Financial institutions – Regulatory framework

Information on the regulation of financial institutions in Alberta and the Superintendent of Financial Institutions supervisory framework.


The Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions oversees the deposit taking institutions marketplace in Alberta, including the corporate incidents of financial institutions and the regulation of provincially regulated financial institutions operating in Alberta.

Please note: the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) supervises and regulates federally regulated financial institutions to determine whether they are in sound financial condition. See the list of who is regulated by OSFI.

There is no affiliation between the Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) ensures federally regulated financial institutions comply with federal consumer protection measures. See information about making a complaint against a federally regulated financial institution. Also, see the list of who is regulated by OSFI.

For more information, see About financial institutions in Alberta, news and links.

Corporate incidents

Corporate incidents are regulated primarily to promote a level, fair and competitive financial marketplace in Alberta. They include:

  • the incorporation, amalgamation and dissolution of provincially incorporated financial institutions
  • the registration of provincial and extra-provincial financial institutions

For example, companies are not allowed to be in the business of deposit taking from, or acting as a trustee for, the public in Alberta, without being registered.

This enables us to ensure that standards of care and responsibilities are imposed on the company holding your hard-earned money. It also reduces the risks to the consumer and allows companies who operate responsibly to compete with companies that, for example, would otherwise want to cut corners on security.

Regulation of financial institutions operations

The role of the Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions with respect to regulation of the operations of financial institutions falls along 2 lines: solvency and market conduct.

Our role related to solvency

  • Regulation creates a climate that minimizes the risk of loss to depositors or trust in the event of the failure of their financial institution.
  • Regulation is not a guarantee of success for a financial institution.
  • Financial institutions operate to generate a profit either for their shareholders or, in the case of a credit union, for its members. To do this, companies take business risks, which, in some cases, may lead to financial difficulties and even to failure.

Our role related to market conduct

  • Broader market-place issues such as coercive practices and tied selling.
  • We do not dictate how these institutions make routine business decisions (i.e. setting service fees) or how they go about their day-to-day affairs (for example: hours of operation).
  • We provide general information which may be helpful for consumers when encountering concerns with a financial institution.

In making financial decisions, policyholders and depositors are encouraged to be vigilant in obtaining information on the financial condition of the financial service provider, determining whether the institution is regulated, and determining the insured status of the financial products they choose.

Our role takes into consideration the total regulatory framework in Canada. We act in concert with the following in establishing and enforcing the regulatory framework in Alberta, to ensure that it is done in an efficient and effective way:

Supervisory framework

The supervisory framework for the Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions (ASFI) describes the principles, concepts, and core process that uses to guide its supervision of Alberta-regulated financial institutions (ARFIs). The principles, concepts, and core process apply to all in Alberta, irrespective of their size, ownership structure, nature and complexity.

The supervisory framework is also intended to align with regulatory and supervisory practices carried out by the federal Office of the Superintendent of financial institutions of Canada (OSFI) for federally-regulated financial institutions, where possible. This is to ensure the consistent application of regulatory duties and responsibilities across financial institutions operating in the Province of Alberta. However, the approach of ASFI approach to regulatory oversight may differ on occasion in order to address unique circumstances that exist in Alberta.

For more information, see the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Supervisory Framework (updated in January 2017).

Related Alberta legislation

Credit unions

Loan and trust corporations

Other legislation

The following is a list of legislation that has a direct impact on the operations of most financial institutions. This list is not exhaustive, and you should seek legal advice as to whether other pieces of legislation are applicable. If you prefer a paper copy, they are available from the King's Printer.


Connect with the Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-5064
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-644-7771
Email: [email protected]

Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Queen Elizabeth II Building
9820 107 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 1E7