Consumer Advisory Panel members
Laura Tamblyn Watts
Board members present:
Joanne De Laurentiis – Chair of the Board
Blair Cowper-Smith - Director
Joseph Iannicelli - Director
Brent Zorgdrager – Director
Barbara Bellissimo – Director
Kathy Bouey – Director
Management members present:
Mark White – Chief Executive Officer
Glen Padassery – Executive Vice President, Policy & Chief Consumer Officer
Jordan Solway – Executive Vice President, Legal and Enforcement
Judy Pfeifer – Chief Public Affairs Officer
Stuart Wilkinson – Director, Policy – Auto/P&C Consumer Office
Reesha Hosein – Director, Legal Services and Deputy General Counsel
Chris Zolis – Director, Forensic Analysis and Investigations
Alena Thouin – Deputy General Counsel
Elissa Sinha – Director, Litigation and Enforcement and Deputy General Counsel
Rhea Tubigan – Senior Analyst
Corporate Secretary’s office:
Heather Greenberg – Corporate Secretary
Ligia Simoes – Assistant Corporate Secretary
The Chair of the Board welcomed the Panel to the meeting. She noted that the Board recognizes that effective engagement builds a stronger regulatory working relationship and trust and that it is important that both FSRA and its stakeholders share valuable information through open and strategic discussions.
The Panel provided an overview of its mandate, noting the Panel has actively participated as a channel to help ensure that consumer, member and beneficiary perspectives inform FSRA initiatives as part of FSRA’s stakeholder engagement process.
The Panel commented on current macro environmental/economic trends such as inflation and gasoline/food cost, market volatility, and the turbulent economy; and current micro environmental/economic trends such as the increase in insurance rates, fewer defined benefit plans, housing prices and affordability and mortgages.
The Panel discussed the strategic priority of consumer empowerment through knowledge, noting that the regulation of financial services is difficult to navigate for consumers and that there is a need for more up-front consumer education so they can better understand what to expect from their financial advisors. Potential solutions were put forward by the Panel, including implementing mandatory disclosure of the regulator in documentation as well as mandatory informational language in documentation to ensure consumers are fully informed of their options and risks.
The Panel discussed the strategic priority of the need to focus on processes and dispute resolution, noting that current processes result in consumer vulnerability and lack of consumer protection. Potential solutions were put forward by the Panel, including developing a consistent set of protocols, having a defined complaint process with meaningful penalties for insurers, and creating a clear route for consumers to follow to ensure fair and equitable processes. The Panel commended FSRA on its website, noting its instructive and well organized and recommended various areas for improvement, highlighting the need for the website to be consumer centric.
The Panel discussed the strategic priority of accessibility, inclusion and engagement, noting the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) perspectives, that the increase in the use of technology does not always benefit consumers, and that there is a need for increased consumer representation in several stakeholder advisory committees. Potential solutions were put forward by the Panel, including establishing relationships with community and government organizations, removing industry bias in stakeholder consultations, creating a consumer protection mindset and organization, and changing face of the population and language barriers.
The Chair thanked the Panel for their insight and for their thoughtful presentation, noting the Panel provided the Board with a lot to think about and discuss with management.