You went to a bank service point to open a deposit account, but surprise, you are denied this service? Is the bank entitled to refuse to open a bank account? No , unless there are very special conditions. Since 2003, Canadian banks have had to comply with the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations
Since the introduction of the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations (PDF) in 2003, Canadian banks can no longer refuse to open a bank account to a consumer. However, the bank is not obliged to provide you with all the privileges often associated with deposit accounts: checks, debit cards, etc.
Bankruptcy, bad credit and bad checks
Whether you have gone bankrupt, have bad credit, or made bad checks in the past (no bad intention), these are not valid reasons to deny you a bank account.
Identification and Personal Information
In order to open a bank account, you will need to present two valid, unexpired and original pieces of ID.
Valid IDs include driver’s license, health insurance card, social insurance card, birth certificate and passport. If you only have one piece of ID, you may be accompanied by a third party who can confirm your identity.
In addition to the pieces of identification mentioned above, you are not required to provide any additional personal information, except your name, date of birth, address and occupation (employment).
Reasons for refusal
The following are the only reasonable grounds for refusal that a bank may raise to deny you the opening of a deposit account (extracts from the Bank Act ):
- the member bank has reasonable grounds to believe that the retail deposit account will be used for illegal or fraudulent purposes;
- the individual has already engaged in illegal or fraudulent activities against financial service providers, the most recent activity less than seven years ago;
- the member bank has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual knowingly provided misleading information on an important matter in order to obtain the opening of the retail deposit account;
- the member bank has reasonable grounds to believe that the refusal to open the retail deposit account is necessary to protect its customers or employees from the risk of injury, harassment or other abuse;
- the request is made at a branch or point of service of a member bank where it only offers accounts linked to an account opened with another financial institution.