Statement on proposals for a Canadian central bank digital currency

On May 8, 2023, the Bank of Canada invited Canadians to complete a survey on a Bank of Canada central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Bank of Canada says they are exploring the possibility of creating a digital version of the national currency to improve economic access in Canada and to protect the sovereignty of our national currency.

The Justice Centre is committed to evaluating the potential impacts of emerging technologies on rights and freedoms in Canada. From our research on various information technologies, we have found that some technologies and programs may collect unnecessary data about Canadians and could lead to significant privacy violations. According to the Bank of Canada survey, “[d]igital transactions may require collecting a certain amount of information to verify clients’ identity and ensure that funds are available.” The Bank of Canada has not defined what counts as “a certain amount of information” for secure financial transactions to occur.

We encourage Canadians to participate in the Bank of Canada survey to inform industry and government that privacy matters. No government should be in the business of tracking the financial data or behaviours of Canadians. Neither should any institution issuing a CBDC collect unnecessary financial information about Canadians. The Justice Centre encourages any institution exploring a CBDC to clearly define financial privacy, how they will protect it, and how they will comply with Canadian privacy regulations. Canadians should ensure that a Canadian CBDC strikes an appropriate balance between accessibility, sovereignty, and privacy

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