Keeping watch over our financial system

November 2022

One of the topics at the top of nearly everyone’s mind these days is interest rates. As our global financial guardians work to tame inflation, all eyes are on the Bank of Canada to set interest rate policy that promotes a safe, sound and efficient financial system.

As some of the best and brightest in the country work to decipher data and ensure our financial system remains stable it’s comforting to know that one of our own is working at the forefront as a steward within the Bank of Canada. Wade McMahon, grew up in Thunder Bay and was educated at Lakehead University. McMahon is the son of Eleanor Albanese a playwright, artist and filmmaker who has been featured in previous issues of Bayview magazine for her creative accomplishments.

We asked Wade to share some thoughts about his position, his current focus and his family life in the City of Ottawa.

Q. Tell me about your job at the Bank of Canada?

A. I have done a few things at the Bank but currently I am the Director of the regulatory policy division, a team that is responsible for lender-of-last resort lending. In plain terms, it is the group that decides whether to provide loans to financial institutions when they don’t have the ability to borrow from anywhere else. The role of “lender of last resort” is a core tenet of central banking that goes back more than a hundred years. While you always hope that financial stress never occurs, it is also exciting to be on the front lines when issues begin to emerge like when the pandemic first started.

A. I was fortunate in university that certain interests led me down a particular path. I started in business school but was increasingly drawn to economics. After graduating from Lakehead University, I was a month into graduate school when the 2008 Global Financial Crisis happened and people were talking about the worst downturn since the great depression. The timing wasn’t great for my job prospects but it was a super interesting time to be studying economics. A lot of the these very accomplished professors kind of put their books away and just shared their views on what they thought went wrong. That experience is kind of what drew me to work in the area of Financial Stability.

Q. What do you find most exciting/interesting about your position?

A. “Exciting” and “central banking” are not two things associated with each other but I will try my best. Prior to my current position, I spent close to 10 years in the group that supervises critical financial market infrastructure. These systems process virtually every financial transaction in Canada – every payment, stock purchase or foreign exchange transaction. Recently, I was part of the group that reviewed replacement of one of those systems for the first time in over 20 years (name, “Lynx”). It was always easy to stay motivated on the project since that payment system processes hundreds of billions of dollars every day and if there were any issues with the launch it would have been front page news and extremely disruptive to Canadians daily life. Payments and critical infrastructure are also closely related to some of the emerging trends in the financial sector like digital and crypto currencies, distributed ledger technology and stable coins. I was fortunate to work in some of these areas, including some of the early projects the Bank of Canada conducted on issuing a digital currency or what is referred to as CBDC.

Q. Tell me a little about your family life in Ottawa

A. I live with my wife and two boys, who are now 6 and 3. My wife and I feel like Ottawa was a nice balance in terms of a place that has some of the attractions and amenities of a city but is still small enough that daily life isn’t too hectic. Both of us are from Thunder Bay so we try to go back as much as we can, at least a couple times a year to see family and friends. I want our children to know their extended family and have some sense of that broader support and community that you get from Thunder Bay. Having grown up and lived there my whole life until after University, Thunder Bay definitely runs deep and I still miss it to this day.

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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