Payments Canada has enlisted Accenture to help implement far-reaching plans for a thoroughgoing overhaul of the nation's payments architecture and legal underpinnings.
Like most industrialised nations in the developed world, Canada has been doing the groundwork on efforts to prepare the country for a switch to real-time payments.
In December, Payments Canada published its multi-year roadmap, which sets out plans for near-term enhancements to existing systems to speed up transactions, as well as longer-term improvements such as the implementation of a faster payments capability and a new core clearing and settlement system.
Another crucial plank of the effort is the introduction of the global messaging standard ISO 20022, which will facilitate the transition from paper-based invoicing and cheques to digital processing.
Accenture is onboard for "three to four years", helping with all aspects of the plan and setting up an industry project management office to support the dozens of financial institution participants through what is expected to be a complicated and expensive process.
Gerry Gaetz, CEO, Payments Canada, says: "This is important work that will put Canada on the leading edge of payments, and a strong, dynamic and global team is key to our success. Together, we will work with financial institutions and key stakeholders to transform the payments system for the benefit of all Canadians."