Parliamentary report recommends Canada recognize, strategize about blockchain industry

Canada flag with blockchain background.

“Canada punches above its weight” in blockchain innovation, parliamentarians conclude, but lots more should be done to encourage the industry.

A Canadian House of Commons committee report has recommended that the country “recognize blockchain as an emerging industry” and take all the steps that entails. There are a lot of steps needed, it said.

The report was released by the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology after a study that involved five meetings and numerous witnesses and briefs. The report outlined uses of blockchain that included cryptocurrency, supply chain and public sector uses, and non-crypto financial innovations.

“Canada punches above its weight” in blockchain innovation and entrepreneurial capacity, one witness for the committee said. In 2021, 2.5% of large enterprises in Canada used blockchain. While less than 1% of small- and medium-sized enterprises did so. Witnesses estimated 16,000 Canadians were employed in the blockchain industry in 2020. And on witness estimated that cryptocurrency firms employed 13,000 Canadians in 2022.

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Citing witnesses, the report stated that “cryptocurrency trading platforms are sufficiently regulated to protect consumers from risks seen from foreign platforms.” It credited the collapse of the Canadian QuadrigaCX trading platform in 2019 for spurring regulators into action. The report continues:

“This increased interest by Canadian regulators is broadly [in] line with developments in other jurisdictions.”

The report also noted that, while large-scale problems have received the most media attention, consumers seeking entry into the crypto market on a small scale are also frequently targeted by bad actors.

The report recommended Canada “recognize” the role of blockchain in the country, which in turn led to 15 more recommendations. More regulatory clarity is needed, the report said, and the government should formulate a national strategy in conjunction with industry participants. The report mentioned stablecoin regulation in particular. Noting that even committee witnesses could not agree on whether or not stablecoins are securities.