Payments Canada welcomes inclusion of the Retail Payments Oversight Framework in 2021 federal budget

Published: April 19, 2021

Payments Canada applauds the inclusion of the Retail Payments Oversight Framework (RPOF), and its oversight by the Bank of Canada, as part of the 2021 federal budget, A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience.

“The implementation of the Retail Payments Oversight Framework is a welcome addition to Canada’s payments system,” said Anne Butler, Chief Legal Officer and Vice President of Policy and Research. “By including RPOF in the budget, the Canadian government acknowledges the importance of modern payments regulation and broader access to Canada’s national payments systems. Implementing RPOF is a key step towards Payments Canada’s ability to safely open our systems for payments service providers to participate and compete in Canada’s payments market.” 

RPOF was initially announced by the government in 2019 in response to the rapid pace of innovation in the retail payments space. It will require non-financial institution payment service providers (PSPs) to establish sound operational risk management practices and protect users’ funds against losses. RPOF will be a public registry of regulated PSPs, maintained by the Bank of Canada, to ensure their compliance with operational and financial requirements. 

Key considerations in implementing RPOF

  • RPOF is an important step towards broader access: Implementing RPOF is a step towards Payments Canada’s ability to safely make Canada’s systems - including the Real-Time-Rail (RTR) expected to go live in 2022 - accessible to non-financial institution PSPs. The next step is to introduce required changes to the Canadian Payments Act to support broader Payments Canada membership. 
  • Uniform oversight will level the playing field and enhance trust: By ensuring that all competitors face comparable regulatory oversight, and checks and balances for the functions they perform, there will also be an enhanced level of trust amongst incumbent financial institutions and PSPs.

“A modern regulatory framework for payments is important in attracting investment, improving competitiveness and sustaining growth in Canada’s financial services and payments sector,” added Butler. “This includes the implementation of the Retail Payments Oversight Framework, which is an important step in supporting the delivery of modern payments solutions for Canadian consumers and businesses that are fast, secure and convenient.”

About Payments Canada

Payments Canada is a public purpose organization that owns and operates Canada’s payments systems, the Large Value Transfer System (LVTS) and the Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACSS). Payments Canada is responsible for the physical infrastructure and the associated bylaws, rules, and standards that support these systems. It also has a duty to promote the efficiency, safety, and soundness of Canada’s payments systems while taking into account the interests of end users. In 2020, Payments Canada’s systems cleared and settled over $107 trillion - more than $420 billion every business day. Transactions that pass through these systems include debit card payments, pre-authorized debits, direct deposits, bill payments, wire payments and cheques initiated and received by Canadians and Canadian businesses. Payments Canada is working closely with the payments ecosystem to modernize Canada’s payments systems to ensure Canada and Canadian businesses remain globally competitive. Payments Canada will launch a new high-value payments system, Lynx, in 2021 and a real-time payments system, the Real-Time Rail (RTR), in 2022. 

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