Conservative shadow minister for pan-Canadian trade and competition Ryan Williams has tabled a private member’s bill on open banking, saying it is time for Canadians to control their own financial data.
Tabled Thursday, Bill C-365, the Consumer-Led Banking Act, would require Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to introduce open banking in Canada, something that is already available in countries like the U.K. and Australia.
Open banking allows financial institutions to securely share client account details (with clients’ consent) with third parties such as other banks and fintechs.
In 2021 a government-appointed advisory committee recommended that open banking be up and running by January 2023. In June of this year, the Department of Finance said the federal government remained committed to presenting a model of open banking in 2023, and that Canada’s open banking lead, Abraham Tachjian, had participated in over 200 stakeholder consultations since being appointed in March of last year.
The Conservative bill would require Freeland to table a plan to implement open banking within 30 days of the legislation passing.
Nine major U.K. banks subject to open banking requirements have free chequing accounts with no minimum balance while the big five banks in Canada charge more than $10 for the same service, Williams said in a release.
“Right now, banks own and control Canadians’ financial data. Our common sense plan would force the banks to allow Canadians to control their own financial data to be able to have competitor banks and financial tech companies compete for your business,” he said.
In October, Fintechs Canada, a group that includes Wealthsimple, ATB Financial, EQ Bank, Portage Ventures and several other firms, launched a campaign to raise awareness among Canadians and urge the federal government to act on open banking and payments modernization. The group cited similar concerns about high banking fees and payment processing costs.
The Department of Finance said in an email last month that it is “continuing to work on consumer-driven finance.”