Woman in hijab smiling and happy holding smartphone and gold bank credit card
iStock/Liubomyr Vorona

The government of Alberta is looking to expand access to financing that adheres to Islamic law, with a view to enabling halal mortgages.

The provincial government said that its regulatory sandbox — which allows financial firms to experiment with novel products and services — could be used to expedite financial products that follow Islamic law, which traditionally prohibits paying or charging interest.

“Halal financing provides mortgages to qualified homebuyers using fees and charges that resemble regular mortgage payments,” the government said in a release.

After halal financing mechanisms are tested in the regulatory sandbox, the government indicated that it would then develop legislative amendments to allow provincially-regulated financial institutions to offer forms of halal financing.

“We are laying the foundation for halal mortgages in Alberta so the Muslim community can easily own affordable housing in similar terms as regular mortgages. This initiative will allow our community greater opportunity for financing while respecting our Muslim faith,” said Omar Mahmoud, president of the Edmonton Council of Imams (ECI) in a release.

“By creating a flexible regulatory environment, we can attract new and innovative financial services into the province while also ensuring Alberta consumers are protected,” added Travis Toews, president of Alberta’s Treasury Board and provincial minister of finance.