Financial Institutions

Introduction

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) regulates and supervises all banks and federally incorporated or registered trust and loan companies in Canada, as well as insurance companies, cooperative credit associations and fraternal benefit societies.

Our mandate is to:

  • Ensure that federally regulated financial institutions and pension plans are financially sound and meeting minimum plan funding requirements respectively, and are complying with their governing law and OSFIs requirements;
  • Promptly take action or advise institutions to take prompt corrective action when material deficiencies have been identified;
  • Build and maintain a regulatory framework that promotes the adoption of policies and procedures meant to control and manage risk;
  • Monitor and evaluate system-wide or sectoral issues that may impact institutions negatively.

OSFI's legislation recognizes the need for institutions to compete effectively and take reasonable risks. Our legislation states that management, boards of directors and plan administrators are ultimately responsible and financial institutions and pension plans can fail.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q. Where can I obtain a listing of federally regulated financial institutions in Canada?

    A. You can obtain a listing of federally regulated financial institutions in Canada by clicking on the "Who We Regulate" section of our website.

  2. Q. Where can I obtain the history/incorporation documents for a federally registered financial institution?

    A. You can obtain the history/incorporation documents for a federally registered financial institution by sending a written request to the attention of the Information Technician, OSFI, 255 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H2. Telephone: (613) 990-9112. The request should be faxed to (613) 952-8219 or E-mail: eim@osfi-bsif.gc.ca. A fee of $160.00 applies to such requests.

  3. Q. Is my financial institution safe? Can I obtain information from OSFI about its profitability and rating?

    A. The legislation governing OSFI's activities does not allow us to discuss the financial condition of individual financial institutions. You can obtain publicly reported financial data on our website.

  4. Q. How can I file a complaint against my financial institution?

    A. OSFI has no authority to act on consumer complaints against federally regulated financial institutions. For such matters, you can contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), and read the frequently asked questions or the complaint handling process sections of their website.

  5. Q. I have a complaint about my bank's brokerage services — can OSFI help me resolve it?

    A. In Canada securities firms fall within the regulatory domain of the provinces and territories and their respective securities commissions. Links to these organizations are available through the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website under Provincial and Territorial Regulators. The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) is a national self-regulatory organization that oversees all investment and securities dealers in Canada.

  6. Q. How can I find out what happened to funds in an old (dormant) bank account?

    A. You can find out what happened to funds in an old (dormant) bank account by contacting the financial institution where the account was held if the account has been inactive less than 10 years. However, under the Bank Act, Canadian financial institutions are required to transfer all Canadian currency accounts that have been inactive or dormant for 10 years to the Bank of Canada, which is responsible for posting information on unclaimed balances. Therefore, you may wish to check its searchable database.

  7. Q. Is OSFI involved in deterring and detecting money laundering?

    A. OSFI works closely with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), to share information concerning the policies and procedures that Canadian financial institutions have in place for complying with Part I of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA). Various provisions of the PCMLTFA and the Criminal Code give FINTRAC and OSFI the responsibility for dealing with issues related to the financing of terrorist activities.

  8. Q. What role do FINTRAC and OSFI play in these crime-detecting efforts?

    A. FINTRAC's role includes detecting, preventing and deterring the financing of terrorist activities, while OSFI acts as a central reporting point.

  9. Q. With so many reports of hacking and cyber-attacks in the news these days, can I count on OSFI to work with banks to protect deposit holders against such attacks?

    A. Cyber-risk is an issue of increasing concern for everyone in the financial services industry. OSFI conducts reviews of financial institutions' cyber protection practices as part of its supervision of institutional risk management policies and practices.

  10. Q. I have some concerns about my life, health or property and casualty insurance — can OSFI respond to my concerns?

    A. OSFI's authority in insurance matters is limited to ensuring, to the extent possible, that federally registered insurance companies remain able to meet their obligations to you, as a policyholder or a creditor.

  11. Q. I have a question about the legality of a clause in the contract I have with my insurance company. Can OSFI help me with that?

    A. OSFI cannot help you with matters involving contracts, general business practices and underwriting criteria for insurance companies, which fall exclusively under provincial jurisdiction. Therefore, you may wish to contact your provincial insurance regulator for advice. You can find their contact information through the website of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, listed under Provincial and Territorial Insurance Regulators.

  12. Q. What about other insurance questions? Where do I turn if I need help with them?

    A. That depends on the nature of your questions. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association offers an OmBudService to assist with questions or complaints. The Insurance Bureau of Canada, which represents property and casualty insurers, also provides assistance to consumers with insurance concerns.

  13. Q. How does OSFI respond to whistleblowers – including allegations that a financial institution is engaging in misconduct or illegal business practices?

    A. OSFI takes allegations of potential misconduct seriously. We accept complaints in writing only, either by email or regular mail (see Contact Us). We will forward your information to the appropriate area within OSFI for review and action.

  14. Q. Will OSFI inform me of what is happening with my complaint?

    A. Due to a confidentiality requirement in the OSFI Act, we are not able to report back to you with any information on the progress or outcome of our work