Internet Use and Accessibility for Low-Income Canadians
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ACORN Canada's comments on risks and consumer protection policy recommendations
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-134
Review of basic telecommunications services
14 July 2015
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.
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.
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.
Fair banking NOW!
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.
This report shows that the more needs be done to support tenants and hold landlords to account, as renters are living in substandard conditions without the necessary support to stand up to landlords on issues such as rental unit repairs.
In Halifax, 2011 statistics showed that 37% of households in Halifax were rented (STATCAN: http://bit.ly/2jQTYRp), a number which is continuing to grow in an increasing rental market. There have been some bylaw changes made by City Council in recent years aiming to improve rental housing conditions. However, as this report shows, there is much still to be done.
Les membres d’Ottawa ACORN croient que le gouvernement municipal a la responsabilité de gérer les cas horribles de logements insalubres à Ottawa et les régions environnantes.
Ottawa ACORN members believe that the municipal government has a responsibility to address the causes of the horrific state of housing in Ottawa and the surrounding region.
Ce rapport démontre que le gouvernement municipal doit faire plus car les locataires vivent dans des conditions de logement déplorables et n'ont pas le soutien requis pour se défendre contre les propriétaires et d'avoir leurs besoins comblés. Le Règlement en matière de normes foncières a plus d'étapes dans la procédure et plus de délais que la plupart des règlements et tout avis de violation est inexécutable. Pour ces raisons, ACORN demande la création d’une licence pour propriétaires MAINTENANT!
This report shows that the municipal government needs to do more as tenants are living in substandard conditions without the necessary support to allow them to stand up to landlords and have their needs met. The Property Standards By-law has more procedural steps and delays than most by-laws in addition to any notice of violation being unenforceable. This is why Ottawa ACORN members want landlord licensing NOW!
The Tenants' Case for Landlord Licensing in Toronto
ACORN has been fighting for Landlord Licensing for 12 years in Toronto, and on Thursday May 19th ACORN won a big step in the campaign – a motion for landlord licensing is being voted on at City Council in early June. Here are some common questions that ACORN members have been answering over the past 12 years.
In 2013 AIC approached the Public Health Association of BC to assist it in a project aimed at increasing the knowledge of the social determinants of health related to substandard housing in an effort to have an impact on housing policy in BC.
The project has three goals:
1. Explore how substandard conditions in low moderate income rental buildings affect the health and well being of communities.
2. Create and sustain dialogue that fosters systemic change in the relationship between renters and policy makers by breaking down the barriers between the two.
3. Use research as a policy impact tool on housing policy in order to improve housing conditions and consequently improve the health and well being in communities.
The Housing Justice Program is a program unique to the Ottawa ACORN office, founded in 2011 to help tenants in need of assistance file applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board.