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432-00582 (Business and trade)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

As such we, the undersigned, Residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to ensure that financial institutions be permitted to charge small businesses no more than 0.5% as the processing fee for credit card transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

The Government has taken action through the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to ensure that Canadians have timely access to comprehensive financial supports to weather these challenging times. We are particularly mindful that small businesses have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. The Government is taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and the economy from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of this support, the Government is continuing to pay close attention to the issue of payment acceptance costs for small businesses.

Payment card networks in Canada have made individual voluntary undertakings to reduce credit card acceptance fees and have adopted the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada.

Visa and Mastercard entered into separate voluntary undertakings with the federal government to reduce domestic consumer interchange fees to an annual average effective rate of 1.40 per cent and narrow the range of interchange rates charged to merchants. The agreements came into effect in May 2020 and will be in place for a five-year period. The card networks are required to provide annual verification by an independent third party, confirming their adherence to the commitments. The first annual verifications are expected this summer and will be reviewed closely by the Department of Finance.

The commitments are expected to save small and medium-sized businesses in Canada $250 million per year. These undertakings are making credit card acceptance fairer for small and medium sized enterprises, which have less bargaining power than larger merchants to negotiate lower rates.

In addition to the undertakings, the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada increases fairness, transparency and choice for merchants with respect to payment card acceptance. The Department of Finance has recently launched a review of the Code to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

Presented to the House of Commons
Arif Virani (Parkdale—High Park)
February 26, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00582)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Arif Virani
Parkdale—High Park
Liberal Caucus
Ontario

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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