Lynx is Canada’s high-value payment system. It is an electronic wire system that facilitates the irrevocable transfer of payments in Canadian dollars between Canadian financial institutions across the country.
Designated by the Bank of Canada as a systemically important payment system under the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act, Lynx is critical to Canada’s economy, not only to safely send large payments, but also as the key mechanisms by which the Bank of Canada implements its monetary policy. It was built in compliance with Canadian and international risk standards and will deliver end-to-end support for the global ISO 20022 messaging standard that will enable data-rich payments.
Direct participants in Lynx must establish and maintain a Lynx settlement account at the Bank of Canada. Certain financial institutions participate directly in the system, while others arrange Lynx payments for their customers through direct Lynx participants. Lynx operating costs are funded by our system participants.
Lynx is operated by Payments Canada and regulated by the Bank of Canada. Payments Canada administers the daily operations of Lynx, including the rules that support it. The legal foundation for the system is provided in Payments Canada’s Lynx By-law and in the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act.
Find all Lynx rules and procedures in our Rules Centre.
Lynx is designed as an open and accessible system to capture most of the value exchanged daily through the payment system in Canada; there are no minimum volume or value requirements for participation. Any deposit-taking financial institution that is a member of Payments Canada can participate in Lynx, provided it maintains a settlement account at the Bank of Canada, has the facilities to pledge collateral to the Bank of Canada for Lynx purposes and meets certain technical requirements set out in the Lynx Rules. Each participant must also be a member of SWIFT.
Journey to Lynx
Modernization began in mid-2015 with consultations with more than 100 organizations within the Canadian and global payments ecosystem.
In September 2021, Lynx replaced the Large Value Transfer System (LVTS) as Canada’s high-value payment system. A second release of the system is planned for late 2022 and will enable the ISO 20022 messaging standard. This will support Canadian financial institutions in meeting SWIFT ISO 20022 global requirements in November 2022.
Industry testing and dress rehearsal
- In preparation for Lynx, Payments Canada led the successful completion of Lynx industry testing, a comprehensive five month simulation and testing process with its technology partners and 17 participants. It also completed comprehensive contingency planning and testing of the Lynx fall-back solution.
- An implementation dress rehearsal and readiness audit was also completed, which included implementing the new technology and a complete run-through of the processes required for Lynx. This testing confirmed preparedness for the system to go-live.
Publication of ISO 20022 messages
- A second release of Lynx (in 2022) will support end-to-end delivery of ISO 20022 messages. Lynx ISO 20022 message specifications have been published to support Canadian financial institutions ability to prepare for the second release, as well as meet SWIFT’s ISO 20022 migration date for cross-border payments (end of 2022).
By-law approval and designation
- The Lynx By-law was approved by the Department of Finance and is now part of the Canadian legal framework. This critical by-law underpins the Lynx system and will support its operation by outlining the framework and expectations for use.
- Lynx was also designated a systemically important payment system under the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act.
Lynx go-live: Release one
- The Lynx system was successfully launched in September 2021, replacing the LVTS as Canada’s high-value payment system. Release two (in 2022) will support end-to-end delivery of ISO 20022 messages.