Bill C-30, Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 was introduced to the House of Commons for first reading on April 30, 2021. Bill C-30 will enact into legislation new policy measures outlined in the 2021 federal budget released earlier in April, many of which impact financial institutions and other financial services providers, as discussed in our earlier Blakes Bulletin: 2021 Federal Budget - Selected Financial Services Measures. This bulletin provides an overview of the specific legislative measures included in Bill C-30 that affect or deal with financial services and related issues.
1. RETAIL PAYMENTS OVERSIGHT FRAMEWORK
As was expected and announced in the 2021 federal budget, Bill C-30 introduces a draft of the long-awaited Retail Payments Activities Act. The new regulatory regime for payments, to be regulated by the Bank of Canada, is ground-breaking in that it provides for the first regulatory scheme for retail payment providers in Canada. For a detailed overview of the new framework please see our companion Blakes Bulletin: Regulation of Retail Payments in Canada-The Retail Payments Activities Act Has Arrived.
2. THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME (MONEY LAUNDERING) AND TERRORIST FINANCING ACT (PCMLTFA)
Bill C-30 introduces several amendments to the PCMLTFA, including the following:
Providers of armoured car services, which are referred to as “persons and entities engaged in the business of transporting currency or certain other financial instruments” will become reporting entities under the PCMLTFA. Bill C-30 makes clear that armoured car services will be regulated as a category of money services businesses under the PCMLTFA.
Amendments are introduced to the definitions of politically exposed domestic person (Domestic PEP) and head of an international organization (HIO). The definition of Domestic PEP is expanded to include “reeve, or other similar chief officer of a municipal or local government” together with mayors and the HIO definition is amended to include a head of an international sports organization, among other changes.
Bill C-30 also enables the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) to recover its compliance costs. FINTRAC will have authority to make assessments to be paid by reporting entities based on the amount of certain expenses incurred by FINTRAC. Implementing regulations, which have not been released yet, will set out the details of the new assessment framework.
3. UNCLAIMED PROPERTY
The Bank Act and the Trust and Loan Companies Act contain provisions requiring the transfer of unclaimed deposits and cheques to the Bank of Canada following a 10-year abandonment period and the provision of advance notices to customers regarding the amount of their unclaimed property. Bill C-30 amends these provisions to include foreign denominated deposits and cheques and to require that the unclaimed property notices be provided to the customer’s electronic address (if known) in addition to providing the notices by mail. Bill C-30 also expands the scope of information that must be provided to the Bank of Canada at the time of the transfer of unclaimed property to include the customer’s date of birth and social insurance number, although corresponding amendments to the Bank of Canada Act clarify that the Bank of Canada may not publish this information on its online database of unclaimed property. Bill C-30 will also require copies of signature cards and signing authorities to be provided to the Bank of Canada at the time of the transfer of unclaimed property, but without a prior written request by the Bank of Canada as required under current legislation.
Bill C-30 also amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 to introduce an unclaimed property regime for pension funds.
4. SERGEI MAGNITSKY LAW
Canadian financial institutions and securities dealers are required to report monthly to their principal regulator whether they hold property of persons listed under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) or terrorist groups listed under the Criminal Code. Bill C-30 amends the Sergei Magnitsky Law to require that these reports be filed only if there is an actual match. In the event of a match, the reports will need to be filed without delay and every three months, rather than every month. There is no corresponding amendment included to remove the monthly nil filing requirement under the Criminal Code. As such, financial institutions and securities dealers will continue being required to file monthly sanctions reports under the Criminal Code. Federal and provincial regulators, including the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the securities commissions, would need to update the existing monthly reporting forms and processes to address these changes.
5. RESOLUTION FRAMEWORK
Bill C-30 introduces several amendments to the bank resolution framework under the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act (CDIC Act). Among other things, these amendments:
Extend the CDIC Act stay to circumstances in which there is a monetary breach of a bail-in obligation following the making of a resolution order but before the bail-in conversion is effected
Exclude from the CDIC Act stay eligible financial contracts with a central bank, the federal government of Canada, or a foreign government
Require that CDIC-member banks and trust and loan companies ensure that the CDIC Act stay provisions apply to eligible financial contracts to which they are a party but in circumstances and in the manner that would be prescribed by CDIC bylaws, which are not made public yet
Make certain amendments to the compensation framework under the CDIC Act resolution provisions (similar amendments are made to the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act provisions governing resolution of designated financial market infrastructures)
Bill C-30 also amends the CDIC Act deposit protection regime to clarify that under certain circumstances an omission that results in a failure to meet a requirement of the schedule of the CDIC Act will not prevent a deposit from being considered a separate deposit.
6. CANADA STUDENT LOANS ACT AND CANADA STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ACT
Finally, Bill C-30 follows up on the federal government’s promise to provide relief for persons with federal student loans. Division 30 of Part 4 amends the Canada Student Loans Act, Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, Apprentice Loans Act to provide that, during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2023, no interest is payable by a borrower on a guaranteed student loan, a student loan, and an apprentice loan. This means that no interest is payable on a federal student loan or the portion of a student loan that is federally guaranteed, whether the loan itself is federal or provincial. Lenders who have extended student loans under provincial or federal student loan programs will have to make necessary adjustments to these loan portfolios.
This builds upon (and effectively replaces the sections of) Bill C-14 which passed third reading in the House of Commons on April 15, 2021 and provides that no interest is payable on these loans during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2022 – i.e., Bill C-30 extends the interest suspension period from one year to two.