Step by Step Financial Services Complaint Process

1. Talk to your bank or investment firm first

Make your complaint to the person at the bank or investment firm you are dealing with.

If you are not satisfied after that...

2. Escalate your complaint at your firm

Most places have one or two levels to resolve your complaint. Banks and federal credit unions have 56 days to help you. Investment firms and provincial credit unions have 90 days to help you.

Still not happy?

3. Find out if your firm belongs to OBSI

We can investigate complaints about firms that participate in our service. Use this tool to find out if your firm participates.

If they are a participating firm, then...

4. Call or email us

You can call us if you are not satisfied with the final answer your financial institution gave you or if your: 1) bank or federal credit union has not provided a response to your complaint in 56 days; 2) your investment firm or provincial credit union has not provided a response to your complaint in 90 days.

But don't wait too long...

5. Submit your complaint to OBSI

You have 180 days to bring your complaint to us after the firm has given you a final response. You can submit your complaint to OBSI here.

Before we can start...

6. We need to make sure we can investigate your complaint

We will determine right away whether we can investigate your case based on the rules laid out in our mandate.

If your complaint is in our mandate....

7. You need to provide your permission and information

We will need you to provide consent for us to speak with your firm about you and your complaint before we begin our investigation. We also ask you to send us all the information you have regarding your complaint.

What does OBSI do then?

8. We investigate

How does this work? We talk to you and your firm. We look at the information you both sent us and we review the facts of the case.

After we've done that...

9. A recommendation is made

Our decisions are based on what's fair to both you and your firm. We consider general principles of good financial services and business practices, the law, regulatory policies and guidance, and any applicable professional standards, codes of practice or codes of conduct.

If we believe no compensation is owed to you...

We will let you know as soon as possible. We will explain our reasons in a letter to both you and your firm. You still have the right to pursue your complaint through other processes, such as the legal system.

If we believe you are owed compensation...

We try to settle the matter through discussions between you and your firm. We try to do this quickly to get a fair outcome for both of you. If you accept our recommendation and your firm accepts our recommendation, OBSI's work is then finished.

If we believe you are owed compensation but we can't get an agreement from the firm...

We will finish our investigation and prepare an official report with our recommendation included. You both will have a chance to comment on it. If the firm still refuses to compensate you, we then make public the name of your firm, our findings, and that your firm refused our recommendation. Your name is not made public.

10. Then what?

If you think we have made a mistake in our decision, you can submit your case to be reconsidered. Someone who has not been previously involved in your case will review your request.

The decision of the Ombudsman or an OBSI Reconsiderations Officer is final. However, when you use OBSI's services you do not give up any of your legal rights to pursue resolution in other forums such as in the courts.