Your Right to Basic Banking Services
How to File a Complaint
You have a right to basic banking services.
If your bank cancels or refuses to open a bank account for you because you have been or are in bankruptcy they are breaking the laws of the land.
The law is set out in Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations of the Bank Act.
3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), subsection 448.1(1) of the Act does not apply in the following circumstances:
(a) if the member bank has reasonable grounds to believe that the retail deposit account will be used for illegal or fraudulent purposes;
(b) if the individual has a history of illegal or fraudulent activity in relation to providers of financial services and if the most recent instance of such activity occurred less than seven years before the day on which the request to open a retail deposit account is made;
(c) if the member bank has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual, for the purpose of opening the retail deposit account, knowingly made a material misrepresentation in the information provided to the member bank;
(d) if the member bank has reasonable grounds to believe that it is necessary to refuse to open the retail deposit account in order to protect the customers or employees of the member bank from physical harm, harassment or other abuse; or
(e) if the request is made at a branch or point of service of a member bank at which the only retail deposit accounts offered are those that are linked to an account at another financial institution.
Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act – Bank Account Access
Bankruptcy (2) For greater certainty and for the purpose of paragraph (1)(a), the fact that the individual is or has been a bankrupt does not, by itself without any evidence of fraud or any other illegal activity in relation to the bankruptcy, constitute reasonable grounds for a member bank to believe that an account for the individual will be used for illegal or fraudulent purposes.
4. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and for the purpose of subsection 448.1(1) of the Act, the conditions to be met by an individual who is requesting that a member bank open a retail deposit account for the individual are as follows:
(a) the individual shall present to the member bank
(ii) one piece of identification from among those set out in Part A of the schedule, if the identity of the individual is also confirmed by a client in good standing with the member bank or by an individual of good standing in the community where the member bank is situated;
(b) the individual shall disclose, orally or in writing, the information listed in Part C of the schedule if the information is not available on the pieces of identification presented by the individual; and
(c) if the member bank requests, the individual shall consent to the member bank’s verifying whether any of the circumstances set out in paragraphs 3(1)(a) to (d) apply to the individual, and to the member bank’s verifying the pieces of identification presented by the individual.
5. If the member bank refuses to open a retail deposit account owing to the existence of any of the circumstances set out in paragraphs 3(1)(a) to (e) or owing to the individual’s not meeting the conditions prescribed under these Regulations, the member bank shall provide to the individual, in writing,
(a) notice of its refusal to open the account; and
(b) a statement indicating that the individual may contact the Agency if they have a complaint and how the individual can contact the Agency.
Right to basic banking services – PART A
1. A drivers’ licence issued in Canada, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law
2. A Canadian passport
3. A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or a Certification of Naturalization, in the form of a paper document or card but not a commemorative issue
4. A Permanent Resident card or Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form IMM 1000 or IMM 1442
5. A birth certificate issued in Canada
6. A Social Insurance Number card issued by the Government of Canada
7. An Old Age Security card issued by the Government of Canada
8. A Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada
9. A provincial health insurance card, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law
10. A document or card, bearing the individual’s photograph and signature, issued by any of the following authorities or their successors:
(a) Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
(b) Alberta Registries
(c) Saskatchewan Government Insurance
(d) Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
(e) Department of Transportation and Public Works of the Province of Prince Edward Island
(f) Service New Brunswick
(g) Department of Government Services and Lands of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
(h) Department of Transportation of the Northwest Territories
(i) Department of Community Government and Transportation of the Territory of Nunavut
Right to basic banking services -PART B
1. An employee identity card, issued by an employer that is well known in the community, bearing the individual’s photograph
2. A bank or automated banking machine or client card, issued by a member of the Canadian Payments Association in the name of, or bearing the name of, the individual and bearing the individual’s signature
3. A credit card, issued by a member of the Canadian Payments Association in the name of, or bearing the name of, the individual and bearing the individual’s signature
4. A Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) client card bearing the individual’s photograph and signature
5. A foreign passport
Right to basic banking services – PART C
1. The individual’s name
2. The individual’s date of birth
3. The individual’s address, if any
4. The individual’s occupation, if any
Call 1-866-461-3222 or e-mail the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada If you believe that a financial institution has breached a consumer law. We can no longer recommend using the services of the Banking Ombudsman. Their power has been severely curtailed.
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