registered trust and loan companies, insurance companies, cooperative credit associations, fraternal benefit societies and private pension plans. OSFI’s mandate does not include consumer-related issues or the securities industry.
How we regulate and supervise
OSFI does not manage the daily operations of financial institutions or private pension plans. Their executive management and boards of directors or trustees are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the financial institution or pension plan.
OSFI regulation involves providing input into developing and interpreting legislation and regulations, issuing guidelines, and approving requests from federally regulated institutions as required under financial institution legislation. OSFI also provides input on accounting, auditing and actuarial standards development, and determines how to incorporate them into our regulatory framework.
OSFI supervision involves assessing the safety and soundness of federally regulated financial institutions and pension plans. OSFI monitors the financial and economic environment to identify issues that may adversely affect these institutions. We assess an institution’s material risks and the quality of its risk management and corporate governance practices. If potential problems are identified, OSFI intervenes at an early stage based on our guides to intervention.
Partnerships strengthen the regulatory system
Nationally, OSFI meets regularly with key federal partners to address the issues and challenges facing the financial sector, and to refine regulatory requirements that promote sound practices and procedures to manage risk, through the Financial Institutions Supervisory Committee (FISC). Its members are OSFI, the Bank of Canada, the Department of Finance, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. Together, these organizations constitute Canada’s network of financial regulation and supervision, and provide a system of depositor and policyholder protection. OSFI also works closely with provincial counterparts and consults regularly with industry stakeholders.
International organizations such as the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors play a key role in the development of regulatory frameworks for banks and insurers that contribute to a strong and stable global financial system. OSFI’s active participation in these international forums allows us to share Canadian perspectives and help shape international rule setting.
How we are funded
Costs are recovered through assessments on the financial services industry and private pension plans that OSFI regulates and supervises, and through a user-pay program for selected services. A small portion of revenue is received through an appropriation from the Government of Canada for actuarial services relating to various public sector pension and benefit plans.
Benefits to Canada
OSFI’s emphasis on robust risk management systems at financial institutions is reflected in the World Economic Forum annually ranking Canada’s banking system as among the world’s soundest. For banking, insurance or pension plans, a properly functioning financial system that inspires a high degree of confidence makes a material contribution to Canada’s economic performance.