Group Seeks to Rally Industry Input on Proposed Ontario Escheat Law; Comments Due July 19 (June 27, 2013)
June 27, 2013
Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General is accepting comments through July 19 on the possible inclusion of prepaid products into the province’s pending escheat law, and one trade group is hoping to organize a unified payments industry response. Earlier this week, Payments eXchange Canada released a notice calling for prepaid stakeholders to come together to share views on what the group called a “potentially game-changing” issue for the industry. Payments eXchange said it will then use that input to formulate a response to the ministry. “It is imperative that thoughtful, intuitive positioning from all aspects of the payments sector must be represented in this response,” Payments eXchange Chairman Dave Hunt wrote in the notice.
In 2012, Ontario announced its intention to implement an unclaimed property program—possibly to include prepaid products, which could place a host of complex requirements onto prepaid providers and hinder development and adoption of prepaid, according to some industry observers. “[A]ny escheatment requirements imposed on gift or prepaid cards could have serious repercussions to industry participants and may undermine continued product innovation in the prepaid space,” Jacqueline Shinfield, a partner in the financial services regulatory group at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, tells Paybefore. Though the ministry has made clear it has not made any final decisions as to the content of the proposed unclaimed property law, Shinfield notes that it’s vital for stakeholders to be proactive in reaching out to regulators and explaining how including prepaid could affect the industry.
Payments eXchange’s Hunt tells Paybefore that while various industry stakeholders would be affected differently by the unclaimed property law, there a several key areas of common ground. “It’s important how our business is conducted, how the consumer is impacted and that it’s financially viable, and those things are ultimately important to everyone in the value chain,” he says.
Industry participants can send comments directly to Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 416-326-5114. Comments also can be mailed to John Lee, Counsel, Ministry of the Attorney General, McMurtry-Scott Building, 720 Bay Street, 7th Floor, Toronto, ON, M7A 2S9.
Stakeholders seeking to send input to Payments eXchange can reach Hunt by email at Members@paymentseXchange.ca, or by phone at (905) 602-0478 x227.