Apr 16, 2010

Payments Accountability Council encouraged by
Federal code of conduct for Canada's debit and credit card markets

TORONTO---In a press release sent out today, the Payments Accountability Council (PAC), led by Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) and backed by more than 250,000 Canadian merchants, applauds Finance Minister Flaherty and the Government of Canada for announcement of a code of conduct for the Canadian debit and credit markets.

"This is a solid victory for merchants across the country and a major step toward addressing imbalances in the Canadian payments system," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. "Though our members continue to believe a robust regulatory framework is necessary for Canada's debit and credit card markets, the code represents much needed incremental progress."

For more than a year, retailers, grocers and other service sector businesses from coast-to-coast have been advocating for government measures to increase clarity, transparency and choice in a payments system controlled by only a few major players.

"Today's announcement is an important win for both merchants and customers," says David Wilkes, Senior Vice President, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. "Minister Flaherty and the Government of Canada deserve a great deal of credit for taking critical steps towards developing a Canadian payments system that is competitive, fair and provides clarity for both merchants and customers."

Minister Flaherty has committed to regulate the conduct of the credit card companies, banks and processors involved in Canada's payments system if they do not adhere to the voluntary code. Though merchants understand the government's push for voluntary measures as a first step, the PAC advocated for, and supports the inclusion of powers to regulate the market in light of card company practices seen in other countries around the world.

The PAC is focused on three key principles which it feels are needed in the Canadian payments system:

- The need to provide clarity - for consumers and merchants

- The need to provide merchants with effective tools to manage costs associated with debit and credit cards

- The need to ensure that the costs built into the system through loyalty and other programs are paid for by those who introduce and benefit from these costs

The Payments Accountability Council is a group of Canadian associations, led by Retail Council of Canada and The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, backed by over 250,000 businesses from coast-to-coast, that is standing up to the Big Credit Card Companies to put a stop to skyrocketing fees. Its members include: Retail Council of Canada, Alberta Liquor Store Association, Canadian Booksellers Association, Canadian Convenience Stores Association, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, Canadian Jewellers Association, Hotel Association of Canada, Ontario Accommodation Association, Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, Retail B.C, The British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association, The Retail Merchant's Association of Canada (Ontario), Wine Council of Ontario, Mega Group Inc., Bicycle Trade Association of Canada, Canadian Oil Heat Association, Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, Camping in Ontario, Tourism Industry Association of Canada, and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.



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