Getting over my initial trepidation of making my first post here I want to bring up the subject of the Access to Basic Banking Services regulations and what specifically are Canadians rights in this regard. First the rules are implemented by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada which is part of the Department of Finance but has its own independent commissioner a woman named Ursula Menke. The Financial Consumer Agency was created in back in 2001 and mainly handles consumer protection issues related to the federally Chartered Banks and to a limited degree those of federally incorporated insurance companies and federally incorporate trust companies (Note in the US Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is effictively based on the FCA as on its models). Its jurisdiction DOES NOT apply to the provincially regulated stock brokerages owned by the all major chartered banks(Canada unlike every other country in the world does not have federal securiites regulator like the US SEC, UK FSA, Australia ASIC etc.)
Back to the subject of Basic Banking regulations here in my mind are some important quotes from the FCA website:
Under Canadian law, you have the right to open a personal bank account. You can open an account even if:
you don’t have a job
you don’t have money to put in the account right away
you have been bankrupt.
The bank can refuse to open an account for you if they suspect you have committed a crime related to any bank, if you harass or threaten a bank employee, or if you show false identification.
And these are the type of indentification required.
– Show two pieces of ID from List A:
Canadian driver’s license
current Canadian passport
Canadian birth certificate
Social Insurance Number (SIN) card
Old Age Security card with your Social Insurance Number (SIN) on it
Certificate of Indian Status
provincial or territorial health insurance card (this cannot be used in Ontario, Prince Edward Island or Manitoba)
Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or Certification of Naturalization
Permanent Resident card or a Citizenship and Immigration Canada form IMM 1000, IMM 1442, or IMM 5292
If you don’t have two pieces of ID from List A above, you can:
– Show one piece of ID from List A and one piece of ID from List B, below:
employee ID card with your picture on it
debit card or bank card with your name and signature on it
Canadian credit card with your name and signature on it
client card from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind with your picture and signature on it
current foreign passport
– Show one piece of ID from List A and have someone the bank knows confirm that you are who you say you are.
Note: at no point are you even supposed to be asked for a Canadian SIN if the account is non interest bearing(i.e. Basic Checking). Additionally the forms of ID required are not indications of citizenship or nationality one way of the other. I also have to say these rules could conceivable be changed but public notification and public comment is required under the Bank Act. I’ll also note the whole Access to Basic Banking regime is setup primarily to help those with low incomes, the elderly, and the young who in the past might have been dependent of check cashiers and other types of non bank storefront type financial institutions(I can’t see the NDP for example would at all be happy with any changes to these rules no matter how much the Democrats in the US Congress might not like them). There is also another part of these rules that requires federally chartered banks to cash Government of Canada checks such as OAS/GIS/CPP(for those non Canadians the Canadian equivilent of US Social Security) for non accountholders that I can talk about too if anyone wants.
Here is a link below to FCA’s website section on Access to Basic Banking
I am sure there will be a lot of comments so have at it