Credit unions have always relied on Central 1 to move payments safely, securely and efficiently across the country and abroad. 2022 was no exception as we processed more than 645 million payments on behalf of 295 financial institutions, representing more than five million Canadian businesses and consumers.
While our primary focus was the smooth flow of day-to-day payment operations, behind the scenes, we were not only preparing for payments modernization but responding to the crises emerging from world events, including the continuing effects of COVID-19, climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
One example is our partnership with the Province of BC (the Province) to support residents forced from their homes by fire, floods, earthquakes or other emergencies. In July, we worked with the Province to improve its Emergency Support Services (ESS) with direct payment through Interac e-Transfer. This enhancement has the potential to eliminate line-ups and delays at emergency reception centres by allowing the Province to swiftly transfer funds into the bank accounts of evacuees so they can more easily take care of their basic needs, including food, clothing and shelter.
This development in British Columbia is an illustration of payments modernization in action. The multi-year payments modernization program, driven by Payments Canada, will bring significant benefits to individuals and businesses through fast, data-rich and diverse payment options. Central 1 is guiding the journey for Canada’s credit unions, with some major progress taking place in 2022.
Last year, Central 1 achieved full compliance, deployed technology and met all testing requirements to support Lynx Release Two, the latest version of Canada’s high-value payment system, and our organization’s readiness to meet the start of the global ISO 20022 migration for cross-border payments which will allow richer data to travel with each payment. We also completed the design requirements and began the build in preparation for industry testing for Canada’s new real-time payment system, the Real-Time Rail.
Like years past, ecosystem collaboration continued to underpin every step of our progress. In 2022, we advanced collaboration with our partners at Prairie Payments Joint Venture to ensure a unified voice for credit unions on payments modernization. This collaborative spirit applied to our work with clients as well. We kicked off modernization working groups, hosted more than 500 clients at monthly webinars and published payments modernization planning guides for both clients and the vendors who will support them on their transformational journey.
As we look ahead, 2023 and 2024 will be pivotal years for payments modernization. We will continue to move in lockstep with the industry and support our clients so they and their customers can experience the benefits of a modern payments system.