Spotlight on Payments Canada


Meet Payments Canada

1. What is the mission and vision of Payments Canada?

Payments Canada ensures that financial transactions in Canada are carried out safely and securely each day. Payments Canada underpins the Canadian financial system and economy by owning and operating Canada’s payment clearing and settlement infrastructure, including associated systems, bylaws, rules and standards.

2. Why is trustworthy digital identity critical for existing and emerging markets?

Secure payments absolutely depend upon secure digital identity and authentication. This is becoming increasingly important as the array of payment methods expand at the point-of-sale and e-commerce environments for consumers and businesses. As new players enter the fintech space and offer services traditionally performed by financial institutions and faster payment solutions, finding identity and authentication solutions that remain secure while minimizing consumer friction will be crucial.

3. How will digital identity transform the Canadian and global economy? How does Payments Canada address challenges associated with this transformation? 

Payments are the backbone of economic activity. More efficient, faster and secure payment processes help to spur economic activity by facilitating consumption, reducing costs and freeing resources. Modern digital identity and authentication are critical components of efficient and secure payment processes for Canadian and global transactions, particularly as cross-border commerce and trade grow.

Payments Canada works closely with its members, stakeholders and the public to develop mechanisms, policies and rules that support efficient and secure payment transactions. It is vital that rules are in place to ensure that relying parties have a clear understanding of their role in safeguarding identity and authentication procedures. At the same time, digital identity and authentication is much bigger than just payments, which is why Payments Canada is working with the financial services industry and organizations like DIACC to ensure our understanding aligns with wider efforts.

4. What role does Canada have to play as a leader in the space?

Canada has many advantages in the digital identity space. End-user demand is high for ubiquitous and low-friction access to digital services and information. We also have a highly-evolved financial infrastructure and cybersecurity methods to balance end-user demand with secure identity and authentication. Canada also possesses rich clusters of technical and academic capability to identify and implement novel solutions to identity management.

In financial services, these factors are particularly pronounced and the industry is evolving quickly to offer easier service with the security of multi-factor authentication, biometric identification, advanced fraud detection and tokenization of sensitive information. The regulatory environment in financial services is also quite stringent with regards to Know-Your-Client (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Terrorist Financing (TF) identity-related  processes and reporting requirements. Canada will be harnessing these factors to develop world-leading identity management and authentication processes in the coming years and will likely assume a leadership role in this area.

5. What else should we know about Payments Canada?

In 2017, Payments Canada cleared and settled over 7.5 billion transactions totaling over $50 trillion or about $200 billion each business day. We are critical to the efficient functioning of the Canadian economy and our Large Value Transfer System (LVTS) and Automated Clearing and Settlement System (ACSS) are designated by the Bank of Canada as systemically important payment systems (SIPS) and prominent payments systems (PPS) respectively. 

Payments Canada is leading a multi-year industry program to modernize the infrastructure, rules and standards that underpin payments in Canada. These improvements will strengthen our resilience, align with international standards and create a platform for innovation, enabling new and exciting ways for Canadians to pay for goods and services, transfer funds and exchange data about their payments.