Privacy Statement 

Last updated February 29, 2016.

At the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments ("OBSI", "we" or "us"), we are committed to protecting your privacy and safeguarding your personal information.

The purpose of this Privacy Statement is to inform you about the types of Personal Information OBSI collects, uses and discloses. It explains how we use and disclose that information, the choices you have regarding such use and disclosure, and how you may correct that information.

From time to time, we may make changes to this Privacy Statement. The Privacy Statement is current as of the "last revised" date which appears at the top of this page. We will treat Personal Information in a manner consistent with the Privacy Statement under which it was collected, unless we have your consent to treat it differently. This Privacy Statement applies to any information we collect or receive about you, from any source.

We may provide links on our website to other websites. Those websites may have different policies and we do not assume responsibility for the information or privacy practices of those other sites.

 1. What is Personal Information?
"Personal Information" is any information that is about an identifiable individual. This information may include, for example, your name, mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address. Personal Information, however, does not include your name, business title, business address, business telephone number, business e-mail address or business facsimile number in your capacity as an employee or official of an organization.
 2. How do we use Personal Information?

We generally use Personal Information for the following purposes (the "Purposes"):

  • to investigate and resolve complaints about a participating firm;
  • to respond to inquiries or complaints about OBSI;
  • to garner opinions and comments in regard to OBSI's operations;
  • to administer our business activities and website;
  • to communicate with Individuals about OBSI's activities;
  • for statistical research and demographic analysis;
  • if the Individual attends at our offices, to administer the physical security of our offices;
  • where appropriate, to recruit for positions in OBSI, and for planning and analysis relating to OBSI's recruitment efforts;
  • to investigate and respond to legal claims;
  • such purposes for which OBSI may obtain an Individual's consent from time to time; and
  • such other uses as may be permitted or required by applicable law.

If you make a complaint to OBSI about banking and other financial services, the facts concerning your complaint and any resolution, with personal identifiers removed, may be used to compile statistical data or prepare case studies, which may be made public.

 3. When and how do we obtain your consent?
We generally obtain your consent to the collection, use and disclosure of Personal Information at or before the time that we collect it, except in limited circumstances as required or permitted by law. You may provide your consent to us either orally, electronically or in writing. The form of consent that we seek, including whether it is express or implied, will largely depend on the sensitivity of the personal information and the reasonable expectations you might have in the circumstances. At any time, you may withdraw your consent to the collection, use or disclosure of your Personal Information for any Purpose.
 4. How do we collect your Personal Information?
We will always collect your Personal Information by fair and lawful means. We may collect Personal Information from you directly and/or from third parties, such as from participating firms, where we have obtained your consent to do so or as otherwise required or permitted by law.
 5. What safeguards have we implemented to protect your Personal Information?
We have implemented physical, organizational, contractual and technological security measures to protect your Personal Information from loss or theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.
 6. Where do we store your Personal Information?
We will keep the Personal Information that we collect either at the OBSI offices in Toronto, Ontario, at the home offices of our investigators, or at the offices of a service provider in Ottawa, Ontario. We also store your Personal Information in our data centres in the U.S. While your personal information is in the U.S., it is subject to U.S. laws, and may be subject to disclosure to the governments, courts or law enforcement or regulatory agencies in the U.S., pursuant to applicable laws.
 7. To whom do we provide your Personal Information?
We identify to whom, and for what purposes, we disclose your Personal Information, at the time we collect such information from you and obtain your consent to such disclosure. We will only make disclosures of Personal Information to such persons for whom you provide your consent, unless the disclosure is otherwise permitted or required by law.

We may transfer your Personal Information to third party service providers with whom we have a contractual agreement that includes appropriate privacy standards, where such third parties are assisting us with the Purposes - such as service providers that provide data storage or processing.

For written information about our practices regarding service providers outside of Canada, contact our Privacy Officer (see question 16 below).

8. How do we ensure the privacy of your Personal Information when dealing with third parties?
We ensure that all third parties with access to Personal Information, whether they are involved in a complaint, an investigation or otherwise, are contractually required to observe the intent of this Privacy Statement and our privacy practices.
9. How long will we utilize, disclose or retain your Personal Information?
We may keep a record of your Personal Information, correspondence or comments, in a file specific to you. We will utilize, disclose or retain your Personal Information only as long as necessary for the purposes for which that Personal Information was collected and as permitted or required by law. Where the Personal Information has been used to make a decision in respect of a complaint, we will retain the Personal Information for at least one year.
10. How do we keep your Personal Information accurate?
We will take reasonable steps to ensure that your Personal Information is kept as accurate, complete and up-to-date as possible. We require you to supply us with written updates to your Personal Information from time to time.
11. What if the Personal Information we have about you is inaccurate? 
At any time, you can challenge the accuracy or completeness of your Personal Information in our records. If you successfully demonstrate that your Personal Information in our records is inaccurate or incomplete, we will amend the Personal Information as required. Where appropriate, we will transmit the amended information to third parties having access to your Personal Information.
12. How can you access your Personal Information?
If you make a written request for information about your Personal Information, we will respond (and grant access to it, if requested) to the extent required by law. We will make such Personal Information available to you in a form that is generally understandable, and will explain any abbreviations or codes.
13. How fast will we respond to your written requests?
We will generally respond to your written request in 30 days after receipt of such a request. We will advise you in writing if we cannot meet your requests within this time limit, and of any recourse for complaints in respect of this time limit.
14. Are there any costs to you for requesting information about your Personal Information or our privacy practices?
Generally, we will respond to request for access to Personal Information or to information about our privacy practices at no cost. However, if the request will involve producing a significant volume of records, or require extensive search time by OBSI personnel, OBSI may charge a minimal reasonable fee to recover its costs (and OBSI will provide you with an estimate of any such fee for your consideration before proceeding).
 15. How do we know that it is really you requesting your Personal Information?
We must take reasonable steps to confirm the identity of an individual making a request for Personal Information. This may require us to request additional Personal Information to validate your identity when you request access to your Personal Information. OBSI will only use and disclose any additional information you provide to us for the purpose of fulfilling your request.
 16. How do you contact OBSI regarding access to your Personal Information or OBSI's privacy practices?

All comments, questions, concerns or complaints regarding your Personal Information, this Privacy Statement or our privacy practices, should be forwarded to our Privacy Officer as follows.

Privacy Officer
20 Queen Street West, Suite 2400
P.O. Box 8
Toronto, ON M5H 3R3
Toll-free: 1-888-451-4519
TTY: 1-844-358-3442
Fax: 1-888-422-2865



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