Given financial technology’s (fintech’s) priority on the global stage, and the Canadian federal budget’s focus on innovation and the middle class, now is the time for Canada to assess its position and develop a national strategy on fintech. The aim of this policy brief is to provide a general description of the fintech industry in Canada, and to describe and draw attention to two complementary aspects of developing a fintech strategy for Canada: first, encouraging domestic fintech innovation — through open data and payment systems — and second, encouraging international expansion — through international agreements among regulators and comprehensive intellectual property strategies. For Canada to be a contender in fintech, Canadian policy makers need to target both domestic growth and international expansion of the sector. In addition to increasing the availability of funding, removing regulatory uncertainty and taking the lead on a national fintech strategy, policy makers should assess the merits of access to data and payments systems for stimulating domestic fintech growth. Increased patent generation and ownership, greater integration of Canadian technology in standards and international agreements with regulators will allow Canadian fintechs to build on their success internationally. The Hamburg G20 Summit on July 7-8, 2017, presents an opportunity to become more informed about the potential financial stability implications from countries already pursuing national fintech strategies.
James W. Hinton is a CIGI fellow. His research at CIGI focuses on intellectual property (IP) and innovation. He has worked closely with the Council of Canadian Innovators on Canada’s innovation initiatives and Canada’s national IP strategy.