The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is marking its first year anniversary as Ontario’s regulator, by publishing a list of its accomplishments. It says the regulator made substantial progress on its 2019-2020 priorities, with 96 per cent of those being fully or substantially complete.

FSRA launched June 8, 2019 to replace the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO) as the regulator of non-securities financial services in Ontario.

In its monthly newsletter, FSRA says its accomplishments for the year include reducing inherited guidance by 51 per cent, the launch of FSRA’s new innovation office, and the formation of six Stakeholder Advisory Committees (SACs) and four ad-hoc Technical Advisory Committees. It says it also continues to make progress on implementing a title protection framework for financial planner and financial advisor title users. “We are working to develop consistent, minimum standards for financial planner and financial advisor title usage and to leverage existing financial services designations and licenses to avoid unnecessary regulatory burden,” they write.

In auto insurance, the regulator gave insurers a number of options for providing customers with financial relief following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it updated its auto insurance cost benchmarks, developed guiding principles that form the basis for its approach to automobile insurance rate regulation, created new standard filing applications for rate filing, and approved the use of electronic proof of insurance in the province.

“Understanding that the normal course of business was disrupted and business continuity plans were activated at many workplaces, FSRA extended the deadlines to file at Annual Information Return forms, renew licenses, and complete continuing education requirements for participants in the mortgage brokering, health service provider and insurance sectors,” they write. “FSRA also issued temporary licenses to almost 200 general agents working with insurance companies who sell property and casualty products directly. This enabled insurers to deal with up to an 800 per cent increase in their call volumes in contact centres across the country.”

Finally, in pensions, the regulator launched its guiding principles in January 2020 to “guide the exercise of our regulatory authority within the context of the pension sector’s complex legal and regulatory framework.” The regulator also rolled out administrative monetary policies, a new supervisory approach to single employer defined benefit pension plans that are actively monitored, commenced a review of multi-employer pension plans to identify and share best practices – work that will continue in the coming year – and issued pension sector emergency management response guidance and guidance on the limitations on commuted value transfers and annuity purchases.