On August 19, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) published a rules notice respecting the anticipated implementation of its client complaint handling rule proposals. On December 22, IIROC announced the approval of these rules by the applicable securities regulatory authorities, with minor changes. The amendments are intended to establish an effective framework for the client complaint process by setting out standards and timelines for firms to acknowledge, investigate and respond to client complaints regarding alleged misconduct relating to the handling of client accounts.

Specifically, firms have five business days under the new standards to acknowledge receipt of a complaint and must investigate and respond to the client within 90 days. Responses must be presented in a fair and clear manner, and the notice provides further details respecting the required contents of a firm's response. Where a firm is unable to meet the 90 day timeframe, it will be expected to explain the reason for the delay to the client and IIROC. Further a Designated Complaints Officer must be appointed to manage the complaint handling process and to act as a liaison with IIROC.

The new standards take effect on February 1, 2010.