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

- Code represents critical step toward fairness, transparency and choice for merchants and consumers -

TORONTO, April 16 /CNW/ - 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 today's 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 remains focused on three key principles 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
    

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. CCGD members represent approximately $121 billion in retail sales, of which $42 billion comes from the foodservice sector. Together our members employ over 428,000 Canadians in more than 12,000 communities across Canada.

Visit our website at: www.creditanddebitwatchdog.ca

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; e-mail: mbeazley@retailcouncil.org.


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