Vas Bedner and Robert Fay: Everyday Canadians seem to be an afterthought in the current development process

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Open banking continues to make slow progress in Canada.

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Following last year’s Federal Advisory Board’s final report, Junior Finance Minister Randy Boissonnaut hired Abraham Tadjian to oversee the transition to an open banking regime that gives Canadians greater control over their financial data. and working group discussions are ongoing.

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Government goals matter. This means making it easier for new companies to enter the market, stimulating competition in the financial system, fostering innovation, increasing consumer choice and reducing costs. Open Banking can do all of this by allowing consumers to share their financial data with their provider of services of choice. This will level the playing field that is currently in favor of Canada’s largest bank. As new entrants vie for market share and traditional players are forced to step up their game, the added competition will drive more growth in the financial industry through the creation of more personalized financial products and advisory services. It should encourage innovation.

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The Treasury Department emphasizes that an open banking system will enable consumers to transfer financial data between financial institutions and authorized third parties in a secure and consumer-friendly manner. It aims to give Canadians and businesses more control and better control over their financial data. Equipped to manage their finances.

Ironically, despite the participation of the Public Interest Advocacy Center and Option Consommateurs in the working group, the consumer perspective seems to be lacking, thus making it easier for consumers to reach out to consumers in the broader public policy-making process. seems to have lost focus.

These arguments about open banking frameworks that essentially give consumers control over their financial information are dominated by business interests, not consumer interests. This is, at least in part, due to the “low profile” of Canada’s avid consumer group, compared to other developed countries. may not. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business recently said, “Most small businesses don’t even know what open banking is, much less that it can be done.”

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As one report from the UK noted, “Businesses need to shape their products around people, rather than expecting consumers to shape themselves around them.” , in Canada, consumers are largely excluded from the conversation.

Certainly, the implementation of open banking involves respecting consumer privacy and security, while at the same time certifying new financial sector participants, addressing responsibilities, and implementing digital identities, as well as other issues related to consumer data mobility rights. It requires a very complex and essential discussion to do. Applies when data is transferred between institutions.

Many consumers already have a kind of protoportability of their banking data through familiar intermediaries such as Plaid Inc. This allows customers to share their banking credentials with financial technology companies and budget programs such as Intuit Inc.’s Mint. In the Advisory Board’s final report, members said the screen-scraping tactics used in these programs “required sharing of bank login credentials with a third party his provider, so the Canadian It poses real security and liability risks.” Again, the consumer’s best interests are consistently underestimated.

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But consumers who have joined the forefront of digital finance are not protected by a regulatory regime designed to protect their interests and data, which are essential for building trust. Below is the role of the Open Banking Working Group. Not surprisingly, the incumbent financial industry players are well represented. However, everyday Canadians – key stakeholders looking to benefit from the data mobility rights offered by Open Banking – seem to be on the back burner in the current development process.

This lack of representation can ultimately ruin the whole initiative. If consumers are not involved in developing the system, adoption of the initiative is likely to be low, lending credence to the claims of those who have opposed the creation of an open banking system, speculating that there is a lack of interest. will give .

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In fact, the lack of broader public engagement and advocacy for open banking meant that people were not properly prepared to take advantage of the initiative, leaving them surprised or confused when the process was over. (or both). This is a costly mistake.

These discussions are also important from another point of view. This means engaging with consumers about what they expect from data movement, including privacy and security. Its impact goes far beyond open banking. The decisions of these deliberations have the potential to reshape how data is managed, used and regulated across the economy. Therefore, it becomes even more important for the consumer to be at the table.

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This raises the question of where is the responsibility to motivate people about this expired innovation and its impact. Politicians? journalist? banker? Consumer Advocate? No one is doing it effectively today.

The public policy process seems increasingly inclined to prioritize the mediation of legal reforms over the interests of corporate stakeholders. The formal process to articulate Canada’s long-awaited open banking regime is focused on the new regime’s key pipelines: banking institutions and fintech. But we seem to be overlooking the voices of Canadians who are committed to open banking.

The Advisory Panel on Open Banking recommended that Tachjian, leader of Open Banking, support this work through industry working groups including: balanced (Add italics) Representatives from banks, other prospective open banking participants, and consumer representatives.

It’s never too late to restore that balance.

Vas Bednar is Executive Director of the Master of Public Policy in the Digital Society program at McMaster University and a Senior Fellow of the Center for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI). Robert Fay is CIGI’s Managing Director of Digital Economy.



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