Terms of Reference
Scotiabank's Customer Complaints Appeals Office (the “CCAO”) provides an impartial and internal final review of unresolved complaints made by Scotiabank customers. Scotiabank, for the purpose of these Terms of Reference, includes The Bank of Nova Scotia and its domestic subsidiaries, including Tangerine Bank.
These Terms of Reference describe the principal powers and duties of the CCAO, the scope of its mandate and the process for investigating unresolved customer complaints.
Powers & Duties:
1. The CCAO will conduct an impartial review and act as the non-binding arbiter of unresolved customer complaints and will facilitate a fair resolution of the matter for the customer and Scotiabank. The CCAO will:
a. Act within these Terms of Reference;
b. Determine which complaints fall within its mandate;
c. Review unresolved complaints with a view to facilitate a fair resolution;
d. Make recommendations to the customer and Scotiabank to resolve complaints or reject complaints on their merits; and
e. Not provide legal, accounting, tax, investment or other similar professional advice.
2. The CCAO’s designated employees have been delegated the power to review unresolved complaints, reject complaints and make recommendations for resolution of complaints.
3. The CCAO will report any threat to Scotiabank staff and/or Scotiabank property to the appropriate area within Scotiabank.
The CCAO will review unresolved complaints so long as:
a. The customer made a complaint in accordance with Scotiabank’s established Complaint Handling Policy (CHP) and Scotiabank has completed its investigation of the complaint in accordance with its CHP;
b. The customer has escalated a complaint to the CCAO and:
(1) confirms that they have:
- been provided a copy of these Terms of Reference (“TORs”),
- read and agreed to these TORs,
- consented to the CCAO commencing an investigation,
- agreed to maintain the confidentiality of the CCAO’s files and correspondence, and
- where required, returned a signed Acknowledgement and Consent (as described below) within 14 days of receiving it; OR
(2) has not indicated that they do not agree to be bound by these TORs within 48 (forty-eight) hours of being provided with a copy of them, which TORs include, among other things, an agreement by the customer to maintain the confidentiality of the CCAO’s files and correspondence.
The CCAO may, at its discretion, require the customer to return a signed Acknowledgement and Consent Agreement prior to beginning an investigation. In such cases, the CCAO will notify the customer in writing, either via email or letter, that a signed Acknowledgement and Consent is required;
c. The CCAO is satisfied that the complaint has a material connection to Scotiabank’s operations in Canada; and
d. The complaint is being pursued reasonably and not in a frivolous, vexatious or threatening manner.
The CCAO does not:
a. Review complaints about matters of general policy (such as interest rates, service fees or account closures). However, the CCAO may, at its discretion, review such complaints to determine whether proper procedures were followed;
b. Reverse or alter credit decisions. However, the CCAO may, at its discretion, review such complaints to determine whether proper procedures were followed by Scotiabank in making credit decisions;
c. Review matters that have previously been settled, that are or have been the subject of litigation with Scotiabank, are being handled by lawyers on behalf of Scotiabank or have already been decided by the courts, by an arbitrator, a regulator or any administrative tribunal; and
d. Review complaints related to transactions for which records no longer exist (usually no more than seven years, but sometimes less, depending on the nature of the records).
1. The CCAO requires all complaints to be submitted in writing (by mail, e-mail or facsimile).
2. The CCAO will determine if the complaint falls within its mandate. It also has discretion not to investigate a specific matter. If the CCAO determines that the complaint does not fall within its mandate or exercises its discretion not to investigate the complaint, it will send a letter to the customer to explain its decision.
3. Following the initial review of the complaint, the CCAO may recommend that the complaint may be more appropriately dealt with by another process or institution, such as by arbitration or through the courts.
4. Following the initial review of a complaint, if the CCAO determines that the complaint is one that will be investigated, the file will be assigned to a CCAO employee for investigation upon either:
- 48 (forty-eight) hours after a copy of the TORs has been sent to the customer by e-mail and the customer has not notified the CCAO that they do not consent to the TORs within that 48 hour period; or
- Where, at the discretion of the CCAO, the CCAO has requested the customer sign and return an Acknowledgment and Consent Agreement and the customer has done so.
