Home Regulators Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

On this page, you will learn about the FCAC (Financial Consumer Agency of Canada) and how it regulates the Canadian financial markets. We will cover their responsibilities, importance and how they can help money transfer customers. Understanding the role of the FCAC will provide confidence in the economy when sending money to Canada

Updated: 09/09/2022
Read time: 7 minutes
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What Is the FCAC?

The financial consumer agency of Canada (FCAC) is an agency set up by the Government of Canada to enforce the law on consumer protection of financial products. They provide support and information so consumers can better understand their rights.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) protects financial consumers by overseeing federally regulated financial entities and by strengthening the financial literacy of all Canadians. It means consumers can determine what laws protect them against money transfer companies

The FCAC was formed in 2001, and its headquarters are in Ottawa, Ontario. They have 209 employees and an annual budget of 45.9 million CAD. The agency executive is Judith Robertson, and they monitor financial institutions that are federally regulated. A financial institution is not necessary a bank. Some financial institution examples are those businesses that offer financial monetary transactions.

You can get a complete list of financial institutions that fall under the scope of the FCAC from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. The creation of the regulatory body came from a long period of study regarding the Canadian financial services sector stability. 

What Is the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) Responsible for?

Now let us take a closer look at what the FCAC is responsible for and its primary duties. Once you learn about the vital work the FCAC does to protect consumers; you can better trust the financial markets when sending money to Canada

  • Compliance: the FCAC ensures that federally regulated financial entities adhere to the country’s laws. This means checking up on individual financial organizations to monitor their practices. 
  • Promote financial literacy: The FCAC published the National Strategy for Financial Literacy, and now it offers various educational tools for consumers to understand better their rights and how to manage money using the Canadian financial markets. This ensures that consumers are in the best position to succeed financially. Also, they must explain the financial products available better so that consumers can understand what they are getting into. 
  • Trends: the regulator monitors trends to spot potential consumer financial market problems. Then steps can be taken to protect consumers by educating them and also enforcing legislation. 
  • Develop programs: the FCAC develops programs aimed at helping Canadians manage their finances. This work is done in collaboration with many other organizations across the country. 

The work that the FCAC is tasked to accomplish is set out by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act. The two main elements of the act include monitoring the compliance of federally regulated financial institutions and improving the nation’s financial literacy. In March 2012, the Parliament of Canada officially designated November as Financial Literacy Month in Canada.

The Commissioner of the FCAC has a five-year term that they report annually to the Parliament of Canada via the Minister of Finance. The report must include the FCAC’s performance and the financial institutions that they are responsible for overseeing. 

Why Is the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) Important?

In this section, you will learn about the importance of the FCAC concerning the Canadian economy. Therefore, you can trust better when transferring large amounts of money to Canada. 

  • Help consumers spot poor deals: the FCAC is there to protect the general public, but they are not always there to help consumers make the best financial choice. Ideally, consumers should make the best choice using their own knowledge, and the FCAC provides this education. In addition, this will help money transfer customers spot financial institutions that are charging too much in fees. 
  • Places trust in the economy: since the FCAC holds financial organizations accountable for how they interact with consumers, this improves the trust in the economy. As a result, consumers will invest and get mortgages, loans, and other financial products with more peace of mind. 
  • Improves financial organizations: the FCAC can look at the practices of poorly performing financial organizations and offer suggestions for how they can improve. This ensures that they can provide better products to consumers. 
  • Reduces consumers going bankrupt: the financial literacy advice that the financial consumer agency of Canada (FCAC) provides will reduce the number of people making bad decisions. This means people should have more savings and ensure that they spend what they can afford. 
  • Punishes bad actors: the FCAC has the power to fine financial institutions that violet the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act. The maximum penalty for a violation is CAD 1,000,000. 

A case study of the FCAC deciding to fine a federally regulated bank includes the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank). The FCAC concluded that they violated the Negative Option Billing Regulations between 2014 and 2018 by failing to get consent before offering credit cards or lines of credit. The fine was $80,000 for the offence. 

FCAC Regulations

Now let us delve deeper into the scope and limitations of the financial consumer agency of Canada. This section shares essential aspects of the work they do at a glance. Therefore, money transfer consumers can easily learn why the FCAC is a substantial regulatory body

Regulations: the regulatory powers of the FCAC are strong because they are an organization created by the Government of Canada. The acts that indicate the regulations they can enforce include the Bank Act, the Insurance Companies Act, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Cooperative Credit Associations Act, the Green Shield Canada Act, the Payment Card Networks Act and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act. 

Crimes: the FCAC does not directly deal with crimes such as money laundering and theft. However, it can report such crimes to the relevant authorities. Instead, the FCAC deals with financial violations of the acts listed above. 

Industries: the industries covered by the FACA include banks and federally governed financial institutions. You can view the complete list of entities it oversees from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Accountability: the FCAC is accountable to the Government of Canada. More specifically, the Governor reports to the Parliament annually about their performance. 

What Regions Does the FCAC Cover?

The FCAC covers the whole geographical area of Canada. Therefore, all financial institutions in Canada are potential candidates to be examined by the FCAC. Also, they might cooperate with international organizations to better complete their duties. For example, in the case of international money transfers, they may need to get information from the company or bank where the money originated. 

When Might You Encounter the FCAC?

You might encounter the FCAC when you want to learn more about managing your finances. They offer tools and programs that promote financial responsibility and how to make the most of your available funds. Also, you can learn about the quality of financial products provided by various banks and other financial organizations. 

Can the FCAC Make New Rules?

Yes, the FCAC has the authority to make new rules and enforce them under the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act. That is because they are a Canadian Government appointed organization, which means they have strong powers to change legislation to improve the Canadian financial markets. 

How to Contact the FCAC?

You may contact the FCAC if you have trouble using the Canadian financial system or want to learn more about managing your money correctly. Below are their contact details available for the general public – including customers using money transfer companies

  • Phone: The English number is 1-866-461-FCAC (3222), the French one is 1-866-461-ACFC (2232), and the international one is 613-960-4666. 
  • Mailing address: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, 427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th Floor
    Ottawa ON K1R 1B9.

Bottom Line

To summarize, the FCAC is a crucial regulator created by the Government of Canada. Their primary roles include ensuring that federally regulated financial institutions follow the rules and laws and improving the general public’s financial literacy. Therefore, money transfer customers can have peace of mind when sending money to financial organizations within Canada. 

To learn more about the best ways to transfer funds to Canada, we encourage you to read our other guides. For example, you can start with Send Money To Canada and Send Money from the United States to Canada. These guides enable you to find the best companies for reducing fees and getting the best FX rates. 

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