It looks as if the Canadian market is making way for Islamic Finance, an issue being explored since earlier this year. Global bankers, politicians and lawyers recently gathered at the Usury Free Association of North America (UFANA) to discuss the issue.
The two-day conference, held in downtown Toronto last week, saw big-name attendees as senior representatives from four of the big five Canadian banks were present, as well as representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Finance, all of whom are busy preparing internal reports focusing on the potential of this alternative financing.
"Islamic financial products should not present any particular difficulties under Canadian accounting standards," said Guy David, a speaker at the conference representing the Canadian law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.
Other attendees present were representatives from the Ontario Division of Federal Trade Commissioner's office as well as Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) - both of which are also said to be preparing soon-to-be-released reports.
Earlier this year, a report concluded that while Islamic financing would be legal in Canada, the CMHC has no plans to insure Shariah-compliant mortgages. This would open the door to private lenders who would be free to pursue this type of financing.