Regulation of Payday Lending in Canada

ACORN Canada engaged me to determine an appropriate fee structure for payday lenders that would reduce the current very high rates while still allowing at least some of the companies to continue to operate. This fee structure should replace the current rule of 60% maximum interest contained in the Criminal Code, thus allowing mainstream financial institutions to compete in the short-term lending field legally.

Protecting Canadians’ Interest: Reining in the Payday Lending Industry

The payday lending industry is unique in Canada. In most of the country, this billion- dollar business is completely unregulated. And it makes money by openly breaking the law against criminal interest rates. While the Criminal Code clearly states that annual effective interest rates must not exceed 60%, payday lenders typically charge between 300% - 900% and, not infrequently, more than 1,000%. And yet, in spite of this flagrant violation of the law and the harm done to those who regularly borrow from Money Mart and its less well-known competitors,
virtually nothing is being done to crack down on this rapidly growing industry. It’s estimated that there are more than 1,200 payday lending “stores” across Canada. Some have more reprehensible lending and collection practices than others. But all of them share the same core business practice of breaking the law every single day.

Survey of Payday Loan Users in Toronto and Vancouver

The practice of offering short-term payday loans against an individual’s paycheque (and/or other regular source of income such as pension cheques) has grown dramatically in the past few years and the industry is now estimated to be worth $2 billion a year in Canada in terms of loan volume. By comparison, a recent report about the industry in the United States, where payday lending originated, stated that the industry is worth US$44 billion annually in that country. ACORN and other organizations have raised concerns about the phenomenon of payday lending, citing extremely high rates of interest and lack of consumer awareness about the dangers of extended use of payday loans. The industry remains unregulated, and ACORN has called for legislative action to be taken.

No Consumer Left Behind: A Canadian Affordability Framework for Communications Services in a Digital Age

In this report, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre sought to develop a framework for defining “affordability” of communications services in the digital age. Citizens need to be able to participate fully in society—and they need communication in order to do so. However, as communications services become increasingly central to the everyday activities of Canadians, are they affordable for lowincome Canadians, or do these consumers struggle to retain service? This report examines the way affordability is perceived by regulators, academic researchers, and corporate stakeholders, both in Canada and in other jurisdictions.

A population-based study of premature mortality in relation to neighbourhood density of alcohol sales and cheque cashing outlets in Toronto, Canada

Alcohol overuse and poverty, each associated with premature death, often exist within disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Cheque cashing places (CCPs) may be opportunistically placed in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, where customers abound. This study explores whether neighbourhood density of CCPs and alcohol outlets are each related to premature mortality among adults.

The Economic Impact of Payday Lending in Economically Vulnerable Communities

This recent report from the Howard University Center on Race and Wealth uses 2012 Census data to identify the real and potential victims of payday lending, and pinpoints their geographic locations within the following target states__Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. "Based on the locations of these lenders, it is clear that they target minority and low-to middle income groups, and densely populated areas."

A Conflict of Interest: How Canada's Largest Banks Support Predatory Lending

In this report we examine the involvement of Canada’s two largest banks in financing the “predatory economy” that they helped create and in profiting from the emergence of payday lenders, pawnbrokers, rent-to-own stores, and cheque cashers. These businesses harm our communities and strip billions of dollars from the neighborhoods and working families who are the most in need.