On October 7, 2021, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) published for comment its proposed 2022-2023 Statement of Priorities (SoP). The SoP, and financial plan, as finalized, will form the core of FSRA’s Annual Business Plan to be submitted to the Minister of Finance for approval. The proposed priorities outline FSRA’s initiatives with a continued focus on improving regulatory efficiency (i.e. burden reduction) and effectiveness. We think our readers will find the following elements of the proposed SoP interesting.

Cross-sectoral Priorities: FSRA has identified the following three cross-sectoral priorities:

  • Strengthen Consumer Focus: FSRA plans to identify opportunities to respond to the needs of and risks to consumers in positions of vulnerability, strengthen its understanding of the current complaints resolution system, strengthen the Consumer’s Office consumer research agenda, and enable the FSRA Consumer Advisory Panel and others to participate in more of FSRA rule development, guidance and policy work.
  • Enable Innovation: FSRA plans to implement the innovation tools it has developed, scale its Test and Learn Environments to ensure they support responsible innovation in Ontario’s financial services ecosystem, implement an engagement strategy that proactively engages sector participants and consumers to identify innovation opportunities and emerging trends, and act as a center of expertise and information on innovation.
  • Modernize Systems and Processes: FSRA expects to implement technology solutions to implement advanced online/web-based information sharing and transactional processing tools, develop digital document processing and digital signature capabilities and enable data analytics.

Sector-specific Priorities: FSRA has identified the following priorities in these sectors:

  • Credit Unions: FSRA expects to implement a new credit union legislative framework, enhance financial stability structures and implement risk-based supervision. FSRA will support the Ministry of Finance in the implementation of regulations under the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 2020.
  • Mortgage Brokers: FSRA expects to implement recommendations from the review of the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 and promote high standards of governance and business conduct. FSRA will implement any government-approved regulatory amendments that introduce licensing with enhanced proficiency requirements that better reflect the practices of different segments of the mortgage industry. FSRA will also work with stakeholders and the Ministry of Finance to consider policy changes that could introduce an additional license for dealing in activities that require additional proficiency from the current requirements.
  • Financial Planners & Advisors: FSRA plans to operationalize the title protection framework for financial planners and advisors. Under the framework, FSRA will establish (i) minimum standards for financial planner/financial advisor credentials, (ii) criteria that entities must meet to obtain approval as a credentialing body, and (iii) a supervisory framework for the oversight of credentialing bodies.

What’s Next: FSRA will consider comments made on this consultation and will consult with its Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Consumer Advisory Panel.

October 29, 2021