Report a Concern
Report a Concern
File a complaint to the BCSC.
If you have an investment-related complaint or concern, the BCSC can help. Before submitting your information, we recommend reviewing the information below to better prepare yourself prior to filing a complaint.
Learn About Our Complaint Process
The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) is the provincial agency responsible for protecting investors and regulating capital markets. We encourage complaints from the public to help us detect, disrupt, and deter securities misconduct in BC.
The BCSC also supervises other organizations that set and enforce rules of conduct for many market participants, including organizations that regulate investment dealers and mutual fund dealers. In most cases, these regulators are responsible for investigating investor complaints against their members.
If you believe you may have lost money due to an action or inaction made by your investment firm—such as providing you with unsuitable investment advice or making unsuitable or unauthorized trades on your account—you can file a complaint and hopefully resolve the issue.
To learn more in-depth information about our complaint process, see our overview.
Before You File A Complaint
Before you file, collect any relevant documents that support your complaint. If possible, have copies of your investment account statements or information related to the situation. You may also choose to save emails, text messages, or other forms of written communication. Submitting supporting documentation with your complaint can help us determine the best course of action.
If you have already contacted your investment advisor or their firm, it helps to provide those details when the complaint is filed.
What the BCSC Can & Cannot Do
The BCSC has a wide range of authority, including enforcement powers to disrupt, stop, and prevent unscrupulous market behaviour. Here is a summary of what the BCSC can and cannot do:
The BCSC Can
The BCSC Cannot
Other Ways to File a Complaint
We appreciate the time you spend completing this report. Contact BCSC Inquiries if you have questions, or have a problem completing the form.
BCSC Inquiries Group
Telephone: 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll free across Canada)
Complaints About Investment Advisors
Complaints about investment firms or representatives can range from problems with service quality or errors in account handling, to concerns that you have received poor investment advice or that securities rules may have been broken. The nature of your complaint and the type of firm involved will determine your best course of action.
Approach Your Investment Firm
Before pursuing action with a regulator, raise your concerns with the person who handles your account. They can often quickly clear up what may have been a misunderstanding.
If you are unable to resolve matters with your advisor, ask the firm for information about its formal complaint process. In most cases, the next step is to write a letter to the firm’s branch manager or compliance officer. The firm should acknowledge receipt of your letter, investigate your complaint, and then inform you of the outcome.
If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome, you have several options for pursuing your complaint outside the firm, depending on the outcome you are looking for, the type of firm you are dealing with, and the nature of your complaint.
- If you are looking for financial compensation, you can contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investment (OBSI). Read more about OBSI on the Seeking Financial Compensation page.
- If you are concerned the advisor or firm you deal with may have broken the rules, take your complaint to the appropriate regulator to ask for a regulatory review. You can request a regulatory review and pursue financial compensation options at the same time.
Document the Complaint Process
Once you begin the complaint process, it is important to document and record every step you take, including telephone conversations, faxes, and emails. Note all details such as the date, time, and name of the person you spoke with and what you discussed. Communicate in writing whenever possible.
Find the Right Regulator
Two self-regulatory organizations (SROs) supervise the business conduct of investment dealers and mutual fund dealers. SROs are industry associations that set and enforce rules and standards for their members and are answerable to the BCSC. Each SRO has a formal process for reviewing complaints about its member firms and their sales representatives.
- Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) can investigate complaints and take disciplinary action. File a complaint through IIROC.
- Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) can investigate complaints and take disciplinary action. File a complaint through the MFDA.
Complaints about advisors and dealers that are not members of an SRO should be made to the BCSC in the following cases:
- Complaints about portfolio managers and investment counsel, scholarship plan dealers, exchange contracts dealers, and other limited dealers.
- Complaints about an individual or company trading or advising without being registered.
- Complaints that have not been satisfactorily resolved by other organizations.
Complaints About Companies
If you have a complaint about an investment you made in a company or concerns about the conduct of a company, its directors, or officers, you have a number of options.
Complaints About the Conduct of a Public Company
Regulators can conduct reviews and take enforcement action against companies and their directors and officers when they break the rules, but generally cannot order compensation for financial losses. If you are concerned about the conduct of a public company, here is how to proceed:
Determine which Regulator has Jurisdiction
If a public company is reporting in a number of provinces, the primary regulator is usually the province where the company has its head office or principal place of business. You can search a public company’s name on SEDAR and its profile will generally list its principal regulator.
- Determine which regulator handles the type of complaint you have:
- When a public company in BC wants to raise money by selling its securities, it must follow the requirements of the Securities Act. The BCSC is responsible for enforcing the Act and is charged with investigating and acting against market misconduct by BC companies selling securities, or companies from outside BC selling securities to BC investors.
The BCSC and Canada’s other provincial securities commissions have delegated regulatory authority to certain industry organizations and stock exchanges. These self-regulatory organizations establish and enforce rules for the protection of investors and promote fair, equitable, and ethical practices among market participants. The SROs are also responsible for industry compliance with securities law.
- If your complaint is about a trading-related matter involving a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) or the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX Venture), you can send your complaint to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
If your complaint is about the disclosure practices of any company listed on the TSX or TSX Venture Exchange, you can file it directly with them:
TSX – firstname.lastname@example.org
TSX Venture Exchange – email@example.com
- Complaints About an Investment in a Private Company
Although private companies may not have to file a prospectus with the BCSC to sell their securities, they must comply with the Securities Act, which limits how and to whom they can sell their securities.
- Our private placements section explains what private companies must do to legally raise money in private transactions and the risks of investing in private companies. If you believe that a private company has broken any of these rules in selling you its securities, contact the BCSC.
- Under the Securities Act, a purchaser can take action if there was a misrepresentation in a company’s disclosure documents, or the purchaser did not receive a required disclosure document. Although the BCSC enforces the Securities Act, we cannot order financial compensation for investor losses. To pursue financial compensation, you must go through the courts. Review the Seeking Financial Compensation page for more information on this topic.