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FSCO on the National Stage
In today’s global environment, financial services are more interconnected, crossing jurisdictional and virtual boundaries. Canada’s provincial and federal governments are committed to a modern, open and competitive Canadian economy, and work in partnership to reduce barriers to trade, investment and worker mobility. As part of those efforts, FSCO acts as a key player at many national tables, leading and supporting policy initiatives to protect consumers and pension plan beneficiaries in Ontario and increase confidence in the regulated sectors.
THE BENEFITS OF NATIONAL COORDINATION
FSCO actively promotes a coordinated national approach to regulatory issues, which contributes to positive outcomes for Ontario’s consumers and the industries it regulates:
- Consumers can expect a similar level of protection across jurisdictions;
- Entities can spend more time delivering services to consumers or pension plan beneficiaries and less time managing differences in the regulatory requirements in multiple jurisdictions;
- Consumers can benefit from increased market competition, new entrants and greater innovation; and
- Regulators can better identify emerging trends and strive to adopt best practices.
Through its national memberships, FSCO has been involved in a number of initiatives in 2016-17 that help support these outcomes.
FSCO'S NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP
FSCO sits as a member of the following national organizations:
- Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators
- Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organization
- Mortgage Broker Regulator’s Council of Canada
- Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities
- Canadian Automobile Insurance Rate Regulators
- General Insurance Statistical Agency
- Joint Forum of Financial Market Regulators
FSCO frequently serves as Chair or Vice-Chair of these groups, representing the province. In 2016-17, FSCO’s CEO was Chair of GISA, and Vice Chair of CAPSA, CCIR and MBRCC. FSCO also provides secretariat services to CAPSA, CCIR, MBRCC and GISA, which includes policy research; governance, project and operational support; and coordinating quarterly meetings.
HARMONIZATION OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
CISRO, with participation from FSCO, implemented the Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP), an entry-level qualification program required for new life and accident and sickness insurance agents that ensures they are qualified and have the financial literacy to provide advice to consumers, in conjunction with other members of CISRO. The LLQP harmonized several different provincial educational standards into one common standard used across Canada. FSCO has worked with stakeholders over the last year to ensure course providers were prepared for program delivery and continues to evaluate the quality of the updated LLQP examinations.
FSCO also supported the work of the Mortgage Broker Regulators’ Council of Canada (MBRCC) to launch a new online database that helps consumers, mortgage brokerages and regulators see if mortgage brokers have broken the rules that govern their profession. The database creates a single, comprehensive, publicly-available resource to see disciplinary actions taken against a broker by their provincial mortgage regulator and other Canadian regulators.
STREAMLINING MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL CHALLENGES
Multi-jurisdictional pension plans are a significant source of retirement income for Canadians. As Canada’s largest pension regulator, FSCO led the development of the 2016 Agreement Respecting Multi-Jurisdictional Pension Plans through its membership in the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA).
As a result of this work, representatives of the governments of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan signed the 2016 agreement, which came into effect on July 1, 2016 and replaces an earlier 2011 agreement. The new agreement helps streamline the administration of pension plans with members in multiple jurisdictions, enhancing the sustainability of these plans and the retirement security they provide to plan beneficiaries.
As a member of the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR), FSCO supported its efforts to develop the Framework for Cooperative Market Conduct Supervision in Canada. Through this framework, provincial regulators responsible for supervising insurer market conduct work together to conduct regulatory activities. For example, regulators from different provinces can now jointly conduct investigations into the actions of an insurer and share information about those investigations. The first coordinated activities took place in fiscal 2016-17.
The introduction of cooperative supervisory activities has allowed provincial regulators to share resources, information and results. This creates efficiencies, enables stronger oversight across jurisdictions, and leads to better consumer protection in the insurance marketplace.
SUPPORTING MARKET INNOVATION, COMPETITION AND NEW ENTRANTS
FSCO works to support innovation and competition in the markets it regulates as a way to provide consumers with options that meet their needs over time. It was an early supporter of electronic proof of auto insurance, approving an interim electronic insurance card for use for ridesharing in July 2016. It is working with the CCIR on the approval and implementation of broader use of the electronic proof of insurance card for Ontario consumers. CCIR sought public input on its recommendations and continues to consult with industry and government.
IDENTIFYING EMERGING TRENDS AND ADOPTING BEST PRACTICES
Through its partnership within national regulatory associations, FSCO is working to identify emerging trends in the sectors it regulates and to align its regulatory efforts with best practice standards.
FSCO supported the efforts of the CCIR to develop and launch a new Annual Statement on Market Conduct, which applies to both the property and casualty and life and health insurance sectors. It requires insurers to file information related to their governance, practices and policies with respect to the fair treatment of consumers. Announced in February 2017, the statement was made available to insurers across all jurisdictions in late March 2017. Insurers have until May 1, 2017 to file a return. FSCO will use this information to better understand market practices, identify emerging risks and determine where to direct regulatory resources across the province.
FSCO also took a leadership role in best practice standards development through CAPSA. It supported the revision and modernization of CAPSA’s Pension Plan Governance Guideline, its most-requested guideline. The objective was to help pension plan administrators maintain effective plan governance in the current market context. FSCO examined industry and regulatory developments, reviewed established international best practices, and worked with industry experts on pension plan governance. The revised guideline and related self-assessment questionnaire were released in December 2016.
FSCO has also been working with other jurisdictions through the Canadian Automobile Insurance Rate Regulators (CARR) to identify best practices related to insurance rate filing approvals and ways to harmonize them.
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