Tips for making an effective complaint

Take some time up front to clearly define the problem and the outcome you expect. This can help you make a stronger case and put you in a better position to get the results you want.

Some complaints may be resolved quickly. More complex complaints may require several steps.

Need help along the way?

You can call us at any time to discuss your options.

Reports about potential breaches of Ontario securities law can be made to the OSC by telephone, e-mail, and by submitting an online complaint or tip form. Our online complaint form outlines what we need from you in order to look into your complaint.

Gather the facts and your documents

1. Gather the facts and your documents

Think about the problem and the result that you want. Write down the main points in the order that they occurred. For instance, note the name of the firm, the accounts and securities involved, who you dealt with, key dates and the circumstances surrounding the issue.

Put together a file of any supporting documents. Include copies of application forms, statements, transaction confirmations, cancelled cheques, agreements, certificates and all relevant correspondence. Never send the originals of any documents in case they get lost.

Put it in writing

2. Put it in writing

It’s best to make your complaint in writing. Make sure you include your complete address and a phone number or e-mail address where you can be reached.

Contact your representative or the firm

3. Contact your representative or the firm

Many problems can be solved quickly by contacting the person who sold you a product or provided you with a service. If you don’t have a representative, contact the customer service department of the firm you deal with. Make sure you specify the outcome you expect.

If you aren’t able to resolve the issue, ask about the firm’s complaints process and follow the steps suggested. This could involve speaking with a manager and the firm’s compliance department. We can help you locate contact information.

The firm is required to respond to you if you make a complaint about a product or service offered by the firm or recommended by a representative of the firm.

If your complaint is about a public company or an insider of a public company, contact the OSC directly.

4. Act quickly

It’s important to act quickly and to respond promptly to any requests for more information, especially if you want your money back. Delays could limit your options and legal rights later on. In general, you have to start a legal action within two years of the day you discovered (or should have discovered) your loss. This two-year limitation period is governed by Ontario law. The start of the limitation period depends on the particular facts of your situation.

Document everything

5. Document everything

Once you begin the complaint process, make sure you document all the steps you take to get it resolved. This includes telephone conversations, e-mails and faxes. Keep a log of the times and dates of phone calls, who you spoke with and what was discussed. Communicate in writing as much as possible and keep copies of all correspondence.