Council of Canadian Innovators joins call for government to ‘enact’ Open Banking

Ellie Duncan
17 Nov 2023

The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) has joined Open Finance Network Canada, Fintechs Canada and the Conservatives in calling for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to “reaffirm her government’s promise to enact Open Banking”.

In an article on the CCI’s website titled, ‘It is long past time for Canada to embrace Open Banking’, Nicholas Schiavo, CCI director of federal affairs, wrote: “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 Liberals may be quietly abandoning their promise.”

He also announced the launch of a campaign by CCI, ‘Canadians for Open Banking’.

Schiavo said that the campaign is “not just about getting the government to fulfil an election promise”, but about “increasing consumer control, security and choice in Canada’s financial services sector”.

“It’s time for the government to heed this call to action, prioritize economic growth, and embrace Open Banking as a catalyst for a more competitive and innovative Canada,” he added.

As part of the campaign, the CCI has written to the Minister Freeland in an open letter, which has been signed by business and public policy leaders, including Andrew Graham, chief executive officer of Borrowell, Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf, Flinks’ chief executive officer and Jeff Adamson, co-founder of Neo Financial.

In the letter, the CCI states: “The belief that Canada’s financial sector is strong because it is concentrated in a handful of very large banks is deeply misguided.”

It goes into state: “The commentators who say that Open Banking pits small innovators against large, incumbent financial institutions fail to see the bigger picture.”

The letter goes on to point out that global tech giants including Apple, Google, Amazon and Uber are all exploring financial services and also highlights the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent announcement to “move forward with Open Banking rules”.

The letter ends: “Today, we are calling on you to reaffirm your promise to enact Open Banking, and release a clear roadmap for when we can expect to see it implemented.”

This month, the board of Open Finance Network Canada also wrote to Minister Freeland, urging the government to act immediately to implement Open Banking.

Last month, the collective voice for Canadian fintechs, not-for-profit association Fintechs Canada, launched a campaign to “demand that the government upgrade Canada’s financial system”.