Changes to Canada’s payments systems will create faster, more flexible and secure ways to pay

Payments Canada announces far-reaching plans to improve payments infrastructure and rules

Ottawa, ON (December 8, 2016) - Payments Canada today released far-reaching plans to change the payments infrastructure and rules that underpin financial transactions in Canada. These improvements will create a platform for innovation, enabling new and exciting ways for Canadians to pay for goods and services, transfer money and exchange data about their payments. Supporting innovation at the customer level will be a faster, more flexible and secure payments infrastructure that puts Canada at the leading edge of payments.

“Payment system modernization is about making sure we are competitive as a nation in a global economy,” said Gerry Gaetz, President and CEO of Payments Canada. “There are many things changing at a global level in payments – regulation, technology, new players, and opportunities for more payments data. We must make sure our payments infrastructure and standards are up to date. The consequence of this work will be a faster, safer and fairer payments system that fosters innovation and creates a better payment experience for all Canadians.”

The following set of changes will be implemented over the next four to five years, with notable enhancements in place as early as 2017. This work extends beyond Payments Canada, requiring significant investment by key stakeholders in governments, the financial services industry and users of payment systems. To meet regulatory requirements and ensure safety and soundness, all enhancements will be designed to meet global standards for risk management.

  • In order to deliver benefits to Canadians as soon as possible, changes will be made to existing payment systems to help financial institutions exchange payments faster and more frequently, giving individuals and businesses more immediate access to funds.
  • Payments and money transfers will be faster and more convenient with a new real-time payments capability that will allow industry participants to innovate, resulting in new and modern ways for customers to pay.
  • The implementation of the global messaging standard ISO 20022 will make electronic payments more accommodating and convenient for businesses and support the move away from paper-based invoicing and cheques. Canadian businesses need to ready themselves for ISO 20022 adoption to reap the benefits, which include enhanced payment information and streamlined cross-border payments.
  • To strengthen Canada's competitive position and provide a safe and secure foundation that supports a dynamic payments environment, a new core clearing and settlement system will be implemented and operated by Payments Canada.  
  • The legal framework underpinning Canada's payment clearing and settlement systems will be modernized to facilitate the changes and support future innovation and improvements.

These plans are the result of extensive work with financial institutions and stakeholders to address the needs identified in Payments Canada's Vision for the Payments Ecosystem, published earlier this year. The Vision outlines what Canadians want from a future payment system: A modern payments system is fast, flexible and secure, promotes innovation, and strengthens Canada's competitive position.

The Industry Roadmap and High-Level Plan for Modernization is open for feedback until January 20, 2017. The Roadmap Reader provides a summary version of the plan. Comments can be directed to


About Payments Canada:

Payments Canada ensures that financial transactions in Canada are carried out safely and securely each day. The organization underpins the Canadian financial system and economy by owning and operating Canada’s payment clearing and settlement infrastructure, including associated systems, bylaws, rules and standards. The value of payments cleared and settled by Payments Canada in 2015 was nearly $50 trillion, or $197 billion every business day. These encompass a wide range of payments made by Canadians and businesses involving inter-bank transactions, including those made with debit cards, pre-authorized debits, direct deposits, bill payments, wire payments and cheques

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