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Procedural Fairness

The Commission is committed to providing the appropriate level of procedural fairness in all decisions we make. The below outlines the Commission’s approach to determining the appropriate level of procedure.

In all circumstances, the Commission commits to making reasonable decisions in a manner that is impartial, in good faith, and within our mandate. We will evaluate our processes and methodologies on an ongoing basis and make improvements and correct issues whenever they are identified.

These procedures apply to decisions made by regulators, as defined in the Financial and Consumer Services Commission Act, and their delegates.

Opportunities to be Heard 

Sometimes, Commission staff may assess an individual or firm as unsuitable for licensing or registration, or determine they are non-compliant with legislation. In either case, staff can make a recommendation to the appropriate Regulator concerning the licence or registration of the individual or firm. Certain recommendations to the Regulator provide the individual or firm a statutory right to an opportunity to be heard (OTBH) under the following Acts:

An opportunity to be heard is a hearing that provides the individual or firm a chance to understand and respond to the staff recommendation.  The person receives a copy of all information considered by the staff member in forming the staff recommendation and is able to provide any additional relevant information before a decision is made on their licence or registration.
If the licence holder chooses to participate in an OTBH, the hearing can occur:

  • Through a written submission
  • In person
  • Virtually

If the individual or firm does not request an OTBH, the Regulator will make a decision on the staff recommendation based on the information presented by staff.

For more information on opportunities to be heard, refer to our Procedure. For information on participating virtually, refer to our guide.

Matters not Subject to an Opportunity to be Heard

For decisions not subject to an OTBH, the Commission is committed to providing procedural protections that are proportionate to the decision being  made. Procedural protections exist on a continuum and may include (but are not limited to): 

  • the right to be notified of a decision, 
  • the right to a hearing, 
  • the right to make formal submissions, 
  • the right to disclosure and 
  • the right to a detailed reason.

In making a choice of procedure, the Commission will consider all circumstances, including:

  • The nature of the decision and its importance to those involved, including any impact on a person’s ability to earn income, any impact on individual rights or any significant financial or reputational impact.
  • The context of the decision, including whether there is a right to appeal, the finality of the decisions and the urgency/immediacy of the decision being made. 

In consideration of the circumstances, the Commission will choose a procedure that is fair while also balancing its own operational efficiency needs.

Decisions under the Pension Benefits Act

Given the unique role of the regulator in pension decisions, the dynamics between parties and the complexity of the sector, the following guidance has been developed specifically for decisions under the Pension Benefits Act.

  • The decision-making process will focus on whether the Pension Benefits Act and its regulatory framework has been adhered to and complied with, and, as appropriate, will consider the interests of the pension plan beneficiaries and the various parties directly affected. 
  • Decisions are made with integrity, in an unbiased manner, with the aim of preserving a balance between the protection of pension benefits and the voluntary nature of our pension system.