Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

November 21, 2007 16:30 ET

Proposed Legislation to Combat Identity Theft Welcomed - Canadian Bankers Association

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 21, 2007) –

Attention News Editors:

Nancy Hughes Anthony, President and CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), called today's identity theft announcement an important and much-needed step forward in the fight against identity theft. Ms. Hughes Anthony joined federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as he announced the legislation.

"Personal identification and information are used daily to validate our identity. But for criminals, this information is a gold mine," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "This bill represents concrete action in the fight against identity theft and we applaud and support today's efforts to put consumer protection at the forefront, where it should be."

Identity theft, or the theft of personal information, can be the starting point to a range of crimes - from financial fraud and forgery to abuse of government programs. That is why combating identity theft requires the cooperation and efforts of business, law enforcement, individual consumers and government.

The CBA has long advocated for the need to make identity theft a defined offence under the Criminal Code in Canada. As well, the banking industry has called for changes to make it illegal to possess multiple pieces of identification, to traffic in stolen personal information and to modernize the Code in general to deal with emerging criminal tactics, such as phishing.

"Front and centre has been the need to make identity theft a defined offence - an actual crime - in Canada," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "In fact what has been needed is early intervention to prevent crimes from occurring. For example it is an offence to possess burglary tools but it is not illegal to be in possession of a fist full of driver's licences, card numbers and PINs."

Banks have highly sophisticated security systems and experts in place to protect customers' information and to protect them from being the victims of financial fraud. They also work closely with law enforcement and help educate consumers about steps they can take to minimize the risk of becoming a victim.

"Today's action addresses these gaps and is a needed tool in the arsenal to prevent ensuing harm," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "Banks take their role in the fight against identity theft extremely seriously. It is an ongoing, vigilant effort."

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 54 domestic chartered banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 249,000 employees to advocate for efficient and effective public policies governing banks and to promote an understanding of the banking industry and its importance to Canadians and the Canadian economy.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Bankers Association
    Melanie Minos
    (416) 362-6093, ext. 220, Cell: (416) 587-7733