The Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) plays a critical role in protecting investors in the event of an insolvency of a member investment firm. As an investor, it is important to understand how CIPF works and what protections it offers. This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of CIPF, explain who and what it covers, outline the claims process, and answer frequently asked questions.

Introduction to CIPF

The Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) provides coverage up to $1 million for any combination of cash and securities held with an investment dealer that is a member of CIPF. It was founded in 1969 to protect investor assets in the rare case that an investment dealer becomes insolvent.

CIPF is funded by its approximately 160 member investment dealers across Canada. These CIPF members pay annual fees and assessments based on their level of risk, ensuring that funds are available to compensate investors in the unlikely event of a member insolvency.

Key Points:

  • CIPF was established in 1969 as a not-for-profit organization.
  • It protects investor assets up to $1 million per account.
  • There are approximately 160 member investment dealers that fund CIPF.

Who and What is Covered by CIPF?

CIPF covers customers of member investment dealers that trade on Canadian exchanges. This includes retail and institutional investors across Canada. Some key details on CIPF coverage include:

Eligible Accounts

CIPF protects both registered (RRSP, TFSA, RESP) and non-registered investment accounts. Joint accounts are eligible for up to $1 million in coverage.

Eligible Investments

CIPF covers:

  • Cash: cash balances held in Canadian dollars.
  • Securities: stocks, bonds, money market instruments, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, futures contracts and segregated insurance funds.
  • Other: commodities, foreign currencies and precious metals also qualify within certain limits.

Excluded Investments

CIPF does not cover:

  • Cryptoassets like Bitcoin.
  • Investments or accounts held outside Canada.
  • Illegal property or proceeds of crime.

Bankruptcy Scenarios

CIPF coverage is triggered when an investment dealer member becomes insolvent and:

  • is placed in bankruptcy/liquidation;
  • ceases operations;
  • is suspended from IIROC, Canada’s investment industry regulatory organization.

Key Points:

  • Retail and institutional investors are covered.
  • Most conventional investment products qualify for protection.
  • Coverage is triggered by specific insolvency events.

The CIPF Claims Process

If an investment dealer bankruptcy occurs, CIPF will notify affected customers and provide guidance on next steps. Here is an overview of the claims process:

1. File a Claim

Customers complete and submit a CIPF claims form with account statements detailing cash and securities held. Supporting documentation should be included.

2. Review and Acceptance

CIPF reviews all claims and verifies account balances against the investment dealer’s records. Claims may be accepted in full, partially accepted, or rejected.

3. Payment of Compensation

For accepted claims, CIPF issues payments up to the $1 million coverage limit. Compensation is paid in Canadian dollars within 3 months of the claim deadline.

4. Transfer of Securities

Securities positions from accepted claims are typically transferred to another dealer for continued holding or liquidation by the investor.

Key Points:

  • Customers must file detailed claims with account records.
  • CIPF reviews claims and issues payments within months.
  • Securities can be transferred; liquidation is the investor’s choice.

CIPF Coverage FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about CIPF’s protections:

What events can trigger CIPF coverage?

Coverage is triggered if a member dealer becomes bankrupt or insolvent, ceases business, or is suspended by IIROC. Examples include documented theft, fraud, or misappropriation of assets.

Does CIPF guarantee assets or prevent losses?

No. CIPF does not prevent investment losses or guarantee the value of securities. It only compensates for losses in case of insolvency.

What assets are not eligible for CIPF coverage?

Assets excluded from coverage include commodities above $50,000 per account, foreign currencies above $100,000, and cryptoassets like Bitcoin.

What is the maximum CIPF coverage?

The coverage limit is $1 million per account, including registered and non-registered accounts. Joint accounts qualify for up to $1 million.

How long does it take to get CIPF compensation?

Claims are normally paid out within 3 months of the claims deadline. The process duration can vary depending on complexity.

What happens to my securities if a dealer goes bankrupt?

Typically securities are transferred to an active dealer. Investors then choose whether to hold or liquidate the assets.

Key Points:

  • Insolvency, fraud, or regulatory suspension can trigger coverage.
  • CIPF does not prevent losses or guarantee investment values.
  • The standard coverage limit is $1 million per eligible account.
  • Claims are normally paid within months after detailed review.


As an investor, having a basic understanding of CIPF and its protections is important. CIPF provides valuable coverage against losses in the rare case that an investment dealer becomes insolvent. With segregated account structures and other investor safeguards in place, large-scale insolvencies are uncommon. However, CIPF serves as an extra layer of protection and confidence for Canadian investors.