Minister Morneau Launches Advisory Committee on Open Banking

News release

September 26, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting a financial sector that promotes competition and consumer choice while continuing to deliver financial stability and economic growth.

In keeping with this commitment, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau today launched the Advisory Committee on Open Banking, and announced the appointment of its four members: Colleen Johnston, François Lafortune, Kirsten Thompson and Ilse Treurnicht. Biographical notes of the members can be found below. With their respective experience in the areas of financial services, financial technology and privacy, the Advisory Committee members will bring a broad range of perspectives and expertise to the review on open banking.

Establishing the Advisory Committee is the first step in a Government of Canada review of the potential merits of open banking, as announced in Budget 2018. A consultation paper will be released later this year to help guide the Advisory Committee's engagement with Canadians. Following consultations, the Committee will deliver a report assessing the potential merits of open banking for Canada, with the highest regard for consumer privacy, security and financial stability.

Open banking has the potential to offer a new, secure way for Canadian consumers—including small businesses—to share their financial transaction data with financial service providers, allowing them to benefit from a broader range of financial products and services. It is also expected that by giving financial technology companies (fintechs) and other financial service providers increased access to consumer financial transaction data, they will be able to develop products more tailored to consumer needs and preferences—helping to boost the level of competition in the financial sector.

Biographical Notes

Colleen Johnston

Colleen Johnston was most recently Group Head, Direct Channels, Technology, Marketing and Corporate & Public Affairs for TD Bank, where she helped reshape the bank, its technology capabilities and the digital and customer experience. From 2005 to 2015, she was TD's Chief Financial Officer, and helped guide TD through the financial crisis and played a key role in the bank's growth and North American expansion.

Among her many professional honours, Ms. Johnston was named CFO of the Year in 2012, an award that recognizes quality, insight, direction and leadership of Canada's senior financial executives.

Active in the community throughout her career, with a particular focus on health and well-being, Ms. Johnston has served on the Boards of St. Michael's Hospital, the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Bridgepoint Health, among others. Her contributions have received numerous awards, including the Catalyst Canada Honours in 2013 and a YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction Award in 2016.

François Lafortune

François Lafortune is a Montréal-based entrepreneur and investor with fifteen years' experience in building businesses and the financial technology sector. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Diagram, a venture launchpad that helps create and launch technology companies pursuing disruptive innovation in the financial and insurance sectors, and a partner of the venture capital arm of Power Financial Corporation.

Mr. Lafortune spent seven years at McKinsey & Company, during which time he served as co-leader of McKinsey's Canadian Technology practice. He advised senior executives of leading North American banks and insurers on a broad range of technology-related topics, such as creating technology blueprints for digital transformations of a number of banks, and leading a multi-year transformation of the IT delivery organization of a major financial institution.

Mr. Lafortune earned a Bachelor of Engineering from McGill University (Honours Program, graduating with Great Distinction), and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. At McGill, he received the J.W. McConnell Scholarship for outstanding academic performance and John D. Thompson Prize for Entrepreneurship in Engineering.

Kirsten Thompson

Kirsten Thompson is a partner in the law firm Dentons Canada in Toronto and is the national lead of their Transformative Technologies and Data Strategy group. She is also a key member of Dentons Privacy and Cybersecurity group. Previously she was a partner in another leading firm and founded and led that firm's Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Management group as well as played a key role in its Fintech practice. She has both an advisory and advocacy practice, and provides privacy, data security and data management advice to clients in a wide variety of industries. She has provided privacy and cybersecurity advice and breach response services to some of Canada's largest financial institutions as well as many of Canada's innovative new participants in the financial services sector.

Ms. Thompson's expertise in privacy and data protection has received numerous accolades and she was most recently ranked again by Chambers Canada as a leader practitioner, as well as being recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada as one of Canada's leading lawyers in Privacy and Data Security Law. She is active in her community and currently serves on the board of the Canadian IT Law Association, and was previously a board member of the Women's College Hospital.

Ms. Thompson holds a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School and a Bachelor of Laws from Queen's University.

Ilse Treurnicht

Ilse Treurnicht was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of the MaRS Discovery District, a leading innovation hub in Toronto, from 2005 to 2017.

Ms. Treurnicht came to MaRS from a seed-stage venture capital fund called Primaxis Technology Ventures, where she was president and CEO. Before that, she held senior management roles in a number of startup companies and had been involved in the commercialization of technologies in the health and cleantech sectors.

A Rhodes Scholar, Ms. Treurnicht received her DPhil in chemistry from the University of Oxford. She completed her graduate and undergraduate degrees in South Africa.

Ms. Treurnicht has been a tireless advocate for building a Canadian innovation ecosystem that fosters both economic and social prosperity, and for supporting women in innovation.


"As technology continues to drive change in the financial sector, we must ensure that the needs of consumers—for more affordable and convenient services—are considered alongside the needs of the financial institutions that serve them. I congratulate the members of the Advisory Committee on their appointments, and look forward to the results of their consultations on open banking."

- Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • At its core, open banking is a framework aimed at increasing competition in the financial sector and fostering innovative, consumer-centric financial services, by allowing individual and business consumers to share their financial transaction data beyond their current financial institution.

  • Open banking is a system where:

    • Consumers can opt-in to securely share their financial transaction data with fintechs and other financial service providers, and have the ability to opt-out at any time.
    • Fintechs and other financial service providers, such as small and mid-sized banks, can use that data to develop competitive, innovative and consumer-centric products and services.
  • For consumers and small businesses, open banking can help them better understand and manage their finances. This could include applications that compare financial products, the ability to change accounts more easily, and financial services that are customized to individual needs. 

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Office of the Minister of Finance

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

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