The OSFI story

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is an independent agency of the Government of Canada. We regulate and supervise more than 400 financial institutions and 1200 pension plans. 

Federally regulated institutions include:

  • all banks in Canada
  • all federally incorporated or registered trust and loan companies
  • insurance companies
  • fraternal benefit societies
  • private pension plans  

Check out Who we regulate for the full list of institutions we’re responsible for. 

For a list of important events in OSFI’s history, see our timeline.

Our mandate

Our purpose is to contribute to public confidence in the Canadian financial system by regulating and supervising approximately 400 federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs) and 1200 federally regulated pension plans (FRPPs).

Our mandate is to:

  • ensure FRFIs and FRPPs remain in sound financial condition
  • ensure FRFIs protect themselves against threats to their integrity and security
  • act early when issues arise and require FRFIs and FRPPs to take necessary corrective measures without delay
  • monitor and evaluate risks and promote sound risk management by FRFIs and FRPPs

In exercising our mandate:

  • for FRFIs, we strive to protect the rights and interests of depositors and creditors while having due regard for the need to allow FRFIs to compete effectively and take reasonable risks
  • for FRPPs, we strive to protect the rights and interests of pension plan members, former members and entitled beneficiaries

How we regulate and supervise financial institutions and pension plans

We use our regulatory framework to balance the goals of safety and soundness. This allows federally regulated financial institutions to operate in a competitive marketplace. 

We regulate by:

  • developing rules
  • interpreting legislation and regulations
  • providing regulatory approvals for certain types of transactions
  • contributing to new accounting, auditing and actuarial standards 

We supervise institutions by:

  • analyzing financial and economic trends to detect issues 
  • assessing financial conditions and material risks 
  • evaluating quality of governance, risk management and compliance

Our role and benefits to Canada

We play an important oversight role, but we don’t manage federally regulated financial institutions. Our goal is to balance both: 

  • competitiveness with financial stability
  • international standards with Canadian market realities 

Our regulation and supervision activities contribute to public confidence in the Canadian financial system. 

We’re funded through fees paid by regulated entities, not by Canadian taxpayers’ money. 

Our partners

We report to Parliament through the Minister of Finance. There are many processes to ensure the effective execution of our mandate. The Financial Institutions Supervisory Committee is one of them. 

Along with us, the other members of this committee are the:

  • Department of Finance
  • Bank of Canada
  • Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Financial Consumer Agency of Canada 

We meet quarterly to share information about supervision of federally regulated financial institutions.

Our corporate values

Our corporate values of respect, curiosity and stewardship represent who we are and where we want to go. They guide our actions and decision-making. 

These values are also an essential part of our journey to transform OSFI. We’re adapting to thrive in an era of uncertainty and maintain confidence that Canada’s financial system is sound. Our Blueprint is the compass for that journey and will allow us to:

  • refocus our mandate
  • expand our risk management capabilities
  • improve our culture 

The plan set out in the Blueprint will guide OSFI’s overall direction through the next few years.

Our international context

International organizations play a key role in the development of regulatory frameworks. They create a strong and stable global financial system. These organizations include:

  • the Financial Stability Board
  • the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
  • the International Association of Insurance Supervisors

We’ve earned a strong international reputation with our active participation with these organizations. 

Office of the Chief Actuary

The Office of the Chief Actuary is an independent unit within OSFI that provides actuarial valuation and advisory services to the federal government. 

See the Office of the Chief Actuary’s website for more information on their reports and role.