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The Retail Payments Activities Act (the “RPAA”) aims to regulate retail payment activities in order to ensure the safety and security of the Canadian financial sector. This blog provides an overview of the RPAA and how it applies to payments service providers (the “PSPs”).

Timeline

The registration provisions of the RPAA will begin to take effect on November 1, 2024 and PSPs will be required to submit a registration application by November 15, 2024.

There will be a transition period from November 1, 2024 to September 7, 2025 which will allow for the widespread implementation of the new provisions discussed below.

Applicability

Under the RPAA, you are required to register yourself with the Bank of Canada (the “Bank”) if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are a PSP.

PSPs are “individuals or entities that perform payment functions as a service or business activity that is not incidental to another service or business activity.”[1]

  1. You perform retail payment activities.

A retail payment activity is a payment function performed in relation to an electronic funds transfer (“EFT”) that is made in the currency of Canada or another country or using a unit that meets prescribed criteria. In most cases, a payment function will precede an EFT.

  1. Your payment activities fall under the geographic scope of the RPAA.
  1. You are not excluded from the RPAA.

The Bank provides a self-assessment tool which allows you to assess whether you may be subject to the RPAA registration requirements however, the purpose of this tool is simply to assist you in your assessment. If you are concerned about the applicability of the RPAA, our team would be happy to provide you with further guidance.

Registration Requirements

The registration application includes the following 18 sections you may be required to complete over the course of a 15-day “registration phase”:

Section 1 – Preferred Language

Section 2 – Name, ID and operating status

Section 3 – Previous submissions and invitations to RPS program

Section 4 – Contact information

Section 5 – Business structure

Section 6 – Payment functions

Section 7 – Information regarding electronic funds transfers, currencies and exclusions

Section 8 – Geographic perimeter

Section 9 – Values and volumes

Section 10 – End-users and interconnectedness

Section 11 – Risk management and incident response framework

Section 12 – Personal and financial information

Section 13 – Third-party service providers

Section 14 – Agents and mandataries

Section 15 – Affiliated entities

Section 16 – FINTRAC declaration

Section 17 – Provincial and/or territorial registration

Section 18 – Registration fee payment and submission[2]

You may also be required to provide a $2500 non-refundable registration fee with your application.[3]

Compliance Requirements

In addition to registration with the Bank, you may also be required to implement and maintain a risk management and incident response framework (the “Framework”) compliant with prescribed requirements, assist the Bank with their assessments of the Framework (as applicable), notify the Bank of any incidents of “material impact”, submit annual reports to the Bank, notify the Bank of significant changes in the performance of retail payment activities and/or comply with information and special audit requests from the Bank.

Penalties/Fines for Non-Compliance

Failure to register with the Bank is a “very serious”[4] violation. You may be subject to the issuance of a notice of violation (which may result in the loss of your registration status) along with a substantial administrative monetary penalty (up to $10,000,000).[5]

If you are subject to the RPAA, you should begin creating compliance plans leading up to November 2024 to ensure you are not at risk for non-compliance.

If you have any questions about the RPAA and how the above may impact you, our team would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-604-1312 or https://segev.ca/contact-us/.

Disclaimer

***The above blog post is provided for informational purposes only and has not been tailored to your specific circumstances. This blog post does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice and may not be relied upon as such.***

Links

[1] Retail Payment Activities Act, SC 2021, c 23, s 177 at s. 2 [RPAA].

[2] Bank of Canada, “How to complete a registration application: A step-by-step guide” (March 2024) online (pdf): Bank of Canada < https://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/How-to-complete-a-registration-application-a-step-by-step-guide.pdf>.

[3] Bank of Canada, “Frequently asked questions about retail payments supervision” (12 December 2023) online: Bank of Canada < https://www.bankofcanada.ca/core-functions/retail-payments-supervision/retail-payments-supervision-supervisory-policies-and-guidelines/frequently-asked-questions-about-retail-payments-supervision/>.

[4] Retail Payment and Activities Regulations SOR/2023-229, at s. 48(1) and Schedule.

[5] Ibid.