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Ontario financial services watchdog proposes changes to deter mortgage fraud

Ontario's financial services watchdog is taking steps to deter deceptive and fraudulent activity in the mortgage sector. Bank towers are shown from Bay Street in Toronto's financial district, on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrien Veczan

TORONTO — Ontario's financial services watchdog is proposing changes to guidance offered to mortgage agents and brokerages in an effort to deter deceptive and fraudulent mortgage activity.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario says its proposed changes would strengthen how documents and identities are verified.

The watchdog is also pushing for more processes ensuring anti-fraud policies and procedures are in place and more clarity around the role of principal brokers and representatives in preventing and detecting fraud.

The move comes amid a rash of title fraud cases in Ontario and B.C. and was put forward because of feedback received during stakeholder consultations.

The watchdog says its proposed new guidelines are available for review on the FSRA website during a consultation period ending April 26.

The FSRA has the authority to regulate and sanction licensed mortgage brokerages, brokers, agents and administrators.

"During these times of high inflation and rising interest rates we need to do everything we can to protect individuals and families from becoming victims of fraud," Huston Loke, executive vice-president of market conduct, said in a release. 

"With the valuable input of our stakeholders, we have strengthened our proposed guidance on detecting and preventing mortgage fraud and we look forward to hearing more from the public on this important initiative."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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