Ottawa Community News: City to place tighter restrictions on payday loan companies

Posted October 10, 2017

Council voted in favour of separating payday loan companies from banks on Sept. 27.
The motion came from Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, whose ward is home to a number of payday loan outlets.
Fleury’s been working with anti-poverty advocate groups to rein in the lenders – who some say unfairly target low-income neighbourhoods.
There are 70 payday loan outlets city wide, and 30 outlets in a five-kilometre stretch between the Vanier Parkway and Montreal Road, according to a report released in February by the Association of Communities for Reform Now, Ottawa Chapter.
The provincial government has given the city the power to separate them out from banks with a zoning category, but it needed council approval.
Last April council voted to work on licensing payday lenders. The licensing, coupled with the new zoning category, would allow the city to control the proliferation of outlets.
The city’s top planning boss, Stephen Willis, said the provincial legislation doesn’t deal with land use, so staff will work on a review over the next year.
College Coun. Rick Chiarelli, who heads up the Information Technology subcommittee, said that he wants staff to consider looking at other forms of payday loans – such as those available online.
“We want to make sure we are looking ahead to the next century,” he said. “Not stuck in the last century.”
Willis said staff will do what they can to stay current on the issue.
Alta Vista Coun. Jean Cloutier, who also has a concentration of payday loan companies in his ward, said it’s pretty obvious a payday loan company is not a bank.
“I look forward to the planning department report,” he said.
Article by Jennifer McIntosh for Ottawa Community News