Canadian tech leaders have signed an open letter calling on the government to move forward with open banking. Fintechs including Flinks, Paystone and Borrowell say it is ‘long past time for Canada to embrace open banking‘.
The letter, organised by member organisation, the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), warns that it is time for “Canada to catch up with the European Union, the US and the UK to ensure we have affordable and innovative open banking”.
In 2015, the CCI launched to enable tech CEOs to actively shape the public policy development process. Presently, the Council comprises over 150 CEOs who lead high-growth companies headquartered in Canada.
Its recently launched Canadians for Open Banking campaign aims to increase consumer control, security and choice in Canada’s financial services sector. It also wants the government to take action, prioritise economic growth, and embrace open banking as a catalyst for a more competitive and innovative Canada.
Nicholas Schiavo, CCI director of federal affairs, commented: “Open banking regimes have been implemented in advanced economies around the world, including the UK, European Union and the United States. Fundamentally, open banking seeks to empower consumers, drive innovation, reduce fees, better protect data and enhance the accessibility of financial services for businesses.
“During the 2021 federal election, the Liberal Party promised to enact regulations to create a system of open banking in Canada. They promised to get it done by the beginning of 2023, but as we near the end of the calendar year, we’re concerned the Liberal’s may be quietly abandoning their promise.”
The open letter
The CCI insists the campaign is not ‘just about getting the government to fulfill an election promise’. Instead, it’s about increasing consumer control, security and choice in Canada’s financial services sector. It argues that open banking gives “Canadian players large and small the opportunity to innovate and remain competitive”.
The letter says: “A lack of competition stifles innovation, drives up prices, and leads to stagnation. Canadians suffer as a result. During this cost of living crisis, there’s never been a greater need to give Canadians more control over their money.
“In the financial services sector, we see our global peers delivering new products to make financial services more convenient, more widely available to unbanked citizens, and driving down costs.”
The campaign letter concludes by issuing a rallying call to the Canadian government, urging it to reaffirm its promise to enact open banking as well as to provide a clear roadmap for its implementation.
“Many of us made business investments and built strategies around your election promise; we need assurance that you’re going to keep your word.”