Payments Canada underpins the Canadian financial system and economy by owning and operating Canada’s payment clearing and settlement infrastructure, including associated systems, by-laws, rules and standards.
The Canadian economy depends on the exchange of billions of dollars each day. Payments Canada ensures that these financial transactions in Canada are carried out safely and securely.
Our legislated mandate, as set out in the Canadian Payments Act, includes the following objectives:
- Establish and operate national systems for the clearing and settlement of payments and other arrangements for the making or exchange of payments.
- Facilitate the interaction of its clearing and settlement systems and related arrangements with other systems involved in the exchange, clearing or settlement of payments.
- Facilitate the development of new payment methods and technologies.
In fulfilling our mandate, Payments Canada has the public policy objective of promoting the efficiency, safety and soundness of its clearing and settlement systems and taking into account the interests of users.
Who we work with
We convene and collaborate across the payment ecosystem. Through formalized processes and regular interactions, we work with our member financial institutions, the federal government, the Bank of Canada, our national stakeholders and international counterparts to provide and improve the payment clearing and settlement systems in Canada.
We outline our long-term strategic priorities in our Corporate Plan. Three long-term strategic objectives guide Payments Canada into the 2022 to 2026 planning period:
- Deliver projects that modernize the Canadian payment systems.
- Operate and enhance current systems.
- Facilitate the payment ecosystem.
Payments Canada has formed a critical part of Canada’s financial market infrastructure for over four decades. The Canadian Payments Association was created by the Canadian Payments Association Act in 1980, now known as the Canadian Payments Act (CP Act). The Canadian Payments Association operates under the brand name of Payments Canada. We lie at the heart of the Canadian financial system, facilitating the clearing and settlement of payments between our members to support the financial and economic well-being of all Canadians.
Essential payment infrastructure
We provide Canada’s national payment systems. Lynx, our high-value payment system, lets financial institutions and their customers send large payments securely, and our Retail Batch Payment System is where the vast majority of day-to-day Canadian commerce is cleared by our financial institutions. The value of payments cleared by Payments Canada’s systems in 2021 was approximately $135 trillion or $539 billion every business day.
Meeting the needs of Canadians
We have a long history of providing the payment infrastructure that has allowed Canadians, their businesses and their institutions to exchange value. But the world is changing fast, and so are payments. New technology is transforming the way we pay. And we are working to provide a platform that allows those in the payment ecosystem to innovate and provide Canadians with convenient, safe, and efficient payment options.
What is clearing and settlement?
Every day, Canadian consumers, businesses and governments use a variety of “payment items” to purchase goods and services, make financial investments and transfer funds from one person to another. Many of these transactions involve customers from two different financial institutions. Clearing and settlement is how financial institutions exchange payments amongst themselves, calculate how much is owed to each other as a result, and transfer funds to settle those balances.