Why is there a need to reform the financial services sector?
Strong, efficient and profitable financial institutions are vital to Canada's economic success.
Beyond their important direct contribution to economic activity, financial institutions are involved in virtually every transaction in the economy: processing payments, pooling savings, financing investment and managing risk.
The startling leap forward in technology and information services has enabled entrepreneurs and innovators to create new products and services - from automated tellers to Internet banking - that can be delivered rapidly to the remotest corners of the country and the world.
It is the government's role to ensure that Canada has an appropriate policy framework to facilitate change and to provide ground rules to ensure it takes place in a way that reflects the needs of all Canadians.
In response to the dramatic changes in technology and information services affecting the sector, and as part of its commitment to review the legislation governing Canada's federally regulated institutions every five years, the government established the Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector in 1996.
Over the last two years the government has listened carefully to the views of Canadians, through their submissions to both the Task Force and to two parliamentary committees that studied and debated its report, as well as through meetings with many other groups.
The result has been the creation of the new financial services policy framework for the future, which continues to encourage competition and innovation in the best interests of consumers and businesses alike.