Bank Accountability Campaign

Advocating for stronger, more effectively enforced accountability measures for Canada’s big banks and other financial institutions

Please send your letter now using the form on this page, and please help spread the word by Liking and Tweeting this page.

Bank Accountability Campaign 1993-2011 archive (archive website)

The Opportunity

While millions of Canadians and hundreds of thousands of small businesses were suffering, Canada’s Big 6 Banks gouged out record profits of $61 billion in 2022 and more than $58 billion in 2023!

That works out to $28 million in profit every hour banks are open – almost triple their profits in 2010!

Canada’s Big 6 Banks also paid their CEOs a total of $73.3 million in 2022 (an average of $12.2 million each – 55% higher than in 2008) and in 2023 handed out $21.2 billion total in bonuses to their employees.

A study released in March 2024 found that Canada’s Big 6 Banks gouged $7.7 billion out of Canadians in excessive fees that UK and Australian banks don’t charge! It has also been revealed that some U.S. banks that Canada’s Big Banks own have stopped charging some of the fees.

Canada’s Big Banks make among the highest profits of any banks in the world because the federal government has protected them from competition and bailed them out and given them many favours over the past 50 years. The Big Banks have reaped their record profits almost every year since 2010 in part by:

  • firing thousands of people;
  • cutting services, and;
  • hiking fees and credit card interest rates to gouge you even more than they were already.

The Finance Minister is reviewing Canada’s banking law right now – so please help make your voice heard by sending your letter now using the form on this page, and Liking and Sharing this page.

Canada’s big banks control more than 90% of the banking market in the country, which gives them even more power to gouge and treat business and individual customers unfairly.

But still the federal government continues to fail to require the banks serve everyone well at fair prices, or to require responsible lending and investing, even though the government gave the banks a record $114 billion bailout in 2008-2009 (most of it by having CMHC purchase mortgages from the banks), and even though the federal government will likely bail out the banks again if they have any financial difficulties.

The Big Banks must be required:

  1. To cut credit card interest rates (which have always been excessively high) in half now, and allow people renewing their mortgages to re-renew without a penalty at a lower interest rate if interest rates decrease over the next few years, and to lower all their interest rates at exactly the same time as the Bank of Canada lowers its interest rate over the next few years;
  2. To support the creation of an independent, consumer-run financial consumer watchdog group (as recommended in 1998 by MPs and senators) so consumers have a place to call for help if they are gouged or treated unfairly, and to get fully independent, expert advice;
  3. To disclose the profit level of every part of their business (credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit, each other type of loan, bank machines, and investment and insurance divisions) after fully independent audits (overseen by the Auditor General, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and/or the Competition Bureau);
  4. To keep all their interest rates and fees at a level that gives them no more than a reasonable profit (for example, many U.S. states limit credit card interest rates);
  5. To disclose how many people and small businesses apply and are approved or rejected for loan cuts, low-interest credit cards, other loans, by type of borrower (as the U.S. has done for 30 years);
  6. To re-open basic banking branches in every neighbourhood that offer low-interest rate, small-value lines of credit to everyone to stop predatory lending across Canada (including through partnering with Canada Post outlets for postal banking), require banks and trust companies to disclose the profit/loss record for the previous 5 years for any branch proposed to be closed, to allow for a full public review of whether the closure is justified;
  7. Require banks to give customers the choice to set rules for notifications of suspicious account and credit card transactions, and give customers the right to appeal directly to the OBSI on the issues of freezing of accounts and cards and who pays the cost of suspicious transactions, and require banks to give customers access to the money they deposit by cheque as soon as the cheque clears;
  8. To pay their fair share of taxes by closing all the loopholes they exploit (as England and Australia have), and;
  9. To cut the pay of their CEO and other top executives to no more than 40 times their lowest paid employee (as some European countries do).

Enforcement measures and penalties also need to be strengthened to ensure the banks don’t ever gouge, rip-off or treat their customers unfairly, and pay high penalties if they do by making the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) and Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments fully independent of government and the financial services industry, and fully empowered and mandated to do regular unannounced audits and take other effective enforcement actions, and required to impose significant penalties for all violations with fully public rulings, and by protecting whistleblowers fully. Enforcement is much more independent and stronger in England and the U.S., and whistleblower protection in the U.S. is also much stronger.

Now is a key time to send a strong message to the leaders of all the federal political parties that you are fed up with the dishonest, unethical, secretive, unrepresentative, and wasteful actions of bank executives and you want key changes to make everyone involved in Canada’s big banks act honestly, ethically, openly, responsibly and to prevent waste.

Canada’s big banks spend about $500 million annually on their lobbying, protection and promotion efforts (advertising, lawyers etc.), including having about 100 full-time lobbyists across the country. In contrast, there are only about 5 citizen group lobbyists spending only about $50,000 annually on bank accountability efforts. As a result, Canadians must all work together and push hard if there is any hope to counter the bank lobby and win key bank accountability changes.


The bank mergers proposed in 1998 were stopped, but TD Bank was allowed to take over Canada Trust in February 2000, banks and other financial institutions continue to provide poor service to many Canadians, and bank mergers will likely be proposed in the future.

The federal government released a policy paper on financial services at the end of June 1999, and introduced draft legislation in the form of Bill C-38 on June 13, 2000, but Bill C-38 was derailed by the fall 2000 federal election.

Bill C-38 was re-introduced as Bill C-8 in February 2001, and was passed by Parliament in June 2001.

Bill C-8 contained some good measures, but left some key gaps in bank regulation (For details, see Comparison Between Bill C-8 and CCRC Recommendations).

In late 2006, the federal government introduced Bill C-37 (which passed in April 2007) but it contained a couple of ineffective measures that only slightly increase bank accountability in Canada (For details, see the CCRC’s Analysis of Bill C-37).

In 2012, Bill S-5 was passed, but all it did was strengthen a couple of measures and increase penalties from $250,000 maximum to $500,000 maximum (which is much too low).

In December 2018, the Trudeau Liberals quickly passed budget Bill C-86 which contained some measures to strengthen financial consumer protection but did nothing to stop gouging by Canada’s big banks.