Continued federal government involvement needed if Canada’s fintech industry is to flourish

While recent federal and provincial government activity has helped set the foundation for the birth of Canada’s fintech industry, continued attention is required if that industry is to mature, the president of Vancouver fintech firm nTrust believes.

“Technology is one of the strongest economic drivers in the country today,” Rod Hsu said.”The federal and provincial government have made leaps and bounds in recent years in terms of helping the industry flourish, but sustained involvement is necessary. We need to approach the industry with the same eagerness we do others like the natural resource sector.”

Governments can contribute in several ways, the company said in a release. One is to encourage more students to enroll in information technology. Only six percent of Canadian graduates in 2015 graduated from IT programs. For those numbers to rise greater effort has to be made to integrate computer science into curricula from kindergarten through high school.

Retaining talent is another issue. Housing costs in Vancouver and Toronto discourage tech employees from wanting to work for companies own those regions. Others leave for more affordable environments.

Government can also serve as a liaison between fintechs and financial institutions. While Canada sports several incubators, it lags behind areas like the United Kingdom. Flourishing incubators foster experimentation and creativity.

Clear regulation will also help an industry just beginning to plan its future. Both an ambiguous  response to a new industry and a system based on the old one hamper one based on new technology. The nature of that technology mandates a flexible approach which accommodates different business sizes and other factors.

Governments can also work with the private sector to increase funding to a sector which, in British Columbia alone, has spawned more than 9,000 companies.