Making a complaint: reporting wrongdoing

If you believe that an individual or firm has broken securities laws, acted fraudulently or otherwise acted improperly, always report it to the Ontario Securities CommissionOntario Securities Commission An independent Crown corporation that is responsible for regulating the capital markets in Ontario. Its mandate is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic…+ read full definition (OSCOSC See Ontario Securities Commission.+ read full definition).

Matters of wrongdoing may include:

  • unregistered people or businesses offering you investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition products;
  • a person or business taking money out of your accountAccount An agreement you make with a financial institution to handle your money. You can set up an account for depositing and withdrawing, earning interest, borrowing, investing, etc.+ read full definition, or buying or selling securities with your money without first getting your permission (this does not apply if you have set up a discretionary account, which allows your financial advisor to make trades at their discretion); or
  • a person or business who offers you confidential information or “insiderInsider Every director/senior officer of a reporting issuer; every director/senior officer of a company that is an insider or subsidiary of a reporting issuer; any person/company who owns or controls more than 10% of the voting securities of a reporting issuer.+ read full definition” tips.

If you have a dispute about a registered person or business that may have acted inappropriately (for example, by recommending investments that are unsuitable for you based on the information you gave them) and you have lost money that you wish to get back, learn more about seeking compensation.

Reporting wrongdoing enables regulators to take action and may prevent it from happening to anyone else. Depending on the nature of the issue, you may be referred to a regulator which oversees a specific part of the securities market (such as mutual funds), an ombudsman or to law enforcement.

When you report an issue, you may be asked to provide additional information or be interviewed by regulators about the issue. Consider keeping a file of relevant document such as application forms, agreements, account statements, letters, faxes, emails and notes of conversations.

Regulators may work with law enforcement if criminal activity, such as fraud, is suspected. However, regulators normally do not recover money for investors and cannot:

  • provide legal advice;
  • undo a transactionTransaction The process where one person or party buys goods or services from another for money. Examples include taking money out of an account, buying something with a credit card or taking out a loan.+ read full definition;
  • comment on an ongoing investigation; or
  • make a complaint on your behalf.

Take action

If you suspect a person or business has broken securities laws, acted fraudulently or otherwise improperly, report it to the Ontario Securities Commission. The Ontario Securities Commission can investigate potential wrongdoing and can impose sanctions on those that break the rules.

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