Pressed by the opposition to make a commitment and reveal when the government intends to table the bill that will reform the province's financial sector, including the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services, Quebec Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão eventually provided a date: "Maybe in the fall." The Minister also promised to hold consultations.
This exchange took place during a meeting of Quebec's Committee on Public Finance on April 28, in a discussion between Leitão and Nicolas Marceau, a member of the Parti Quebecois and the official opposition's spokesman for finance and revenue.
Legislative changes impacting Desjardins
The Committee was dealing with legislative changes that Desjardins will be to required follow now that it is recognized as an institution subject to major financial risks, also known as "systemic risks". Marceau, however, led the discussion on Quebec's law on the distribution of financial products and services. He invited the Minister to comment on both the upcoming changes and his schedule.
"In fact, they will take place a little later, this year I hope," replied the Minister. "Maybe in the fall, we'll see. There will be a financial omnibus bill that will address this situation and others, including the AFSC [Act respecting financial services cooperatives]. “We are going to modernize it, we will adapt it to new realities, and it will happen in this bill that will, I hope, still come this year.”
Highly anticipated bill
Marceau continued, noting that he had received messages of concern from the industry to the effect that the government does not intend to conduct consultations. He even said that he was surprised at the number of people who are tackling the issue, a sign that this bill is highly anticipated.
In this context, he reiterated his question about the government's intentions to hold consultations. The minister replied that many had already been consulted, as the 300 submissions which have been received demonstrate.
Stakes too high
Marceau returned to his question: "I do not think it would be inappropriate for you to commit to holding consultations. The stakes are too high, the expectations are too high. (...) Yes, it is up to the government to decide... But it would not be indiscreet of you to make a commitment. "
"To be more clear," replied the Minister, "there will be consultations. To what extent? I do not know. We will decide at the time."