What Types of Complaints does the Standards Council Consider

The Standards Council receives and reviews complaints about QAFP® professionals and CFP® professionals about: 

  • Their conduct or actions that fall below the professional standards set out in the Standards of Professional Responsibility which include the Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct, Fitness Standards, and Practice Standards 
  • Their conduct that may harm the reputation of the financial planning profession and certifications awarded by FP Canada. 
The Standards Council is only able to review complaints about conduct that occurred in the past six years and while the person who you are complaining about was certified by FP Canada.  

The planner you are complaining about may also be registered or licensed with one or more other regulatory or credentialling bodies. We will notify you if our records identify professional or oversight organizations that may also have jurisdiction to review your complaint. You can also contact the employer of the professional financial planner you are complaining about. 

Does Filing a Complaint Impact the Time Limits of Legal Proceedings?

Filing a complaint with the Standards Council does not affect any time limits, or “limitation periods” of ongoing or future civil legal proceedings. You may want to speak with a lawyer to understand your legal options and any limitation periods that could apply.

How the Complaint Process Works 

Generally speaking, the complaint process involves the following stages: 

  • Intake and Initial Review 
  • Investigation 
  • Conduct Panel Review 
  • Discipline Hearing Panel 
A complaint file can be closed after any stage. If your complaint is closed, the Standards Council will not consider additional documents or information.

During the Intake and Initial Review process, the Standards Council addresses complaints from the public and initiates complaints. In the Intake and Initial Review stage, complaints can be closed, with or without a staff caution, or can be escalated to an investigation. 

The Conduct Review Panel is an independent panel composed of CFP professionals and public members that reviews staff reports and determines the outcome of complaints, in the public interest.The Conduct Panel Review Panel can close a complaint, close a complaint with a letter of guidance or refer the complaint to a Hearing Panel. 

If a matter is referred to a Hearing Panel by the Conduct Review Panel, a Statement of Allegation is published on the FP Canada website detailing the allegations of misconduct. At the Discipline Hearing, an independent Hearing Panel of CFP professionals and an administrative law lawyer adjudicate each matter. Decisions issued by a Discipline Hearing Panel are published on the FP Canada website at Disciplinary Actions under Completed Hearings. 

This graphic provides a visual overview of our Complaint Process.

What to Expect When You Make a Complaint 

1. Initial Review process 

We will let you know we’ve received your complaint within 10 business days. During the initial review process, our staff may contact you for additional information and documentation about your complaint. We start the review when we have your signed complaint form and the information or documentation to support your complaint. The initial review period takes approximately 120 days to complete.

We will likely contact the QAFP professional or CFP professional during the initial review process to give the professional financial planner the opportunity to understand the complaint and provide them the opportunity to provide a fulsome response. We may share some or all the information provided by you with them, including the complaint form, your contact information, and supporting documentation. 

2. What Happens if Your Complaint is Referred for Investigation

If your complaint is referred for a formal investigation, we will inform you in writing, and provide you with the name and contact information of the investigator assigned to your file. 

Once the investigator has a chance to review the file, they will contact you about any additional information they need. It is important that you respond to the investigator’s requests and provide: 

  • All information requested in as much detail as possible 
  • All supporting documentation
  • Any additional context or information you feel will assist us in our review of the professional financial planner’s conduct. 
During the investigation, you may have an exchange of written communications with the investigator and/or be asked to participate in interviews. Interviews are typically conducted by telephone, or online via Zoom or Microsoft Teams; however, staff may request an in-person interview. All interviews are digitally recorded. 

At the end of the investigation, we present the findings to a screening committee called the Conduct Review Panel (CRP), which has the authority to: 

  • Dismiss the matter where it is determined that the complaint is unlikely to result in a finding of misconduct or the conduct is minor in nature or represents an administrative or practice management error.
  • Dismiss the matter with a letter of Guidance and Advice, where the Panel has concerns about a certificant’s conduct but determines that a remedial approach is appropriate in the circumstances and that referral to a Hearing Panel is not required to protect the public interest. 
  • Refer the matter to a Hearing Panel. 
Once the Conduct Review Panel has reached a decision, we will notify you about the outcome. 

3. What Happens If Your Complaint is Referred to a Hearing Panel

The decision to refer a matter to a Hearing Panel is not made by staff. Only the CRP has the authority to refer a matter to a Hearing Panel. The CRP can refer none, some, or all allegations in a complaint to a Hearing Panel. Within 45 days of the CRP’s decision, the Standards Council will serve and file a Statement of Allegations, which provides details about the alleged conduct on which your complaint is based. Statements of Allegations are publicized and published on FP Canada’s website in the Proceeding Documents under Current Hearings.

Depending on the allegations we are including, you may or may not be asked to provide evidence, by either swearing an affidavit or being called as a witness in the Hearing Panel proceedings. If we require your testimony, the prosecutor or investigator will be in touch with you and keep you informed.

When filing the complaint, remember to provide all documents and information which are relevant to your complaint or that FP Canada has requested. Your cooperation will ensure the Standards Council has all the necessary information to review your complaint.

Make a Complaint →


Please fill out the FP Canada Complaint Form and provide all documents and information which are relevant to your complaint or that FP Canada has requested. Your cooperation will ensure that the Standards Council has all the necessary information to assess your complaint.

We will notify you in writing about the outcome of the initial review process. At the initial review stage, a complaint file may be closed, closed with a staff caution, or referred for investigation. Not every complaint results in a formal investigation. There are many reasons, including but not limited to: jurisdiction, level of potential risk, and insufficient evidence, that a complaint may not move to a formal investigation, and therefore many complaints are closed or resolved at the initial review stage.

Complaint Form

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