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Fintechs Canada sends pre-budget submission to federal government

Fintechs Canada is asking the government to follow through on its committment to implement “consumer-driven banking,” while continuing to support Payments Canada’s program to build a “real-time rail,” which will be Canada’s first real-time payment system.

Late last year, the federal government committed to introducing legislation as part of budget 2024 to implement consumer-driven banking. Also known as open banking around the world, it will give Canadians the ability to share their financial information with other organizations of their choosing without compromising their financial security.

In the 2023 fall economic statement, the federal government said it would:

  • Mandate a “government-led” entity to oversee the system
  • Define which entities can participate, the scope of data and accounts, and the type of API access that will be permitted (e.g., read versus write)
  • Give consumers the ability to share the in-scope data in its unaltered, original format free of charge
  • Establish common rules for data sharing in the financial sector
  • Include a formal accreditation framework against which data recipients will be assessed in order to participate in the CDB system
  • Mandate the use of a single technical standard

As part of its pre-budget consultation, Fintechs Canada shared its perspective on the government-led entity that would be mandated to oversee the system. The association proposed what the government-led entity should do, as well as what it’s mandate should be.

According to Fintechs Canada, the government-led entity should oversee accreditation of open banking participants, supervise the conduct of participants, supervise the conduct of the mandated standard-setting body, and maintain a registry of accredited participants.

The appropriate mandate is “one that puts the interests of data
subjects (e.g., consumers) first and foremost…[and] should also include the promotion of fair and responsible competition, since consumer-driven banking is also about giving Canadians access to a wider range of financial services,” reads Fintechs Canada’s pre-budget submission. “Moreover, the government-led entity should have the resources to educate Canadians about the benefits of consumer-driven banking.”

Fintechs Canada also recommended that the federal government continue to support the real-time rail, a new real-time payment system that would be owned and operated by Payments Canada.

Payments Canada began work on the real-time rail years ago, but the program has been subject to delays. The World Bank catalogues all the countries around the world that have built and deployed a real-time payment system, and Canada is among the few countries in the world to not have one.

“We applaud the government for continuing to support the real-time rail, despite the challenges Payments Canada, a not-for-profit member association, is facing in trying to get the system up and running,” reads Fintechs Canada’s pre-budget submission. “By continuing to support the delivery of the real-time rail, the government will help expand access to the Canadian payment system and make the system itself more functionally rich for consumers and businesses.”

To read the full pre-budget submission, click here.

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