March 28, 2023, Washington, DC – FDATA North America today submitted a letter in response to the Canadian government’s review of the Competition Act. As a trade association representing dozens of some of the most innovative financial technology companies working alongside Canadian consumers and small- and medium-sized enterprises, we support the development of a more competitive marketplace in which consumers and SMEs may choose the provider, tool or service that best fits their unique need. We also used this review submission as another opportunity to urge the Government of Canada to make concrete progress on the development of its open banking regime, particularly since the deadline set forth in the 2021 Advisory Committee Report on Open Banking has now passed.
The letter stressed the important need to update and right-size the Competition Act to reflect today’s current business environment to maintain competition in the market for data-driven financial services, noting that these updates must address situations where certain market participants either individually or collectively override a decision by a consumer or SME to direct a potential competitor to electronically access their financial information. Our letter particularly described how restrictions on customer-directed data sharing that directly inhibit competition must be scrutinized under well-established competition laws as the Department of Finance works to implement an open banking regime for Canada, any stressed that any new legislation or regulations regarding competition in the financial services marketplace should be aligned with the Department’s work on this file.
The letter also identified several provisions of the Competition Act that apply to financial institutions could be more actively used to prevent financial institutions from blocking consumer-permissioned data access to third party financial providers of their choosing, and shared details on how the United Kingdom and Australia developed their open banking regimes to maximize competition and consumer benefit.