On November 14, 2023, Saskatchewan’s legislative assembly introduced Bill 150 The Securities (Saskatchewan Investors Protection) Amendment Act, 2023 which, amongst proposed amendments, seeks to grant the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) binding authority. The IIAC wrote to the Standing Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs and Justice and to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General advocating for a wider, more fulsome discussion regarding low cost, flexible, dispute resolution options and service providers for investors in Canada. Investors deserve choice. A monopoly imposed by regulation has inhibited the discussion and compromised investor choices.
With respect to the request for binding authority, an ombudsperson is to remain informal, neutral, confidential, and independent. To maintain these key qualities, an ombudsperson would typically not produce any findings or make binding decisions. Non-binding authority for ombuds services is common. (IOSCO) does not include ‘binding authority’ for an ombudsperson in its sound practice recommendations for complaint handling and redress systems for retail investors.