Bank of Canada Gov. Mark Carney said Thursday that discussion of a bank tax is a "distraction" from the Group of 20's core agenda.

He said the G-20 has an ambitious agenda on financial sector reform, and that it was important to focus on the "highest value-added or highest return elements."

"We see the bank levy discussion as a distraction from that core agenda," Carney told reporters at a press conference after the Bank of Canada released its latest quarterly monetary policy report.

The International Monetary Fund is calling for two types of taxes on financial institutions to prevent and pay for future crises.

Carney said different countries will take different approaches to the levy and others, like Canada, will not introduce one at all.

He said G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors will discuss "a range of very important financial reform" initiatives, including the bank levy, at their meeting in Washington this week, and expects to make progress on some of them.

"I think that there is a shared recognition within the G-20 that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to these issues," Carney said. "The important thing is that we have the basics right."

Canada's view, which Carney said is shared by a majority of G-20 counterparts, is that the "basics" mean better capital and liquidity standards, and more effective resolution mechanisms to deal with bank failures.

Canada has also proposed "contingent capital" as an alternative to a bank tax. Carney said the G-20 should be unanimous on common minimum standards for liquidity and capital, and this should be resolved by the Leaders Summit in Korea in November.

He said U.S. plans for financial sector reform must be consistent with the G-20's reform agenda. He said it is important that the measures be implemented and don't just remain as proposals.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.