Millions of times each day, Canadians withdraw cash from bank machines, use online debit, debit cards, cheques, pre-authorized payment agreements, and make other payments. These transactions generally result in one financial institution owing money to another. The mandate of the Canadian Payments Association (CPA) is to establish, operate, and maintain systems for the clearing and settlement of payments among member institutions on behalf of their clients—individuals, businesses, and governments. In 2011, the value of transactions cleared through CPA systems each business day averaged $179.4 billion.
The CPA plays a significant role in Canada’s financial system. As stewards of the country’s clearing and settlement systems, the CPA develops the policies and rules that support the safety and soundness, efficiency, accessibility and innovation in Canada’s payments systems. The specifications published in Standard 006 in January 2005 are designed to ensure that high-quality images can be captured from the cheques for a range of purposes, including delivery to customers and financial institutions' internal use, as well as enabling other processing improvements not directly related to imaging. The new version of Standard 006 is available on the CPA’s web site (www.cdnpay.ca), and the new “image-friendly” cheque specifications are described in Part A.
Adopting the cheque specifications is particularly important for business cheques because these represent Canada's largest volumes, and until now there have been significant variations in the formats businesses use. The specifications support the capture of high-quality images for a range of purposes, including delivery to customers and FIs' internal uses, as well as other processing improvements. Businesses that have not yet completed the modifications to their cheques are encouraged to do so as soon as possible to avoid potential issues as FIs introduce new image-based processes or other automated processing improvements.
All cheques issued by ourselves are in full compliance with the CPA.