FSRA Consumer Advisory Panel (Panel) meeting with the Board of Directors

Summary of the meeting of May 24, 2024

Consumer Advisory Panel members present:

Laura Tamblyn Watts, Chair
Harvey Naglie, Vice-Chair
Lucy Becker
Leeann Corbeil
Terri Williams Kinghorn
Ellen Bessner
Ninette Ibanez
Peter D’Iorio
Julie Kuzmic
Zahir Dharsee
Chris M Robinson
Udia Umoette

Board members present:

Joanne De Laurentiis
Kathyrn Bouey
Rob Wellstood
Peggy McCallum
Stewart Lyons
Joseph Iannicelli
Ali Salhuddin
Lucie Tedesco
Brent Zorgdrager
Joseph Iannicelli

Management members present: 

Mark White – Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Fung – Executive Vice President, Pensions
Glen Padassery – Executive Vice President, Policy / Executive Vice President, Auto Insurance
Mehrdad Rastan – Executive Vice President, Credit Union and Insurance Prudential
Stephen Power – Executive Vice President, Corporate Services
Joel Gorlick – Head, Cross-Sectoral Policy
Judy Pfeifer – Chief Public Affairs Officer
Stuart Wilkinson – Chief Consumer Officer
Paul Reid – Chief Financial Officer
Diana Green – Senior Policy Analyst

General comments:

The Chair of the Board welcomed the Panel to the meeting. The Consumer Advisory Panel (the Panel) reported on its activities in the 2023-24 term. The Panel provided input on FSRA’s principles-based regulatory framework, the financial environment, and financial risks for consumers. Additionally, the Panel presented options for FSRA to measure successful outcomes for consumers through the strategic discussion.

The Panel Chair gave an overview of the Panel's development, its engagement model, and highlighted the Panel’s activities in the past year, including its new members, working groups, as well as its first ever Consumer Advocates Meetup.

The Panel discussed FSRA’s regulatory framework as a principles-based regulator and opportunities to enhance consumer protection within the framework through guidance and rules where necessary. To inform the success of the measures taken, the Panel suggested that FSRA focus on gathering data related to consumer outcomes and providing clear guidance for consumers.

The Panel provided industry-specific examples where FSRA can enhance consumer protection through education and knowledge:

 Auto insurance reform and claims handling

The Panel provided an overview of the auto insurance claims handling process and its impact on consumers, including suggestions to provide consumers with clear, relevant, and timely information about how to navigate the process.

Consumer awareness and education

The Panel highlighted the current financial environment in Ontario, underscoring that increased financial stress imposes a “cognitive tax” and makes consumers more vulnerable to fraud, unsuitable financial products, privacy and security breaches, and poorer financial decision-making. The Panel stressed the importance of financial education as well as a financial ecosystem that provides relevant and timely advice for consumers making financial decisions.

Consumer-focused financial advice and transparency

The Panel provided a high-level overview of demographic change in Ontario, such as an increasingly older population and a large influx of new Canadians and immigrants in Ontario. The Panel recommended that financial advice provided to consumers needs to consider the unique factors affecting each individual and prioritize the consumer's best interests.

Measuring outcomes

The Panel provided an overview of the benefits of defined benefit pension plans in Ontario and the risks that other fee-based plans have, especially for retired consumers. The Panel also noted that increasing data gathering related to pension plans and insurance will provide FSRA with the means to measure its regulatory effectiveness and outcomes for consumers.

The Panel also suggested FSRA could incorporate Gender-Based Analysis Plus as well as Truth and Reconciliation into training and policy development tools.

The Board thanked the Panel for the presentation and indicated that many of the themes presented align with FSRA’s ongoing work, such as consumer education and protection, plain language, and an emphasis on data collection.

Consumer Advisory Panel submissions to the Board: