The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has issued rules to standardize how consumer complaints are dealt with by financial sector firms.

The regulations, which will establish a common set of processes and timelines when dealing with client complaints, are intended to benefit financial sector consumers.

Firms will be required to provide clients with final responses to complaints within 60 days in most cases, but up to 90 days in exceptional cases. It also sets out penalties for firms that don’t meet the standards set out in the new rules.

Investment dealers and mutual fund dealers that belong to the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) will be exempt from the new rules, which will take effect July 1, 2025.

The AMF said that its rules are based, in part, on international best practices, along with feedback received from a pair of consultations on the rules.

“The [new rule] is also intended to foster a culture of continuous improvement within the financial sector,” the AMF said in a release, adding that “it is crucial that businesses identify the causes common to the complaints they receive with a view to implementing solutions to address issues and ultimately improve their services to consumers.”

The regulator also acknowledged that implementing the new requirements “will entail significant changes for the financial sector.”

To facilitate that implementation, the AMF will be providing guidance to the industry, including a complaint policy template for firms, along with the transition period.