Ottawa Journal (December 14 – December 18, 2021)
David Tilson, M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon)
Every day, Canadian families use debit and credit cards. Whether it’s for buying groceries, hockey equipment, or gas for the car; these cards are an essential part of doing business in Canada. Moreover, they are a popular and convenient choice for busy people on the go.
In the past, Canadian shoppers and businesses have raised important concerns about the practices and accountability of credit and debit card providers. From hidden fees to constantly changing and confusing rules of the industry, consumers have made it clear that the system could be improved.
Our Government has listened to Canadians and has already proposed changes to make the industry more accountable to consumers and businesses. Earlier this year, we introduced landmark reforms to help ensure fairness for Canadians who use credit and debit cards, as well as all businesses that accept credit and debit cards. We made sure the changes were user-friendly for the benefit of all Canadians.
Building on this action to make the industry more accountable to Canadians, our Government is now introducing a proposed Code of Conduct (this may be found on the Minister of Finance's website at www.fin.gc.ca) for the Canadian credit and debit card industry. The Code of Conduct will encourage choice and competition and work to prevent unfair practices in the credit and debit card market.
Up until now, many important aspects of doing business with credit and debit card transactions have been unclear. This new action will help make sure businesses are fully aware of the total costs associated with any credit and debit payments made at their business. It will also allow pricing flexibility between the different kinds of payment, so merchants can encourage customers to use the lowest-cost payment option for them. This will also allow merchants to freely choose which payment options they will accept at their business.
We consulted with consumer and merchant associations, debit and credit card networks, payment processors and card issuers across Canada to make sure these important and needed changes were fair for everyone involved.
This new Code of Conduct is a more flexible and adaptable solution to the credit and debit card problem – which is just what stakeholders, such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, asked for. It is seen as a better approach than a heavy-handed government intervention.
Canadian entrepreneurs work hard to make their businesses successful. They contribute a great deal to our economy and have helped to strengthen it during the global economic recession. Canada’s businesses also help generate important jobs for people in our communities. The complicated and constantly changing practices of credit and debit card providers are an unfortunate distraction, especially for small businesses. This is why our Government’s approach is the right one that will make a real difference for Canadian businesses.
Our actions are holding the credit and debit card industry accountable to Canadians, so that we can continue to focus on strengthening the economy for a brighter and better future for Canada.