Posted April 19, 2016
Ottawa Community News: Council approves licensing for payday loan companies
Gisele Bouvier, of the Ottawa poverty advocacy group ACORN – Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – said she is excited to begin public consultations on how to license predatory payday loan companies such as Money Mart.
Council approved a motion by Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury on April 13 aimed at controlling the number of loan company outlets.
Bouvier said the Vanier area has the highest concentration of payday loan outlets in the country.
ACORN, along with the Vanier Community Association and the Vanier Business Improvement Area, have been working with the councillor since November 2015, Bouvier said.
“We are happy about this latest step,” Bouvier said.
Fleury’s motion will initiate licensing for new payday loans locations.
Peter Kucherepa, a Vanier-based lawyer who wrote a discussion paper on municipal policy options for payday loan companies that was released in February, said within his community there are more than 30 outlets in a five-kilometre stretch between the Vanier Parkway and Montreal Road.
After council carried his motion, Fleury thanked the community for all their hard work on the project.
In addition to licensing new locations, the city will petition the province to limit the number of stores in low income areas. Fleury said that the province could require a certain amount of distance between locations; similar to the powers the city has for determining the location for strip clubs.
Kucherepa said the city can deal with the proliferation of payday loan operations in Vanier by working on zoning that would prohibit payday lenders from setting up shop within a kilometre of another outlet.
Kucherepa said at a February press conference that council could also require a business license when a lender opens. The annual fee could be used by the community to mitigate some of the negative social impacts that can occur as a result of the payday loan cycle the borrowers can fall into.
Article by Jennifer McIntosh for Ottawa Community News