Dean Velentzas

Head of Policy

Canada Embraces Consumer-Driven Banking with Bill C-69

Abstract: Canada has taken a major step towards open banking with the royal assent of Bill C-69, introducing the Consumer-Driven Banking Act (CDBA). This new legislation empowers consumers to control and share their financial data securely with third parties, moving away from insecure methods like screen scraping. The Canadian Lenders Association (CLA) has been a strong advocate for this change, pushing for a secure and innovative financial landscape. The CDBA aligns with global practices seen in the UK, EU, and US, promising enhanced consumer benefits and financial management. Stakeholders are encouraged to engage with regulatory developments to leverage the opportunities presented by the CDBA.


On June 20, 2024, Canada took a significant step forward in its commitment to rolling out a made-in-Canada open banking regime with the royal assent of Bill C-69, the Budget Implementation Act, 2024. This legislation enacts the Consumer-Driven Banking Act (CDBA) and introduces amendments to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act (FCAC Act), thereby establishing the nation’s inaugural framework for consumer-driven banking.

Understanding Nomenclature

The terms “open finance,” “open banking,” and “consumer-driven banking” are often used interchangeably but refer to distinct concepts within the financial sector. “Open banking” specifically involves the secure sharing of financial data between banks and third-party providers through APIs, enabling customers to access a broader range of financial services and products. “Open finance” extends this concept beyond banking to include a wider array of financial services such as investments, insurance, and pensions, allowing for a more holistic financial management experience. “Consumer-driven banking,” meanwhile, emphasizes the empowerment of consumers to control their financial data and dictate its sharing with various entities, encompassing the principles of both open banking and open finance while focusing on the consumer’s role in managing their financial information. These distinctions are crucial as they reflect varying scopes and objectives within the evolving landscape of financial services.

The Essence of “Consumer-Driven Banking”

A made-in-Canada “consumer-driven banking” system represents a significant shift in financial services. The new model empowers individuals and small enterprises to direct their financial institutions to share data with selected third parties. Historically, Canadian consumers had limited control over their banking data, often resorting to insecure methods like screen scraping. The CDBA aims to rectify this by ensuring data sharing is safeguarded by rigorous technical standards, thus fostering a secure and consumer-centric financial environment.

Advocating for a Canadian Open Finance System

For several years, the Canadian Lenders Association (CLA) has been a staunch advocate for a made-in-Canada open finance system. The CLA’s persistent efforts underscore the necessity of a secure, competitive, and innovative financial landscape that aligns with global best practices while addressing unique domestic needs. Their advocacy has been instrumental in pushing for legislative advancements that promise to empower consumers and drive financial innovation in Canada.

Broader Implications: A Global Context

Consumer-driven banking is not a novel concept on the global stage. As highlighted in an open letter from Canadians for Open Banking, nations such as the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States have long embraced open banking, yielding significant consumer benefits. These jurisdictions allow extensive data sharing that includes not only account information but also investments, loan servicing, and more. This comprehensive approach has spurred innovation and enhanced consumer choice, setting a benchmark that Canada is only beginning to approach.

Strategic Shifts for Fintechs and FIs

The enactment of the CDBA heralds both opportunities and challenges for various stakeholders:

  1. For Fintechs: The CDBA presents a gateway to integrating innovative services into the mainstream banking landscape. However, fintech firms must navigate compliance with new regulatory standards and invest heavily in data security infrastructure. This could potentially strain resources but also offers a pathway to significant market penetration.
  2. For Financial Institutions: Traditional banks may find themselves at a crossroads. The mandate for greater data portability disrupts conventional banking models, fostering an environment ripe for competition. Banks must enhance digital platforms and collaborate with third-party services to stay relevant. The regulatory framework also imposes a dual imperative: compliance and strategic partnership with fintech firms to harness innovative potentials while ensuring data security and customer trust.
  3. For Consumers: The new legislation promises enhanced control over personal financial data, facilitating access to more tailored and competitive financial products. Consumers stand to benefit from improved financial management tools and more informed decision-making capabilities.

Regulatory Path Forward

The full operationalization of the CDBA awaits further orders from the Governor in Council. Several critical questions, such as the precise definition of small businesses and the scope of derived data, remain unanswered. The forthcoming regulations will delineate the extent of data covered under the CDBA and outline compliance parameters under the FCAC Act. The Minister retains discretion in designating the technical standards body, which will play a crucial role in overseeing adherence to these standards.

As Canada steps into the realm of consumer-driven banking, it must grapple with aligning its framework with international standards and addressing domestic concerns to ensure a robust, competitive, and secure financial ecosystem.

Stakeholders are advised to stay abreast of regulatory developments to fully capitalize on the opportunities presented by the CDBA. Please reach out to to join the CLA’s Open Finance Roundtable and take part in discussions related to the future of open finance.