FAQ

  1. What happens when I send in the complaint form?
  2. Is the investigation private?
  3. How is the investigation handled?
  4. Will the Investigator’s report make recommendations?
  5. What if the bank refuses to follow the recommendations?
  6. What about limitations periods for going to court?
  7. Will ADRBO keep statistics?
  8. Who is on the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds office team?

What happens when I send in the complaint form?

Upon receipt of your Complaint Submission Form and supporting documents, which includes a Consent and Confidentiality Agreement (Download sample PDF), ADRBO will conduct an initial review to determine if your complaint falls within its mandate and whether a full investigation is warranted. If it not within ADRBO’s mandate to investigate, or if ADRBO decides that it is highly unlikely that an investigation would yield a different result than the bank’s position, a full investigation will not be undertaken, and you will be advised of this decision within 30 days of ADRBO obtaining all of the information required to make the decision. If your file is assigned for investigation, you will be notified and subsequently contacted by the investigator.

Is the investigation private?

Yes, the investigation process is private and confidential, and the information you provide will not be disclosed publicly (subject to specific exceptions set out in the Consent and Confidentiality Agreement). Each complainant and the bank concerned will have the opportunity to disclose information and documents to the investigator, which will be confidential as between all involved. Any information provided may be disclosed to the other party to the complaint, unless we are advised not to. However, if ADRBO is advised that certain information may not be disclosed to the other party, that information cannot be considered by the investigator in reaching his/her recommendation.

How is the investigation handled?

ADRBO strives to ensure that all investigations are conducted in an objective, impartial, fair, and thorough manners, while respecting the rights and time constraints of the individuals involved.

  • The investigator will be familiar with, and honour, privacy rules and legislation;
  • The investigator will be guided by rules of procedural fairness;
  • The investigator may look for opportunities to promote a mutually-agreeable resolution of the complaint;
  • The investigator will identify the people to be interviewed, and determine what documentary information needs to be supplied to the investigator;
  • The investigator will obtain the necessary consents to conduct the investigation;
  • The investigator will review documents and contact the parties by phone (unless a better method is suggested) to get a preliminary understanding of the complaint;
  • The investigator will organize documents and other evidence in a methodical manner;
  • Interviews are conducted as soon as possible after it is determined that an investigation is necessary;
  • Interviews may be conducted by phone, email or in person, as appropriate;
  • People being interviewed will be provided with a description of the complaints process with sufficient detail to make the interview meaningful and its purposes clear;
  • Confidentiality issues are discussed with interviewees to determine what information may or may not be disclosed to others;
  • The investigator will attempt to gather information about the background leading to the complaint, the actions that occurred that led to the complaint, and any efforts to remedy the conduct complained of;
  • The investigator will use a combination of questioning techniques to obtain information;
  • The investigator will assess the credibility of the people being interviewed. Where there is contradictory evidence, this will be noted in the report and the investigator will fill in gaps to the extent possible;
  • Where there is conflicting evidence, the investigator’s report will contain the investigator’s opinion of the facts, based on the evidence obtained and an assessment of the credibility of the interviewees;
  • The investigator will solicit expert or technical advice, where appropriate;
  • The investigation report will set out the allegations, the relevant evidence, and an analysis of the evidence;
  • The investigator’s report will also contain conclusions, either rejecting the complaint on its merits or making specific recommendations;
  • Before producing a final report, a draft report will be provided to both parties to allow them to identify any inaccuracies in the report and respond if they so choose;
  • The final report will be issued within 120 days of ADRBO’s receipt of all the information necessary to make the recommendation
  • Please refer to our full Terms of Reference (Download PDF)and our “How The ADRBO Process Works” guide for more information.

Will the Investigator’s report make recommendations?

Yes, the report may make recommendations, though they are non-binding.

What if the bank refuses to follow the recommendations?

If the bank refuses to follow the investigator’s recommendations, the investigator’s report, including the recommendations, will be posted on the ADRBO website. Any information in the report that would allow people to be identified will be removed to protect their privacy.

What about limitations periods for going to court?

There may be time limits within which you must commence a lawsuit or lose your right to sue. These “limitation periods” may vary by issue and province. While participating in the ADRBO process does not automatically stop these limitation periods from running or extend them, the member banks have undertaken to suspend, to the extent permitted by law, the running of any applicable limitation period during the period of time a complaint is under review by ADRBO. This suspension shall begin at the time the bank receives a signed copy of the ADRBO Consent and Confidentiality Agreement, and ends 30 days after ADRBO either transmits its final report to the complainant, or closes the file for any other reason. ADRBO does not provide any legal or other advice with respect to limitation periods, and recommends that you seek the advice of a lawyer on this issue.

Will ADRBO keep statistics?

ADRBO maintains a website available to the general public that allows visitors to view our annual report containing statistics and other general information regarding complaints processed during the year (all identifying information is removed to protect the confidentiality of complainants involved). The website also posts any investigators’ recommendations that have not been followed by the banks.

Who is on the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds office team?

ADRBO is administered by its senior management and staff. The Ombuds is April Schulze, the Deputy Ombuds is Peter Maniatakis, and the Administrator is Josée Thibodeau. A Board of Directors oversees management of the ADRBO, and ensures compliance with regulatory responsibilities.

If you have any questions, please contact us.