Gary Schwartz


Canadians for Open Banking: CCI’s Open Letter to Minister Freeland

We are calling on the Liberal government to keep their 2021 election promise and enact rules to mandate open banking in Canada. To sign your name to this letter, click here.

Dear Minister Freeland,

The Competition Bureau recently confirmed what many of us already knew intuitively: The Canadian economy is a less competitive place than it was twenty years ago.

A lack of competition stifles innovation, drives up prices, and leads to stagnation. Canadians suffer as a result. During this cost of living crisis, there’s never been a greater need to give Canadians more control over their money. 

In the financial services sector, we see our global peers delivering new products to make financial services more convenient, more widely available to unbanked citizens, and driving down costs. It’s time for Canada to catch up with the European Union, the United States and the UK to ensure we have affordable and innovative open banking. 

Through open banking, we have seen countries empower their consumers by allowing them to securely access and share their own financial data. We know this is possible, and we have seen the benefits it brings.

Too often, we hear commentary in Canada that amounts to small-minded protectionism. The belief that Canada’s financial sector is strong because it is concentrated in a handful of very large banks is deeply misguided.

The reality is that a wave of innovation is well underway within global financial services, and the most competitive and forward-looking leaders are based elsewhere. We cannot wall ourselves off from this, and if we did, Canadians would be poorer for it.

The longer we wait to implement a secure, 21st century financial system, the greater risks Canadians will be exposed to. As cybercrime rises, it’s critical that we protect the hard-earned money of Canadians with best practices and the best technology.

The commentators who say that open banking pits small innovators against large, incumbent financial institutions fail to see the bigger picture. The fact is that global tech giants like Apple, Google, Amazon and Uber are all exploring innovative financial services. What’s more, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced its intention to move forward with open banking rules in the United States that will only accelerate innovation.

Open banking gives Canadian players large and small the opportunity to innovate and remain competitive.

Two years ago, we were excited to see the Liberal Party of Canada platform promise to enact open banking in Canada by the end of 2022. Ten months after that deadline has come and gone, we are still waiting.

Today, we are calling on you to reaffirm your promise to enact open banking, including open banking, and release a clear roadmap for when we can expect to see it implemented. Many of us made business investments and built strategies around your election promise; we need assurance that you’re going to keep your word.