The IMF 2009 country report on Canada discusses there current economic condition. As part of that they explore the success Canada had in regulating their banking sector (which stands in stark contract to the catastrophic regulatory failures in the USA and Europe). And also provide ample evidence of that wise regulation did indeed prevent the financial crisis.
- Sound supervision and regulation: The 2008 FSSA Update found that the regulatory and supervisory framework meets best practice in many dimensions, including with regard to
the revised Basel Core Principles for banking supervision.
- Stringent capital requirements: Solvency standards apply to banks’ consolidated commercial and securities operations. Tier 1 capital generally significantly exceeds the required 7 percent target (which in turn exceeds the Basel Accord minimum of 4 percent). The leverage ratio is limited to 5 percent of total capital.
- Low risk tolerance and conservative balance sheet structures: Banks have a profitable and stable domestic retail market, and (like their customers) exhibit low risk tolerance. Banks had smaller exposures to “toxic” structured assets and relied less on volatile wholesale funding than many international peers.
- Conservative residential mortgage markets: Only 5 percent of mortgages are non- prime and only 25 percent are securitized (compared with 25 percent and 60 percent, respectively, in the United States). Almost half of residential loans are guaranteed, while the remaining have a loan-to-value ratio (LTV) below 80 percent—mortgages with LTV above this threshold must be insured for the full loan amount (rather than the portion above 80 percent LTV, as in the United States). Also mortgage interest is nondeductible, encouraging borrowers to repay quickly.
- Regulation reviews: To keep pace with financial innovation, federal authorities review financial sector legislation every five years (Ontario has a similar process for securities market legislation).
- Effective coordination between supervisory agencies: Officials meet regularly in the context of the Financial Institutions Supervisory Committee (FISC) and other fora to discuss issues and exchange information on financial stability matters.
- Proactive response to financial strains: The authorities have expanded liquidity facilities, provided liability guarantees, and purchased mortgage-backed securities. In addition, several provinces now provide unlimited deposit insurance for provincially-regulated credit unions. The 2009 Budget further expands support to credit markets, while providing authority for public capital injections and other transactions to support financial stability.