FSRA Consumer Advisory Panel
Meeting 4 – September 18, 2023
Laura Tamblyn Watts, Chair
Harvey Naglie, Vice-Chair
Chris M Robinson
FSRA staff / presenters
Mark White, Chief Executive Officer
Glen Padassery, EVP/ Policy, Auto Insurance
Judy Pfeifer, Chief Public Affairs Officer
Paul Reid, Chief Financial Officer
Stuart Wilkinson, Chief Consumer Officer
Chris Georgakopoulos, Director, Auto Policy
Joel Gorlick, Director, Policy – Market Conduct
Stephanie Appave, Director, Innovation
Jennie Hodgson, Sr Manager, Mortgage Broker
Loretta Pan, Sr Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis
Rocca D’Angela, Senior Manager, Mortgage Brokers
Emil Taimazov, Senior Accounting Advisor, Finance
Jisha Sarwar, Senior Policy and Technical Lead, CO
Kirubel Abebe, Sr Policy & Technical Lead, Title Protection
Trevor McKillop, Senior Policy and Technical Lead, Policy
Shamaila Mian, Senior Policy & Technical Lead, Policy
Diana Green, Senior Policy Analyst, CO
Lumi Simpson, Senior Policy Analyst, CO
Nicole Grijalva, Policy Analyst Co-Op, Policy
- The Panel shared recent observations related to the financial environment for consumers and upcoming relevant events in a roundtable discussion.
- FSRA presented the Panel with a consultation draft of its FY2024-25 Proposed Statement of Priorities and received the Panel’s initial feedback.
- FSRA presented a comparison analysis of its Complaints Framework with leading practices.
- FSRA presented proposed updates to the Panel's Terms of Reference and remuneration process. Additionally, the plan for new member recruitment and a proposal for a new Culture and Continuity Committee were discussed.
- Panel Vice-Chair presented updates on Panel’s Working Group’s activities.
- FSRA provided an update on a planned consumer advocacy meetup during financial literacy month (November).
Item 1: Welcome and introductory
- Chief Consumer Officer read the Land Acknowledgment
- The Chair mentioned that the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation Day is observed on September 30th. The Chair acknowledged the importance of this day and the need to reflect on the shared history and promote the values of reconciliation.
- The Chair welcomed all Panel members and provided an overview of the agenda.
Item 2: Environmental scan
- This item is an opportunity to share initiatives, conferences or opportunities related to the Panels mandate or interests.
- The Panel members mentioned several subjects of interest including:
- CanAge is working towards financial literacy month that is observed in November.
- The Council of Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation (CLEAR) will hold a conference on September 27-30, 2023, focusing on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
- Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) has reported a rise in complaints related to financial scams of seniors, particularly in retirement homes.
- Rapid rise in interest rates has a significant impact on consumers and should be a focus of financial services providers.
Item 3: FSRA’s FY2024-25 Statement of Priorities (SOP)
- FSRA’s proposed Statement of Priorities (SOP) was shared with the Panel.
- The Panel suggested having focused priorities, separate from ongoing work, with specified deliverables, timelines, KPI’s and budgetary commitments.
- The Panel considers the current housing issues - affordability, and rapid interest raises – and resulting impacts on consumers as requiring more emphasis in the environmental scan. Additionally changes in demographics, such as newcomers and seniors, should be added to the environmental scan.
- The Panel encourages FSRA to consider matrix budgeting in its next SOP setting to show consumers the budgetary commitments to consumer centric priorities.
- The Panel agrees on establishing an ad-hoc committee to compose a written submission to the SOP.
- The Panel proposes an expansion of the SOP focus to include:
- FSRA brand recognition and raising awareness of the regulator
- breaking down siloes and coordination between the functional areas
- address legislative gaps, such as gaps in FSRA’s authority constraining it from effectively carrying out its mandate
- effective investigation and enforcement
- The Panel recommends rewriting the document in plain language to make it accessible. An example of a guide was distributed during the meeting.
- The Panel supports increases higher than inflation rate to provide FSRA with the necessary budgetary support required for the efficient execution of its consumer protection mandate.
Item 4: Complaints
- FSRA provided an overview of FSRA’s Complaints Framework for the regulated sectors, and how it compares with leading practices.
- The Panel agreed there is alignment between the leading practices and the framework.
- The Panel suggested the following improvement to FSRA’s complaint handling:
- support principles-based regulations with clear guidance and rules outlining expectations, defining reasonable timelines and responses
- conduct regular review of complaint handling to evaluate effectiveness
- partner with other agencies to raise awareness and reach a larger pool of consumers
- conduct data analysis of complaints to evaluate the process, and its effectiveness
- The Panel opposes the use of Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) by regulated entities to prevent consumer complaints and suggests FSRA bar their use in that capacity.
- The Panel would like FSRA to have additional enforcement powers to manage complaints and address non-compliance by its regulated entities.
- The Panel is invited to review the complaints resolution framework and provide suggestions for improvement. FSRA’s Complaints Framework will be open for update and review next fiscal year. The Panel’s input will be taken into consideration during the update process.
Item 5: Panel working groups update
- The Vice-Chair provided general comments on the activities of all the working groups.
- The Vice-Chair emphasized that FSRA lacks legislative power to act at the consumer level. Therefore, the Panel's response letters and submissions should include calls for the government to provide FSRA with the necessary tools to effectively protect and enforce consumer rights at this level.
- The Vice-Chair provided updates on each of the working groups:
- segregated funds
- unclaimed deposits
- Financial Planners/Financial Advisors (FP/FA)
- mortgage suitability
Item 6: Panel administration
- The Consumer Office provided an overview of the proposed agenda for the remaining Panel meetings in the 2023-24 term.
- The Consumer Office presented the suggested changes and updates to the Panel’s Terms of Reference (TOR). The Panel agreed with all the proposed changes.
- The Consumer Office presented the timeline and plan for calling for new Panel members.
- The Panel agreed to strike up a Culture and Continuity Committee, to contribute to the recruitment and onboarding of new members.
- The Panel agrees with reaching out to other consumer advocacy and consumer focused organizations to extend invitations for membership applications to the Panel.
- The Consumer Office presented the new remuneration process. The Panel agreed with the proposal and suggested exploring options on automating the process.
Item 7: Outreach and public interest community
- The Panel is interested in hosting, with FSRA’s support, a meeting with likeminded consumer advocacy organizations.
- The focus of the discussion will be horizontal strategy and pressing issues in the financial industry.
Item 8: Closing remarks
- The Panel shared their desire for their work and best practices to be adopted in the global community and conferences, making an impact on consumer-focused initiatives.
- FSRA thanked all Panel members for attending the meeting and their contributions.