Canada’s Commissioner of Competition, John Pecman, spoke on October 6th, 2016 to the Canadian Bar Association’s Competition Law Fall Conference, addressing the link between competition and innovation and providing updates on the Fintech market study launched by the Competition Bureau earlier this year.
Competition Drives Innovation
The Commissioner noted that new disruptive technologies challenge not only traditional business but also regulators. Governments and regulatory bodies across Canada are developing strategies to support such innovation (see our recent post on related initiatives by the OSC).
“Competitive intensity fosters innovation”, noted the Commissioner. He remarked that competition pushes business to develop better products and services, production techniques and business models and that the Competition Bureau promotes “competitive intensity” through its efforts to increase compliance with the law and by advocating for a pro‑competitive approach to regulation.
The Fintech Market Study
The Bureau launched a Fintech market study in May with the goal of better understanding how it could support the growth of Fintech. Fintech is widely expected to disrupt the financial sector and generate benefits for both businesses and consumers. As part of the study, the Bureau interviewed more than 50 industry stakeholders, including more than 20 Fintech start‑ups.
In early 2017, the Bureau will invite a broad range of industry stakeholders and federal and provincial regulators for a workshop. The workshop will serve as a forum for discussion about the regulatory challenges faced by Fintech and possible approaches that could enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Canada’s financial services sector. The ultimate goal is to create incentives to drive innovation for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the Canadian economy (for a detailed review of the interplay between regulation and Fintech innovation, please see the report “FinTech in Canada: British Columbia Edition” co-authored by the Digital Finance Institute and McCarthy Tétrault). The Bureau expects to release its report in late 2017 for public comment.
The Commissioner’s remarks indicate the commitment of the Competition Bureau to use its authority and jurisdiction to support innovation in general, and Fintech innovation in particular. The full text of the Commissioner’s remarks is available here.
For more information about our firm’s Fintech expertise, please see our Fintech group’s page.