Thank you, Mr. Chair.
To all three witnesses, I certainly thank you for your testimony. This is a very important study, and I appreciate your frank and honest responses.
I'm going to start first with Ms. Watson.
I was able to serve on a special committee for pay equity. One of the areas under examination was pay equity for women, but we also examined the federal labour standards in the federally regulated market. From our view of it, banks have really beefed up in the area around making sure people are properly compensated for any time and whatnot, and there are better mechanisms now, through implementation of a variety of new labour code standards.
I'm going to speak in general to all three, and then I'll be asking each one of you to voice in. Obviously in banking, there is more competition than ever. Customers, consumers, can go very quickly from a low-cost bank to a virtual bank. If they want to deal with mutual funds, they can choose their own self-directed options through a separate organization while still having the convenience of online banking. For a lot of people, the onus is on the banks to treat their customers...if they want to continue to keep them.
I certainly agree that there are going to be individual cases, for example, your mysterious Mastercard account. There are codes of conduct federally put in place on ensuring that there is consent and plain language used. I just want to delineate that I don't think there is anything wrong with a business offering an extra service to a client. When you go into a car dealership, they will often try to upsell you on a feature. It's up to the individual customer to decide. Where I do draw the line, though, is with behaviour like you mentioned, Ms. Watson, where things were unsolicited. By the same token, I think we need to examine the incentive systems and what effect they may have.
Right now, I've heard some concerns on how the FCAC is conducting an investigation, and I'm not going to prejudice that, but some would ask, whom do you hold accountable? Do you hold accountable the person in your role? Do you hold accountable the manager? Do you hold accountable the upper management, as in the CEO, for the systems of compensation that are put in place? Do you hold the directors of the company accountable for that?
One of the biggest challenges in my mind is that you may have one employee who has figured out a way to increase his or her incentive pay or other options, and that might not be complicit with the management or with the CEO or with the board of directors.
Let's just start there. If the system were to be improved on oversight, who would you say would be first accountable?