Last week the Government of Canada (“GC”) made two major announcements. The first was the Speech from the Throne (the “Speech”) which took place on October 16, 2013. The Speech, which outlined the GC legislative plan for the new session of parliament, contained actions that the GC will take to protect Canadian consumers. Two of the actions announced by the GC will likely have an impact on the financial services industry. These include: (i) the expansion of no-cost basic banking services; and (ii) the crack down on predatory payday lenders. The GC did not provide any specific details on how these proposals would be implemented. A full copy of the Speech can be found at this link.
Second, the GC announced on October 18, 2013 that Canada and the European Union (the “EU”) have reached an agreement in principal called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”). CETA is a comprehensive trade agreement that, upon ratification in approximately two years time, will cover virtually all the sectors of the Canada – EU trade relationship. CETA will have a financial services provision that is expected to:
help protect existing investments and encourage further competition in the financial sector;
provide Canadian banks with additional access to the EU market;
allow the GC to retain their right to take prudential measures to protect the financial system; and
have special dispute settlement rules to resolve financial services disputes.
An overview of CETA can be found at this link.