The Consumers Council of Canada has strongly supported a decision by member organizations of the Canadian Consumer Initiative to name a common representative to participate in upcoming meetings of the Payments System Review Task Force, which was established by the federal Minister of Finance in June 2010 following years of growing unease regarding the evolution of the payments system in Canada.
“The fact that the work of this task force has attracted the Consumers Council’s interest and that members of the Canadian Consumer Initiative have agreed to take this step together symbolizes the significance consumers place on the many complex issues involved with changes in Canada’s systems of payment,” said Consumers Council of Canada President Don Mercer. “The Council is pleased to have a role at the task force. However, consumers are significantly underrepresented in this work. The task force must also take steps to properly support the participation of consumer groups in a quality fact-based consultation, including making sure consumer organizations are able to make effective contributions to the task force’s work.”
Mercer said the task force has been slow to recognize the important role the Consumers Council and other consumer groups should play in its work. However, he said a recent offer by the task force to begin offering an opportunity for consumer group participation is a welcome improvement, if unfortunately late in the process in coming.
The task force is expected to report to the Minister by the end of 2011.
CCI member organizations have named Jacques St Amant, who previously served as a member of the Canadian Payments Association’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee (1998-2099), as their representative. St Amant has had about two decades of involvement with payment issues. He is experienced at providing strategic advice to consumer organizations and other non-profit groups and advocacy organizations. He is also experienced with policy areas involving individual privacy.
The Consumers Council of Canada is working to represent Canadian consumers, alone and in concert with the Canadian Consumer Initiative, concerning electronic payments and electronic funds transfer, a rapidly changing area of service to consumers. The Council is active in representing consumers within the Canadian Payments Association.
The Council has developed a joint statement of principles with other members of the Canadian Consumer Initiative to help guide its representation of consumers, which is published in the Issues Engagement section of the Council’s website.