Liability working group meeting 6 – April 14, 2023

This discussion guide is provided to assist working group members in preparing for the meeting. This will be the last liability working group meeting as the two remaining topics will be covered on April 14.

For questions or comments, please contact obbo@fin.gc.ca.

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Discussion guide

Service levels

The availability of information will underpin the growth and performance of open banking in Canada. For consumers to fully benefit from the system and for participants to build services, they must have confidence that information can be retrieved in a timely, dependable and consistent manner. Baseline metrics supporting data availability can be helpful in this regard. Additionally, defining such metrics can contribute to uniform requirements applicable to all system participants and offer a measure of system health which can highlight areas for improvement and provide key performance measurement indicators.

Metrics related to availability can be referred to as service levels. The concept is familiar in financial services where technology vendor contracts are complemented by a service level agreement, commonly known as “SLA”. Among the key points addressed by these agreements are performance levels and expectations for the delivery of services as well as remedies in the event they are not met. 

While these service level requirements may appear only technical in nature, they are also relevant in the context of liability. At the last working group meeting, the discussion focused on liability between participants, namely the source of the legal relationship between them. In the case of Australia, this is addressed by the Consumer Data Right (CDR) regime. It establishes a deemed contract between data holders and accredited partiesFootnote 1 as the basis of the relationship between them. The content of that contract is outlined in the data standards which the parties undertake to follow. Therefore, where a party does not meet its obligations under the standard, including with regards to service levels (which the CDR describes as “non-functional requirementsFootnote 2”), judicial redress may be soughtFootnote 3. As such, service levels must define availability requirements, as they form a critical element of liability by prescribing parties’ obligations.

The “non-functional requirements” of the CDR data standards include:  

While the data sharing regime under the United Kingdom framework does not explicitly address liability between participants, service level requirements were established by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the body in charge of implementation. As part of the “Open Data Participation ConditionsFootnote 6”, the OBIE documented certain service levelsFootnote 7:

Discussion

  1. With reference to the requirements under the Australian and British systems, which service level elements are critical to the success of Canada’s open banking system?
  2. Which elements would pose a challenge to implement?
  3. Should service level requirements apply uniformly? Alternatively, should certain participants be dispensed from them?

Reciprocal data access

In their final report, the Advisory Committee on Open Banking recommended that the initial scope of the system include reciprocity. This means that all accredited participants within an open banking system would be equally subject to consumer-permissioned data mobility requests. In addition, reciprocity needs to be driven by express consumer consent and should not be used by market participants as a precondition for sharing data.  

Discussion

  1. What challenges would arise in implementing reciprocity among system participants?
  2. Does reciprocity create a barrier to entry for some potential participants? If so, how can this be offset?

Outcomes

Service levels

Discussion 1

With reference to the requirements under the Australian and British systems, which service level elements are critical to the success of Canada’s open banking system?

Discussion 2

Which elements would pose a challenge to implement?

Discussion 3

Should service level requirements apply uniformly? Alternatively, should certain participants be dispensed from them?

Reciprocal data access

Discussion 1

What challenges would arise in implementing reciprocity among system participants?

Discussion 2

Does reciprocity create a barrier to entry for some potential participants? If so, how can this be offset?

Liability working group attendees

Members
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Banque Nationale du Canada
  • Canadian Western Bank
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • Intuit
  • Neo Financial
  • Meridian Credit Union
  • Option consommateurs
  • Plaid
  • Prosper Canada
  • Public Interest Advocacy Centre
  • Servus Credit Union
  • Vancity Credit Union
  • Wealthsimple

Absent

  • Portage Ventures

External guests

  • Autorité des marchés financiers
  • Competition Bureau Canada
  • Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions

Chair

  • Abraham Tachjian, Open banking lead

Secretariat

  • Department of Finance Canada

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