An Open Banking lead needs to be appointed “as quickly as possible” if Canada is to meet the 2023 deadline for Open Banking implementation set by the government, agreed a panel representing a cross-section of the Canadian financial services ecosystem.
At Open Banking Expo’s quarterly Canada meetup on 28 September, Steve Boms, executive director at FDATA North America, said that “with the hiring of the Open Banking lead… we can start the process of not just designing but implementing the Open Banking framework”.
The Government of Canada’s Advisory Committee on Open Banking, in its final report published in August, recommended that the appointment of an Open Banking lead who will be accountable to the deputy minister at Finance Canada should be an immediate next step.
Michelle Beyo, CEO of Finavator and Open Banking Initiative Canada board member, agreed that a lead from the government needed to be appointed, and that moving this forward is “crucial”, given how “far behind” Canada is on its Open Banking journey, compared to the UK, Australia, Brazil and Singapore.
The panel, moderated by Cormac Leddy, senior manager, technology consulting at EY (pictured left), were reacting to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s recently published report which stated the initial Open Banking framework should be operational by January 2023, and in the wake of Canada’s recent snap election.
Senator Colin Deacon, independent senator, Senate of Canada, told the panel: “I’m going to be looking for the Open Banking issue to be very high on the Minister of Finance’s letter… with a statement about the target date in there as well. So it’s a clear signal to everyone that this is happening.”
He added that there is a need to find an Open Banking lead “as quickly as possible”.
Equitable Bank president and CEO Andrew Moor also called on the Minister of Finance to “weigh in”, adding that “one of the things we’ve lacked in Canada is that political will”.
However, FinTech Growth Syndicate founder and CEO Sue Britton (pictured right), said: “We can’t let up the pressure politically, even with the deputy minister. We have to get moving before the lead is announced.”
The panel also voiced concerns about the timeline for an Open Banking roadmap, given that January 2023 deadline.
“I suspect we might find the banks are losing more ground to not just fintechs, but the tech giants. Now, more than ever, we have to have a heavier hand from the regulators,” added Britton. “I really think that accreditation has to be fast.”
Stéphane Bousquet, Open Banking leader at the National Bank of Canada, urged the industry to “come together and set forward an agenda, a roadmap that is practical” and said that the biggest challenge in meeting the deadline is the “duality of scope versus deadline”.
“We have a year to stand up a system with a scope that, in our view, is too broad. We need an agreement on that ASAP before we can commit to that 2023 deadline,” said Bousquet.
Watch back the panel discussion on demand here and catch up on the other panel debate ‘Out in front – global Open Banking developments’ here.
Last week, Open Banking Expo announced that it will return to Canada with a virtual two-day event in November, with headline partner Equifax Canada. To find out more about the event and view the program, click here.