Skip to content

How We Work

Step 1

Stage 1. Intake & Assessment

Intake is where a complaint is brought to CIFO with a completed complaint form, logged into CIFO’s complaint management system (CMS), and acknowledged back to the complainant. We strive to complete this stage within 4 days. Assessment is where the complaint is assessed against CIFO’s mandate which is set by law. We determine whether CIFO can review the complaint or whether it should be rejected under our law. We inform both parties by email (or by post if required) with our decision. If we are proceeding with a review, we request the file information from the financial services provider (FSP). We strive to complete this stage within 7 days.

Step 2

Stage 2. FSP’s Response

This is where the FSP’s response to the complaint and their complaint file is prepared, sent, and received by CIFO pursuant to our request issued at the end of stage 1. At this stage, a complaint becomes a CIFO case file for our review. We expect the FSP to respond with their file within 14 days.

Step 3

Stage 3. Allocation & Review

Allocation is where a case file is ready for assignment to a member of our team for review. Given the volume of case files being handled by our office, there can be a delay at this stage until a colleague has capacity to take on a case file. We strive to complete this stage and assign new case files within 1 month.

Review is where the assigned CIFO team member reviews the case file and reaches a conclusion through either a successful mediated settlement based on their assessment of the complaint or a recommendation to the complainant and their FSP. In some cases where one or both parties disagree with the recommendation, we will proceed to an Ombudsman Decision. We strive to complete this stage and issue a recommendation within 2 months.

Step 4

Stage 4. Ombudsman Decision

This is where an Ombudsman reviews the case file and decides what, if anything, the FSP should do to resolve the complaint. In some cases, a provisional decision will be made giving both parties an opportunity to review an Ombudsman’s conclusions and providing an opportunity for additional input from both parties. A final decision on the complaint, if accepted by the complainant, becomes binding on the FSP. We strive to complete this stage and conclude our work on each case file within 2 months.