Here are some stories that caught our eye this week:
Ontario eases regulations to help financial startups thrive
Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, recently laid out a plan to help the province’s growing fintech sector. As part of this plan, Sousa has pledged to “ work with businesses to design regulations that best serve the emerging industry,” and adopt a more “nimble approach to financial rules” governing the use of digital platforms for financial services.
Government regulators will also work to better monitor consumer use of cryptocurrencies, and increase consumer protections for those investing in products like Bitcoin. The Ontario government’s new agency, the Ontario FinTech Accelerator Office, will be take the lead on these new initiatives. The new agency will also help Ontario-based startups get established.
In related news, Minister Sousa delivered Ontario’s fall economic update on Tuesday. Highlights from the update (including tax breaks and hiring incentives for small businesses) can be found here.
CMHC seeks more data on shadow lenders
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is concerned about the levels of debt being taken on by Canadians. The agency announced this week that they are seeking more information on home loans from shadow lenders, and will seek data from participants in the securitization program on their uninsured conventional mortgage lending.
This concern is driven in part by Home Capital’s financial issues this year, as well as a drop in the proportion of insured loans in Canada. According to Mortgage Broker News, in Toronto, insured loans comprised 16% of the market last year, compared to 27% in 2010 and in Vancouver, those figures are 12% and 20%.
Cash is still King in Canada
According to a new report from the Bank of Canada, Canadians still use cash for more transactions overall than credit or debit cards. A 2015 study of Canadian merchants found that 51 per cent of transactions occurred using cash, compared with 31 per cent for debit and 19 per cent for credit cards. Cash is typically used for smaller transactions, with cards reserved for medium and large transactions.
However, in terms of dollar value, credit cards were used by Canadians for largest volume of sales in Canada at 42 per cent. Read the Bank of Canada’s full report, here.