The importance of collaboration and innovation in a digital era

Published: May 21, 2020

During these unprecedented times, the value of connection and collaboration remains absolutely critical as we continue to work closely with our members and stakeholders to meet the payment needs of Canadians, and support empowering a new era of modern payments. To learn more about this, we caught up with Paul Rogers, Head of Industry Relations at Payments Canada about the work he and his team are doing to bring together Payments Canada’s financial institution member, regulator and stakeholder needs with the changes that payments Modernization is bringing to Canada. We also learned about the value he places on innovation and the connection between his work in the office and on the ski slopes.

Central to your role is working with Payments Canada’s stakeholders, what does this entail? 

Effective collaboration with all of our stakeholders involves a great deal of teamwork with our colleagues in policy and rules, payments products or in communications. Personally, I relish the opportunity to work with our key legislative councils, the Member Advisory Council and the Stakeholder Advisory Council, both of which play a vital role in the work we do. My role as it relates to the councils centres on organizing our project team leaders – helping them bring forward timely and relevant information on different aspects of our payments Modernization program to not only inform the councils but to get their feedback and advice on topics such as project scope, overall budget, or proposed policy changes. Success for me is when our broader project teams take an active role in council discussions and debate, often leading to well-founded advice on the program for our management and Payments Canada Board’s consideration.  

Canada is in the process of transforming its payments systems, how are you supporting this effort? 

Much of the work we do as a team is integrated with the work undertaken by the project leaders for Lynx, Canada’s new high-value payments system, the Real-Time Rail (RTR) Canada’s new real-time capability, and our nation’s existing retail batch system, the Automated Clearing Settlement System. At the moment we are highly involved with the design and oversight of the governance structure required to support the work being undertaken on Lynx and RTR.  We’re also busy engaging one-on-one with individual financial institution member organizations and stakeholders, to gain their input and also help them assess their readiness for payments Modernization. 

What are you looking forward to as it relates to payments Modernization?

I’m most excited about complementing our strength in providing secure payments with more options for innovation. I’m not alone of course, the hunger for innovation is everywhere. Take a look at what’s happening with pre-authorized debits, for instance, where there remains keen interest from businesses to be able to reach out directly to customers with their permission to ‘request’ payment for a bill, rather than resorting to sending an invoice. Meanwhile, how we’re consuming goods is changing. Everything is available more immediately, which is why we need to modernize our rules and systems to keep pace with what is possible and enable what is possible in a digital commerce era. Getting our retail systems, including the RTR, set to allow for a layer of innovation on top of our secure rule based systems and opening a whole set of possibilities is what I and many others are eagerly anticipating.  

Rumour has it that you are a ski instructor too. How has this influenced your perspective on payments?  

Yes, I’m a volunteer ski instructor and coach with Track 3, helping kids with challenges including physical disabilities move on snow. I’ve been volunteering with Track 3 for almost two decades and last fall I was elected to Chair the Board. Operationally, Track 3 has given me a first-hand perspective on the importance of payments to charities in that they need to be easy and cost efficient, as resources are precious. Plus, from a leadership perspective, my new role on their board is an exciting challenge. It’s one that requires discipline and energy to make change happen and it serves as a complement to some of the opportunities that I’m a part of at Payments Canada.