Message Maintenance

Keeping ISO 20022 electronic payment messages current and effective – our portfolio maintenance process

Payments Canada has adopted ISO 20022 as the standard for electronic payment messages that travel across our infrastructure. To meet the needs of financial institutions, businesses and their customers, we’ve developed a rich portfolio of ISO 20022 payment messages. These messages can be used in Canada to meet the needs of payors and payees in many different payment scenarios.  

To optimize the benefits of ISO 20022 in Canada, we’ve committed to maintaining the most recent versions of the messages in our portfolio. To help us do this, we’ve established a formal maintenance schedule. The maintenance schedule was developed in conjunction with SWIFT to align with their MT Standards Release Schedule. This means that the message portfolio is reviewed each year and updated as required. In the future, as more payment schemes adopt ISO 20022 messages, we’ll review our maintenance schedule to ensure it remains appropriate. 

Our ISO 20022 program governance structure provides us with input from multiple perspectives when we consider any changes to our message portfolio. An ISO 20022 Task Force, comprised of technical operations experts from participating financial institutions, provides advice and expertise on the efficient and effective use of ISO 20022 for payments cleared and settled through our systems. Payments Canada’s Senior Operational Committee provides a more strategic operational lens. It gives input on, or endorses, any changes recommended by the Task Force. The Senior Operational Committee is also consulted on strategic issues related to ISO 20022. 
Payments Canada provides final approval of any endorsed usage changes as well as the addition of any new messages to the ISO 20022 message portfolio. We also keep the Bank of Canada, which has oversight of our payment systems, informed of any significant changes.

The Payments Canada Board of Directors provides overall oversight. We seek their approval of any changes to Payments Canada rules and standards that we recommend as a result of changes in ISO 20022 usage. The board’s direction and approval are also sought for significant changes in policy related to ISO 20022. 

For more information on the ISO 20022 message portfolio or the maintenance process, please contact