The role of the Syndic’s Office is to receive and investigate complaints in order to determine whether the acts carried out by ChAD members in the course of exercising their professional duties are in compliance with their code of ethics as well as with the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services and its regulations.
Please note that under the Act, “representative” designates agents, brokers and claims adjusters.
Here is an overview of how complaints are processed at the Syndic’s Office.
A complaint filed with the Syndic’s Office must be in writing and accompanied by supporting documents and evidence.
The following organizations or individuals may file a complaint with the Syndic’s Office: consumers, the Autorité des marches financiers, the industry, the Syndic or any other person.
The Syndic’s Office studies the complaint and carries out an investigation.
It does so independently and confidentially.
As a professional, it is your duty to cooperate with the Syndic’s investigation by answering questions and providing any requested documents.
After the Investigation
After completing its investigation, the Syndic’s Office may simply close the file, close the file while imposing administrative measures, or file a formal complaint before the Discipline Committee, if appropriate.
Simple Closure of the File
If the Syndic believes that the complaint is without merit or that the evidence is insufficient, or if he does not have jurisdiction, he will close the file.
Closure with Administrative Measures
The Syndic may also impose administrative measures if he sees fit to do so. This is a preventive, confidential measure that aims to improve professional practice.
The Formal Complaint
If the Syndic’s Office has reasonable grounds to believe that a representative committed an offence, it files a formal complaint before the Discipline Committee.
A formal complaint is made up of charges--in other words, acts that the professional is alleged to have committed--and the provisions of the code of ethics or the law that he is alleged to have breached. The complaint is then served to the professional by a bailiff.
Please note that a complainant may also file a complaint before the Discipline Committee if the Syndic does not file a formal complaint.
THE DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE
The Discipline Committee of the ChAD is the disciplinary tribunal for damage insurance professionals.
This tribunal is made up of three people: a chairperson, who is a lawyer in practice for at least ten years, and who is appointed by the Minister of Finance; and two professionals, who are certified in the same sector as that of the professional against whom the complaint has been filed. The Discipline Committee of the ChAD, as well as those of other self-regulatory organizations and professional orders, are the concrete embodiment of the system known as “judgement by one’s peers.”
Hearings before the Discipline Committee are public and proceed essentially as would any hearing before a tribunal.
The onus is on the Syndic to prove the alleged violations, in keeping with the rule of the balance of probabilities.
The representative against whom a complaint has been made may choose to be represented by a lawyer.
After deliberation, the Discipline Committee renders its decision as to the professional’s guilt or innocence. If he is found guilty, the Committee hears the parties’ pleadings with respect to sanctions and renders a reasoned decision on the matter.
Possible sanctions are as follows:
- Fines (between $2,000 and $50,000 for each offence).
- Temporary striking off the roll, (may last either weeks, months or years).
- Permanent striking off the roll.
- Obligation to remit to any person entitled to it a sum of money the professional is or should be holding for him
- Recommendation that the Board of Directors of the Chamber oblige the representative to successfully complete a professional development course.