When are changes to the disciplinary hearing process effective?
- The changes are effective on January 1, 2015.
- If the Notice of Proposal was issued before December 31, 2014, the previous Advisory Hearing process will continue to have jurisdiction.
Why has the process been changed?
- The existing process had not been updated for over 90 years. Under the previous system, a hearing was held before an Advisory Board which would then make a recommendation on the appropriate action to the Superintendent or his delegate. The Superintendent or delegate would then review the recommendation and issue a decision - but the decision could be different than the recommendation.
- Under the new system, the Financial Services Tribunal (FST) issues one binding decision, as they do with other areas such as administrative monetary penalties.
How does the new FST process work?
- The Superintendent gives a written Notice of Proposal to the applicant or licensee, which outlines the reasons why the notice is being served, and the actions that will be taken.
- The notice also informs the applicant that they can request a hearing before the FST to appeal the notice. The applicant has 15 days to request a hearing, and the form to request a hearing is available on the FST website.
- If the individual doesn’t request a hearing, the Superintendent may carry out the proposal.
- If a hearing is held, the FST will review the case and issue a binding decision, which will direct the Superintendent to (a) carry out the proposal as is, (b) carry out the proposal with changes, or (c) carry out a different proposal which is based on the opinion of the FST. The FST can impose conditions that it considers appropriate in the situation.
- The detailed rules for FST practices and procedures are available on its website.
Are there insurance agents or insurer representatives on the FST?
- No. However, FST members are experts in the area of administrative tribunals and also have experience and expertise in the regulated sectors.
Can the decisions of the FST be appealed?
- Yes, they can be appealed to Divisional Court.
Are insurance brokers affected?
- No, insurance brokers are not affected as they are regulated by the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO).
Will these changes as part of Bill 15 have any affect in lowering auto insurance premiums?
- No, these amendments do not impact auto insurance premiums.
Are there other changes implemented as part of Bill 15?
- Yes, the Superintendent of Financial Services has been given additional powers in four areas:
- The Superintendent can issue an interim order to immediately suspend an agent’s or adjuster’s licence if the Superintendent is of the opinion there is risk to the public with the individual continuing to be licensed (s. 392.6). The individual can appeal the decision to the FST.
- A licensed individual may apply to the Superintendent to surrender their licence by completing a request for surrender. The Superintendent will allow the surrender, unless the Superintendent believes that the surrender is not in the public interest. If the surrender is allowed, the Superintendent may also impose conditions on the surrender. The Superintendent must also provide the applicant with the opportunity to appeal the decision to the FST
In considering the surrender, the Superintendent would need to consider whether there are any current disciplinary actions, outstanding complaints or investigations, or unpaid administrative monetary penalties. The Superintendent would also need to consider whether steps have been taken to notify clients, and what arrangements have been made to ensure services continue to be provided to existing clients.
- The Superintendent and/or the FST is now permitted to continue an action and make an order against an applicant or licensee if the applicant withdraws their application, or if the licensee has had licence has been suspended or its expires.
- The Superintendent now has authority to revoke or suspend an individual’s licence for failing to pay a fee or administrative penalty.