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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note provides a summary of the review of systemic risk oversight arrangements and macroprudential policy issues in Canada. The paper discusses the existing systemic risk oversight arrangements and potential challenges, and then presents steps that can be taken to modernize the framework to ensure its effectiveness going forward. The paper focuses on systemic risk surveillance, including the current approaches and existing challenges such as data gaps and coordination. It also covers macroprudential policy issues, including the toolkit, the current policy stance and overall policy effectiveness. The review recommends that steps can be taken to improve the current system with a more formalized arrangement for systemic risk oversight. A single body in charge of systemic risk oversight would be the first-best option. Over time, the authorities should review whether systemic risk oversight under the Heads of Agencies Committee leadership with no statutory mandate is adequate. Macroprudential policy at the federal level has been effective; however, better coordination is essential given multiple provincial authorities’ ownership of prudential tools.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Financial System Stability Assessment paper discusses that Canada has enjoyed favorable macroeconomic outcomes over the past decades, and its vibrant financial system continues to grow robustly. However, macrofinancial vulnerabilities—notably, elevated household debt and housing market imbalances—remain substantial, posing financial stability concerns. Various parts of the financial system are directly exposed to the housing market and/or linked through housing finance. The financial system would be able to manage severe macrofinancial shocks. Major deposit-taking institutions would remain resilient, but mortgage insurers would need additional capital in a severe adverse scenario. Housing finance is broadly resilient, notwithstanding some weaknesses in the small non-prime mortgage lending segment. Although banks’ overall capital buffers are adequate, additional required capital for mortgage exposures, along with measures to increase risk-based differentiation in mortgage pricing, would be desirable. This would help ensure adequate through-the cycle buffers, improve mortgage risk-pricing, and limit procyclical effects induced by housing market corrections.
Mr. Ivo Krznar and Mr. James Morsink
The goal of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of the policy measures taken by Canadian authorities to address the housing boom. We find that the the last three rounds of macroprudential policies implemented since 2010 were associated with lower mortgage credit growth and house price growth. The international experience suggests that—in addition to tighter loan-to-value limits and shorter amortization periods—lower caps on the debt-to-income ratio and higher risk weights could be effective if the housing boom were to reignite. Over the medium term, the authorities could consider structural measures to further improve the soundness of housing finance.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper discusses Canada’s Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) impact on the insurance sector of a low interest rate environment. It highlights that actuarial standards on valuation of liabilities require that assumed reinvestment rates take increasing account of current market rates that led to higher liabilities as low rates persisted. The note outlines the effect of Canadian accounting and actuarial standards that further increases in liabilities need to be recognized in the short term. Policy measures have been undertaken by Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) in the banking sector to address broader risks.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Detailed Assessment report, a part of the 2013 Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) of Canada, assesses Canada’s regulatory regime and supervisory practices against the international standards. The IMF report suggests that the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) should be empowered to take supervisory measures at the level of the holding company. It highlights that while OSFI requires Federally Regulated Insurers (FRI) FRIs to develop internal capital targets, requirements to develop an Own Risk and Solvency Assessment are scheduled to be implemented in 2014.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This report evaluates the stability of the financial system in Barbados. The findings reveal that Barbados has a relatively well developed financial system, including a large offshore sector. The onshore system is dominated by large, regionally active banks. Banking services to the population are also provided by the credit union sector. The system also includes a mature but concentrated insurance sector with extensive international affiliates, and other nonbank financial institutions provide credit and other instruments for savers. With a deteriorating fiscal situation and weak growth prospects, Barbados faces considerable macroeconomic vulnerabilities. Sovereign risk is a concern, given a large public debt, high fiscal deficits, and slow growth, and policy options are limited by a fixed exchange rate regime.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Informational Annex highlights the Canadian authorities’ free-floating exchange rate regime. The exchange rate regime is free from exchange restrictions and multiple currency practices. The Canadian authorities do not maintain margins with respect to exchange transactions. However, the authorities may intervene to ensure orderly conditions in the exchange market. There are no taxes or subsidies on purchases or sales of foreign exchange. Canada’s exchange system is free of restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions. Canada also maintains exchange restrictions for security reasons, based on UN Security Council resolutions reported to the IMF for approval.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses key findings of the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes for Canada. Canada has a very high level of compliance with the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision. In response to the challenges and structure of its market, the Canadian banking supervisor (OSFI) has developed and is a strong proponent of risk-based, proportionate, supervisory practices and applies a “close touch” approach to its supervised entities. The supervisory approach is well structured, forward looking and maintained on as dynamic a basis as possible. Entry to the Canadian market is subject to demanding prudential entry standards.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This report discusses key findings of the Financial Sector Stability Assessment on Canada. Canada’s financial system successfully navigated the global financial crisis, and stress tests suggest that major financial institutions would continue to be resilient to credit, liquidity, and contagion risks arising from a severe stress scenario. Elevated housing prices and high household debt remain an area of concern, though targeted prudential and macroprudential measures are proving to be effective. The regulatory and supervisory framework is strong, and is complemented by a credible federal system of safety nets.