In the 2012 Ontario Budget, the government announced that it plans to make changes to the financial hardship unlocking program, to make it easier for individuals to access the money in their locked-in accounts. For answers to frequently asked questions on the changes that were announced, refer to the questions below.
Under the current program, individuals who qualify under specific circumstances of financial hardship may submit an application to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) for special access to the money in their locked-in accounts. Until the new rules come into effect, applications should continue to be submitted to FSCO. For more information on the application process, including forms and instructions, refer to FSCO’s web page on Applying for Financial Hardship Withdrawal. If you have additional questions, you may wish to contact us by mail, fax or telephone:
Financial Services Commission of Ontario
Financial Hardship Unlocking Section
5160 Yonge Street, Suite 1600
Toronto ON M2N 6L9
Tel: (416) 250-7250
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-668-0128
Fax: (416) 226-7880
Q: How is the financial hardship unlocking program affected by the proposed changes contained in the consultation released on November 13, 2012?
A: The consultation proposes that Ontario’s financial hardship unlocking program be restructured so that the consent of the Superintendent of Financial Services will no longer be required to withdraw money from locked-in accounts due to financial hardship. When the new rules come into effect, individuals will be able to request withdrawals directly from the financial institutions that hold their locked-in accounts. In addition, new financial hardship unlocking forms that are approved by the Superintendent will be made available. -11/12
Q: Will the current rules for financial hardship unlocking still apply now that the consultation has been announced?
A: Yes. The current rules for financial hardship unlocking continue to apply to all applications. Once the consultation has been completed, the government will determine how it will proceed and any changes to the application process and any other rules that will apply to the financial hardship unlocking. Once the information becomes available, it will be posted on FSCO’s website. -11/12