healthy financial future

How to Have A Healthy Financial Future

Allan Marshall & Associates Inc believes the first step to a healthy financial future is education.

Once steps have been taken to identify the cause of past financial problems, steps can to be taken to prepare for the future.

Banking is an area that can often be confusing and misunderstood. As a result we have compiled some information to answer some common questions about banking and banking rights.

Some of the banking topics and hints discussed below are:

Government cheques:

  • Do I have to pay to cash a Canadian government cheque?
  • Can the bank refuse to cash a Canadian government cheque?
  • What ID do I need to cash a Canadian government cheque?

Bank Accounts:

  • I am in financial trouble, should I switch banks?
  • Trouble opening a bank account.

Do I have to pay to cash a government cheque?

  • No you don’t have to pay.
  • A Canadian Bank that provides teller services to the public must cash Canadian Government Cheques without charging a fee, even if you do not have an account at the bank or branch as long as:
    • The cheque is for $1500 or less; AND
    • You are able to produce acceptable identification (see list below)

Can the Bank refuse to cash a Canadian Government Cheque?

The Bank may refuse to cash a Canadian Government cheque if you are unable to produce acceptable identification or it believes any of the following statements are true:

  • The cheque is for more than $1500; OR
  • The cheque is counterfeit; OR
  • The cheque has been altered; OR
  • The cheque is associated with a fraud or crime.

If the Bank refuses to cash your Canadian Government cheque, even though you have complied with the above requirements, the Bank is required to provide you with written notice of their refusal to cash the cheque.

If you disagree with the bank’s reason for not cashing your Canadian Government Cheque you should ask the bank for a copy of their complaint handling process. If you are unsuccessful in resolving your concerns with the bank you should contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) as they supervise the banks to ensure they comply with the applicable Canadian Banking Laws and Regulations.

Contact Information for Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

  • Telephone: 1-866-461-FCAC(3222)
  • Fax: 1-866-814-2224
  • Mail: 427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th floor, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 1B9

Acceptable Identification to cash a government of Canada cheque.

  • TWO PIECES of identification may be required from the list below: (note* your identification does provide both your photograph and signature.)
  • A valid Canadian driver’s license.
  • A valid Canadian Passport.
  • Valid citizenship or permanent resident cards / papers.
  • A Canadian Birth Certificate.
  • A valid Canadian Social Insurance Number Card (SIN).
  • A valid Canadian Old Age Security Card.
  • A valid Canadian Certificate of Indian Status card / papers.
  • A valid Provincial health card.
  • A valid Provincial document or card with your signature and photo.
  • An employee identity card with photo from a “well known” employer in your community.

(Other Identification may also be acceptable to cash a Canadian Government Cheque. To acquire a complete list you should contact your local government office. Please be advised there are some pieces of identification contained on this list that may be offered as identification but cannot be required by the financial institution, such as your SIN.)

Should I open a new bank account?

  • Yes, if you owe the bank you are currently banking with you should open a new bank account.
  • The new bank account should be with a bank with whom you do not owe any money. Including credit cards, lines of credit and overdraft.
  • If you keep your money in a bank account at a bank you owe, the bank has the right to apply offset and seize any money in your account.
  • Money deposited into your account after you file for bankruptcy or a proposal will not be subject to offset, however the bank may still have a hold on your account.
  • Although you will get new money deposited into your account after your bankruptcy / proposal back. It would save you some hassle if you opened a new account at a new financial institution and deposited your money there.

Trouble opening a Bank account

Opening a Bank Account:

A Canadian Bank that provides personal banking services to the public must open a personal bank account as long as you comply with the following and a valid reason for refusal does not apply.

You request to open a bank account in person, at a location where personal bank accounts can be opened. You provide the bank with the following information:

  • your name
  • date of birth
  • address, (if any)
  • occupation, (if any)
  • You produce acceptable identification to verify your identity.
  • You agree to let the bank verify your identification ( if the bank requests it)
  • You agree to allow the bank to conduct a search to confirm there are no valid reasons to refuse to open a bank account (if the bank requests it).
  • This may include contacting a credit reporting company.

Reasons for Refusal to Open a Bank Account

Although almost everyone has the right to open and maintain a bank account. There are justifiable reasons a bank may refuse.

The Bank may legally refuse to open a Personal Bank Account if it believes any of the following apply to you:

  • The bank has reasonable grounds to believe you will use the account to break the law.
  • In the past seven years you have previously committed a crime against a financial institution.
  • The bank has reasonable grounds to believe you provided false information to open a bank account.
  • The bank has reasonable grounds to believe opening the account would expose its employees or other customers to physical harm, harassment or other abuse.

The banking laws have changed and a bank can no longer refuse to open a personal bank account on any of the following grounds:

  • You do not have a job.
  • You are or have been bankrupt.
  • You are not depositing any money in the account.
  • The bank may however ask you to deposit enough money in your new account to cover any applicable costs, such as the cost associated with ordering cheques.

If the Bank refuses to open a personal bank account, even after you have complied with the above they are required to provide you with written notice of their refusal.

Refusing a Credit Check:

  • If you do not let the bank check your credit report because you do not feel it necessary based on the type of account you have requested and the bank refuses to open the account you should contact the banks complaints department and the FCAC to have the decision reviewed.

Contact Information for Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

  • Telephone: 1-866-461-FCAC (3222)
  • Fax: 1-866-814-2224
  • Mail: 427 Laurier Avenue West, 6th floor Ottawa, Ontario K1R

Acceptable Identification

  • You will be required to produce TWO PIECES of identification from the list below or ONE piece of identification containing both:
  • Your photograph and signature.
  • Only once piece of identification is required if your identity can be confirmed by a client in good standing with the bank or an individual in good standing in that community.
  • Acceptable Identification to open an bank account are as follows:
    • A valid Canadian drivers license
    • A valid Canadian Passport
    • Valid citizenship or permanent resident cards / papers
    • A Canadian Birth Certificate
    • A valid Canadian Social Insurance Number Card (SIN)
    • A valid Canadian Old Age Security Card
    • A valid Canadian Certificate of Indian Status card / papers
    • A valid Provincial health card
    • A valid Provincial document or card with your signature and photo.
    • An employee identity card with photo from a “well known” employer in your community