5. The CCAO has complete control over the conduct and procedure of the investigation, including contacting any person or viewing any documents or information it deems appropriate. The CCAO requires the customer and Scotiabank to cooperate with its investigation and may require both to provide any, or all, relevant documentation and/or information to the CCAO.
6. The investigation will be conducted based upon the documentation, information and any other evidence provided by the customer and Scotiabank, and may include interviews with both parties and/or others. The CCAO may also retain legal counsel, as well as consult third party experts and/or consultants (as required) to assist with the investigation.
7. At any time during the process, the CCAO may attempt to facilitate a mutually agreeable resolution or make a recommendation for settlement of the complaint.
a. If an offer is to be made to the customer, the CCAO will send a letter that explains the reasons for the offer and provide the customer with a reasonable amount of time to accept or reject it. If the customer accepts the offer, the CCAO will require the customer to sign a Full and Final Release (F&FR), which shall include a confidentiality clause. Once the signed F&FR is received, the CCAO will make the necessary arrangements to facilitate any payment or other resolution agreed upon by the customer and Scotiabank.
b. If the CCAO determines that compensation or other resolution is not warranted, a final written response will be sent to the customer outlining the reasons for its decision.
8. The CCAO shall not be bound by any previous recommendation made by its office or by any predecessor in that office.
9. The CCAO’s final response will be sent to the customer in writing, but a facilitated settlement may be conducted using other communication channels (e.g., telephone).
10. The CCAO’s final response letter will include the contact information for the appropriate external complaints body, which is the next step in the established complaint escalation process: either ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO) or the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI).
11. The CCAO will maintain a webpage on the Scotiabank website that will include current contact information for the CCAO, these TORs and the previous year’s CCAO Annual Report, which sets out the number and nature of complaints dealt with by the CCAO
Confidentiality of the CCAO process is an important and long-standing principle. It helps to ensure the CCAO’s impartiality and facilitates cooperation throughout the investigation.
By submitting a complaint to the CCAO, the customer agrees to allow the CCAO to share or discuss any personal, financial and confidential information provided to the CCAO, including a copy (or the details) of the complaint, with employees of Scotiabank and with any other individuals or companies, including legal counsel, third party experts and/or consultants, who can assist with, are involved in or affected by the complaint, for the purpose of investigating the complaint. The CCAO and its staff may also request information from the parties.
The Scotiabank CCAO process is a confidential, without prejudice and privileged voluntary process. Any statements made by the participating parties (including the customer, Scotiabank employees, and CCAO employees), as well as any correspondence, notes and/or other documents created in the course of this process, including the CCAO file, are confidential, without prejudice and privileged (“CCAO Records”). This means any communications between the customer and the CCAO may not be shared by the customer with any third party (except a professional advisor such as a lawyer or accountant). Furthermore, this also means that the customer cannot compel the production of, seek access to, rely on, disclose, refer to or introduce the CCAO Records into evidence in any legal or other proceeding. This also means any employees of the CCAO, cannot be compelled to give evidence in or participate in any legal or other proceedings.
As outlined above, the CCAO may share or discuss personal, financial and confidential information provided to the CCAO, including a copy (or the details) of the complaint, with employees of Scotiabank, legal counsel, third party experts and/or consultants, and with any other individuals or companies who can assist with, are involved in or affected by the complaint, for the purpose of investigating the complaint. The CCAO may also request information from the parties. In doing so, the files of the CCAO remain confidential and protected by privilege and this protection is not waived.
The customer acknowledges that these confidentiality terms shall survive the termination of this agreement, including where the customer has indicated that they withdraw their consent, whether such consent was given expressly or implied. In cases where the customer has withdrawn their consent during the course of the investigation, the investigation will cease, and the customer will be provided the contact information for the appropriate external complaints body, which is the next step in the established complaint escalation process: either ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADRBO) or the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI).