In a live Q&A with the audience at Open Banking Expo Canada on Thursday November 5th, Ilse Treurnicht, who is a member of the Advisory Committee on Open Banking revealed that the second phase of the country’s Open Banking consultation is due to begin this month. 

In a question posed by Jennifer Reynolds, who is President and Chief Executive Officer of Toronto Finance International, in relation to what the timescale was likely to be for the second phase of the Open Banking consultation, Treurnicht replied: “We have good news! The second phase of consultations have been greenlighted, and they will commence at the end of the month and run through the period of December.” 

The first round of consultations received more than 100 submissions in response to the consultation paper, "A Review into the Merits of Open Banking," which was released in January 2019. 

Instead of "Open Banking", the Committee proposed the use of a term that more accurately captures what is in fact, being proposed: consumer-directed finance. 

The second round of consultations were delayed until the appointment of a new finance minister, following the exit of Bill Morneau in August. Canada's deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland was named his successor, and it is understood that she has prioritised the revival of the consultation. 

During her Q&A, Ilse confirmed that all stakeholders had been informed of the second round and are in receipt of relevant papers in order to proceed. 

This will be a welcome move, as the original review reported that with the strength of its financial services sector, ambitious innovators and top talent, Canada has the potential to be a leader in the development of consumer-directed finance – but that it risks falling behind if it does not take timely and concrete action. 

Speaking later on the program was Senator Colin Deacon, an advocate of consumer-directed finance, who expressed “a ton of excitement and gratitude towards our new minister of finance for prioritising the consultations and getting us back moving again!”

“Unless there is certainty in a market – and the government is a big part of enabling there to be certainty in markets – you don’t get investors moving in, in a significant way. The fact that there has been a strong signal out of Finance Canada that they are moving ahead with the Open Banking consultations and prioritising them, two months into this minister’s time at one of the most challenging time in our history, is such an important signal.” 

Open Banking Expo Canada in association with Equifax Canada took place virtually this year from November 3-5. The program featured more than 30 advocates of consumer-directed finance on the speaking roster, promoting the benefits of Open Banking on consumer and SME lending. All sessions are now available on demand.