Monday, September 15, 1997

TORONTO - Today, the Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition (CCRC) released its position paper on the Canadian banking ombudsman system, and called for the creation of an independent banking ombudsman.

The CCRCís position paper, the first it has released, sets out detailed evidence of the significant flaws with the current system, and a series of recommendations for correcting these flaws based on much more fair systems in other jurisdictions.

"The Canadian banking ombudsmen are all selected, paid and directed by the banks, and they have no power to overrule a bank's decision even if it is clearly wrong," said Duff Conacher, Chairperson of the CCRC, "The system is unfair and biased toward the banks."

The position paper reviews the British and Australian banking ombudsman systems, which are more fair to consumers because the ombudsmen are independent and can make binding rulings. A 1994 House of Commons Industry Committee report recommended that the government establish a banking ombudsman based on the British model.

The position paper set out the following recommendations for correcting the flaws in the current Canadian ombudsman system:

"Canadians deserve a fair, efficient, and impartial ombudsman system that has the power to resolve complaints about banking service," said Conacher.

Summaries of Consumer Banking Complaints (September 1997)

The Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition (CCRC) has received complaints from bank consumers from across Canada over the past nine (9) months. Although we are not claiming that all of these complainants are correct in their complaint, we do believe that they have a right to a simple, inexpensive and efficient complaints process, including a fair hearing and an impartial ruling. The current Canadian banking ombudsman system does not provide any of these essential elements of an effective alternative dispute resolution process.

Below are set out summaries of 20 of the complaints we have received from people across Canada. Only their initials are provided because they have not yet decided whether to go public with their complaints. If the Canadian banking ombudsman system is working so well, why have all these people contacted the CCRC and are having such problems with the banks and the complaint-handling system?

Back to press release index

CCRC Home Page

Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition
P.O. Box 1040, Station B,
Ottawa, Canada K1P 5R1

Tel: (613) 789-5753
Fax: (613) 241-4758


Copyright 1998 CCRC