Chapter 5CanadaA Promising Emerging Market for Islamic Finance

Jeffrey Graham

Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Canada is widely considered to have the most effective and safest banking system in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. The Global Financial Magazine reports that 6 of the world's top 10 safest banks are Canadian, and the World Bank ranks Canada in the top five countries for investor protection.

A strong domestic economy in Canada ensures a steady demand for financial services. Canada has a national banking system with more than 8,000 branches. It has a highly competitive domestic financial sector, resulting in high service standards at competitive costs to consumers. In addition, there is a strong commitment to innovation: Canada has a high number of automated banking machines per capita and benefits from high levels of utilization of electronic channels. Further, Canada has a very stable environment; failure in the Canadian financial sector is rare.

Within Canada, Toronto is Canada's financial services capital and one of North America's premier financial centers. Other Canadian cities with significant financial sectors are Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

One of the most rapidly growing segments of the international financial services sector is Islamic finance. Recognizing this trend, and in competition with a number of other Western financial centers, including London, Toronto is leading Canadian efforts to explore the prospects of attracting additional ...

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