Our History

Payments Canada was officially established as the Canadian Payments Association by an Act of Parliament in 1980. Created as a regulated public-purpose organization, we are given a mandate to  “establish and operate national systems for the clearing and settlement of payments and other arrangements for the making or exchange of payments; facilitate the interaction of our clearing and settlement systems and related arrangements with other systems or arrangements involved in the exchange, clearing or settlement of payments; and facilitate the development of new payment methods and technologies.”  The Payments Canada name was adopted in 2016.

Our retail system—the Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACSS)—was introduced in 1984, and continues to provide clearing for the vast majority of payments in Canada. Our Large Value Transfer System (LVTS) was launched in 1999 to facilitate electronic transfer of large Canadian dollar payments across the country with guaranteed finality in near real time.

In 2001 the Canadian Payments Act was struck, replacing the former Canadian Payments Association Act, and extending participation in our systems to life insurance companies, securities dealers, and qualified corporations on behalf of money market mutual funds. Other key elements of the Act were a new Board of Directors structure to include three appointees by the Minister of Finance and the enshrinement of our Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC).

In July 2015, changes to the Canadian Payments Act were implemented to establish a new governance and oversight framework. In anticipation of changes to the Canadian Payments Act and the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act, a new Strategic Plan was developed for the organization. Today that plan is being executed across the organization, helping to establish ourselves as the centre of excellence for payments in Canada, acting in the best interest of Canada and its economy.


Electronic payments

Ninety percent of the volume in our retail system comes from Canadians making payments electronically. That includes point-of-service (POS) payments, direct deposits, online payments, pre-authorized debits, bill payments, and electronic data interchange transactions.