Payments Canada’s public consultation shows support for real-time payments system

Published: January 25, 2021

On October 30, 2020, Payments Canada closed its public consultation on the policy proposals outlined in the Canada’s New Real-Time Payments System Policy Framework consultation paper

The public consultation confirmed industry support for the Real-Time Rail (RTR), Canada’s new real-time payments system, and identified topics where additional information and/or discussion would be helpful. The feedback received will inform the capabilities of the RTR and the policies and rules that will govern RTR participants.

Key themes identified in consultation responses included:

  • Agreement that broader participant access to the RTR beyond federally regulated financial institutions will encourage competition, innovation, and the introduction of enhanced and new payment products and services. Broader access must not compromise the security and resilience of the RTR system.
  • Strong support for the Canadian government’s expected introduction of the Retail Payments Oversight Framework (RPOF) and amendments to the Canadian Payments Act, which are required to permit broader participant access to the RTR. 
  • Support for the inclusion of Request to Pay functionality as a feature of the RTR. This aligns with international best practices and will foster innovation and competition.
  • Recognition of the benefits of the ISO 20022 message standard that will support data-rich payments, particularly for business payments.
  • Encouragement for Payments Canada to lead the development of a comprehensive approach to address real-time payments fraud risk.

Areas where additional information and/or discussion would be helpful included the following: 

  • Credit unions urged Payments Canada to pursue changes to the Canadian Payments Act to ensure that local credit unions can become members of Payments Canada and access the RTR even if RPOF legislation is not tabled in 2021.
  • Requests for Payments Canada to investigate alternative safe and sound options for Payment Service Providers (PSPs) to access the RTR in the event that RPOF and necessary membership amendments to the Canadian Payments Act are not implemented prior to the launch of the RTR. 
  • Industry-level discussions should be held regarding the governance of the additional payments-related data that will be provided by ISO 20022 messages.
  • Requests for Payments Canada to ensure that policies addressing consumer outcomes in the event of transaction errors or fraud provide sufficient end-user protection.

Payments Canada would like to thank all who submitted a response to the public consultation. Respondents included financial institutions, credit unions, consumer groups, non-profit associations, payment service providers, and individuals. As we progress in 2021, Payments Canada will continue to work with industry working groups to address consultation feedback,  including alternative access options for PSPs, ISO 20222 data governance policy proposals, and real-time payment system fraud management.

For any questions or comments relating to the consultation process, please contact Payments Canada at modernization@payments.ca.