FREDERICTON (GNB) - The provincial government is establishing a single, independent financial services regulatory agency to strengthen consumer protection in New Brunswick.

"In establishing the Financial and Consumer Services Commission and bringing these services under one roof, we are making the regulation of financial services stronger, more effective and better resourced," said Justice Minister and Attorney General Marie-Claude Blais. "This announcement is about providing the best consumer protection for New Brunswickers."

The commission will be dedicated to consumer protection and regulatory oversight. It will be responsible for the current mandate of the New Brunswick Securities Commission and will include responsibility for consumer affairs, credit unions, caisses populaires, co-operatives, trust companies, insurance, pensions and  enforcement. In addition, it will provide for an independent hearing tribunal.

"Other jurisdictions in Canada and internationally have successfully taken this approach," said David Barry, chair of the commission. "As an organization dedicated to meeting the needs of our stakeholders and the public, we believe that consolidating the regulatory authority for New Brunswick's financial and consumer services legislation under one independent commission is an intelligent move for our province."