Proposed Changes to Canadian Payments Act to Expand Payments Canada’s Membership Receives Royal Assent

Lisa Sattler, Director of Policy and Government Relations at Payments Canada, is pleased to share that the proposed changes to the Canadian Payments Act (CP Act) in order “to expand Payments Canada’s membership have received Royal Assent, the final step required for a bill to become law.”

Lisa Sattler from Payments Canada, with 20 years of experience in payments, explains that the changes were included in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, also known as Bill C-59, and will “come into force on a day/days to be set by the Governor in Council.”

Lisa, who works closely with regulators, financial institutions, stakeholders and international counterparts, is focused on ensuring Payments Canada’s policies and rules “remain relevant and meet the needs of Canadians.”

Lisa added that with these changes, Payments Canada’s membership eligibility will “be expanded to payment service providers, credit unions that are members of their provincial centrals and clearing houses of systems designated under the Payments Clearing and Settlement Act.”

She continued:

“Reaching Royal Assent represents a critical milestone toward modern payments in Canada and the culmination of a joint advocacy effort from leaders across the Canadian payment ecosystem. Expanding Payments Canada’s membership eligibility lays the foundation for greater innovation and competition in payments services, meeting the ever-evolving needs of Canadians. For small businesses that continue to struggle with the cost of accepting payments, broader access could lead to lower overall operating costs. For consumers, it could mean more inclusive, accessible or affordable payment options.”

She pointed out that “expanded membership is just one piece of the puzzle that will support modern payments in Canada.”

One of the other critical pieces is the Retail Payment Activities Act (RPAA), a legislative framework “that assigns the Bank of Canada the responsibility of supervising payment service providers in Canada. The RPAA will fully come into force in September 2025.”

Lisa further noted that “requiring that any participants in our systems are regulated entities is an important foundation to ensure the continued safety and soundness of our systems.”

She also mentioned that “the third piece is Canada’s forthcoming Real-Time Rail (RTR), a new national real-time payment system that will initiate data-rich payments and receive irrevocable funds in seconds, any time of day or night, 365 days a year.”

Lisa shared:

“Combined with broader access to Canada’s payment infrastructure through changes to the CP Act and the implementation of RPAA, the RTR will be a platform for our members to foster safe innovation and more payment options for Canadians and their businesses.”

She concluded:

“Payments Canada is diligently reviewing our by-laws and rules in order to assess what consequential changes are needed to reflect the details of the legislation. Once we know the nature of the possible changes to our legal framework, we will consult broadly with the ecosystem. Any proposed changes to our by-laws will then go through the regulatory approval process, including drafting with the Department of Justice and publication in the Canada Gazette. This work will ensure that as we broaden access to our systems, we are doing it in a way that is safe, sound and risk-based.”

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