Payments Accountability Council commends federal government for key
announcements in federal budget

- Merchants encouraged by steps taken to ensure credit card company practices kept in-check -

OTTAWA, March 5 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC), The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) and the Payments Accountability Council (PAC), representing more than 250,000 businesses commend Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the Government of Canada for announcing in yesterday's budget measures to rein-in the practices of credit card companies, banks and processors as they relate to the Canadian payments market.

In addition to promising the swift release of a final Code of Conduct for the payments market, Finance Minister Flaherty announced a number of key steps that will be taken to ensure merchant and consumer protection.

    
    Key measures include:
    -   The government proposes to amend the mandate of the Financial
        Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to enable it to monitor compliance
        with the Code of Conduct for Canada's credit and debit markets
        announced on November 19, 2009.
    -   The government will propose legislation giving the Minister of
        Finance the authority to regulate the market conduct of the credit
        and debit card networks and their participants, if necessary.
    -   The appointment of a Task Force, supported by a secretariat, to
        conduct a comprehensive review of the Canadian payments system. The
        Task Force is expected to be launched in the spring of 2010.
    

"Minister Flaherty and the Government of Canada deserve a great deal of credit for tackling this important and complex issue, and merchants across Canada appreciate the new measures introduced in yesterday's budget," says Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. "The message here is loud and clear - either the card companies, banks and processors clean up their act, or face strict regulations."

"Council members continue to believe a robust regulatory framework is necessary in Canada for debit and credit card markets," added David Wilkes, Senior Vice President of Trade and Business Development, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. "Together with consumers, retailers across Canada have been calling on government to provide clarity, transparency and merchant choice within the Canadian debit and credit card market. Yesterday's announcement tells us that the voices of consumers and retailers have been heard."

Minister Flaherty again 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 a voluntary code. Though merchants understand the government's push for voluntary measures as a first step, the PAC has continued to assist in setting the groundwork for future government regulations in light of card company practices seen in other countries around the word.

About the Payments Accountability Council

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.

About Retail Council of Canada

Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians in every corner of the country - by providing jobs, career opportunities, and by investing in the communities we serve. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants. RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education

About The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors

The Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing and promoting the grocery and foodservice distribution industry in Canada, at both the regional and national level. The food distribution industry is Canada's second largest commercial sector. Member sales represent $71.8 billion in retail and $12 billion in foodservice. Members employ over 428,100 Canadians, and represent over 85% of all grocery (i.e. food, non-good, non-alcoholic beverages) distribution sales in Canada.

SOURCE Retail Council of Canada

For further information: For further information: Mark Beazley, Director, Communications, Retail Council of Canada at (416) 922-0553 ext. 228 or mbeazley@retailcouncil.org


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