Payday Lending & Remittances

Learn more about ACORN Canada's groundbreaking campaigns regulate payday lending and international remittances and money transfers.

Movement for Remittance Justice

Kay Bisnath, MPP Jagmeet Singh and Rohan Jagroo announce the introduction of Bill 98.Last Thursday, ACORN members joined MPP Jagmeet Singh at Queen’s Park to announce the next step in our important campaign to regulate the predatory remittance industry. He tabled a historic bill that afternoon that would regulate the industry – introducing transparent fee structures for the first time, a cap on the total fees at 5% of money sent, and strong enforcement mechanisms.

A lot of people paid attention. You can read some of what they wrote here, here and here.

The Toronto Star, the most read newspaper in the country, endorsed the campaign over the weekend. So did the Ottawa Citizen.

You can sign the petition here.

ACORN members are going to keep working hard to build this campaign. They’ll be speaking to their neighbors and getting them signed on, they’ll be doing turn out for meetings and actions, and they’ll be planning. One of the most important tasks right now for ACORN’s members and supporters across Ontario is letting MPPs know that they should vote for remittance justice. Call your MPP now - you can find their contact information here

To get involved, to let us know weather your MPP supports remittance justice, or to get more information, contact the closest ACORN office.

Ottawa Citizen Editorial: A costly money migration

Pascal On Thursday, NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh introduced a private member’s bill in the Ontario legislature that deserves careful consideration from all parties. It would ensure that people in Canada won’t pay prohibitive fees to send small amounts of money overseas.

In general, the NDP instinct to solve the world’s problems by telling private businesses what they can and can’t do should be discouraged. But in this case, there’s a compelling argument for regulation.

International money transfers — also called remittances — are a bulwark against poverty. The World Bank estimates that $483 billion in remittances flowed in 2011, of which $351 billion went to developing countries. This is money that goes directly to people, bypassing governments. It’s more money than flows through foreign aid, it’s voluntary rather than taxed, and it’s resilient to political and economic cycles.

Toronto Star Editorial: All Ontario parties should support cap on remittance payments

Jagmeet Singh, NDP MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton, has introduced a private member's bill in the Ontario legislature to cap the fees on remittance payments made by migrant workers and immigrantsMembers of Ontario’s legislature have a chance to take a small but important step toward preventing some of the most vulnerable workers in the province from being ripped off. They should seize the opportunity.

It comes in a private member’s bill introduced last week by Jagmeet Singh, the New Democrat MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. Singh’s bill would limit the fees charged to migrant workers and immigrants who send money back to extended family in their home countries. All parties should get on-board with this measure.

Remittances, as they’re known, involve the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars every year around the world. The World Bank says remittance payments amounted to $501 billion U.S. last year; $372 billion of that went to developing countries.

CBC: MPP calls for cap on money-transfer fees in Ontario

New Democrat MPP Jagmeet Singh has introduced a private member’s bill that seeks to put a cap on the fees that money-transfer agencies can charge Ontarians. (CBC)A New Democrat MPP has brought forward a private member’s bill that seeks to limit the fees that Ontarians pay to send money overseas.

Jagmeet Singh says that Canada has many citizens and residents sending money to relatives abroad, but there are only a limited number of money transfer companies to work with and no limits on the fees they can be asked to pay.

In some cases, people in Canada are paying fees of 15 or 20 per cent, which Singh says is unfair and above the global-average of 10 per cent for such services.

“The issue here is about fairness,” the Brampton-Gore-Malton MPP said during a news conference at Queen’s Park on Thursday morning.

“Individuals are sending money back to their loved ones, to those in need. And the issue is that there is no cap.”

Under his private member’s bill, money transfer companies would have to cap remittance fees at five per cent, while also requiring greater transparency about what consumers are being asked to pay.

“This is a step forward in terms of addressing the realities of Canada and Ontario and the GTA, that there is a significant immigrant and new Canadian population and this would provide some fairness to those who wish to send money back to their loved ones,” Singh said.

The call to cap fees is being met with support from the anti-poverty group ACORN Canada, whose president Kay Bisnath says that the people landing in Canada are sending money back home where it is dearly needed.

Toronto Star: Ontario MPP pushes for 5 per cent fee cap on overseas money transfers

Amadeo Flores, left, regularly sends money to his elderly parents in Spain, while Rohan Jagroo has been wiring money to friends and family in Trinidad for 17 years.Since arriving in Canada in 1995, Rohan Jagroo has religiously wired money to support his disabled sister and needy friends in Trinidad.

For each $100 he sends monthly at his local Money Mart through Western Union, 10 per cent goes to administrative fees — amounting to more than $2,000 in the last 17 years.

The Toronto cabinetmaker hopes a new private member’s bill to be introduced Thursday will put a stop to what critics call corporate “gouging” on migrant workers and immigrants, who count on remittance services to wire money to their loved ones overseas.

The bill, drafted by NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (Bramalea-Gore-Malton) would cap the rates in Ontario to no more than 5 per cent of the money transferred.

The proposal would also require financial institutions such as MoneyGram and Western Union to disclose any hidden fees in transactions.

“This is a really important issue for a large number of people in Ontario, who are not being charged a fair rate. It makes it difficult for them to send money to their loved ones,” said Singh.

Five per cent is a rate recommended by the World Bank in the global remittance industry that has a $325-billion yearly cash flow — $7.5 billion estimated in Canada alone — from 215 million migrants sending money to family members in developing countries.

A recent study by ACORN, an advocacy group for low-income families, showed the average cost of a $100 remittance ranged from $3.70 to $13.26 at MoneyGram and from $40.18 to $50.84 at HSBC, depending on the speed and level of service. Western Union’s average rate internationally ranged from $13.47 to $21.07.

Momentum Building for Remittance Justice

4780348702 c2ef1e62af bThis Thursday, May 31st, ACORN members will join ally Jagmeet Singh, MPP, at Queen's Park to announce the introduction of a private member's bill that could bring badly needed regulation to Money Transfer Organizations in Ontario. 

Sign the petition to support remittance justice here

People across the province are signing on, calling their MPPs to ask for their support for this important bill, and working with ACORN members in their cities to raise the profile of the issue. The press is paying attention - from Thursday's Ottawa Metro

NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh will introduce legislation capping the fees companies such as Western Union and Moneygram can charge for sending money overseas, according to ACORN Canada.

The legislation would cap the fees at five per cent of the money transferred, the group said.

ACORN has held protests on the issue, including one an Ottawa Western Union last year.

At that protest, Ottawan Tahir Nazari said in order to send $106 to his brother and sister in Afghanistan he had to pay a $13 fee—about 12 per cent.

While there are many other options for transferring money internationally, ACORN says those companies are the most accessible for people who are not familiar with the banking system and in some parts of the world they are the only local option available.

Remittance legislation to be introduced in Ontario

Next week members of ACORN Canada will join NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh at Queen’s Park’s to announce the introduction of legislation to cap the rates on overseas remittances in Ontario.

The legislation will cap the fees of companies like Western Union and Moneygram at 5% of money transferred - a key demand outlined by ACORN Canada’s members and set out by the World Bank.

This is an important step forward in an important campaign, and one we could not have done without the support of all of you.

For this legislation to pass, at least one other party is going to have to have to support it - so it’s critical that we continue to build momentum for the bill, and continue to expose the remittance industry’s blatant attempts to gouge working families. 

Local Grassroots Action for Remittance Justice

Below is an email from ACORN Canada President Kay Bisnath that went out to many of our supporters last night about our campaign to regulate the remittance industry.  

From: Kay Bisnath, ACORN Canada <>
Subject: Local grassroots action

I know you’re busy - between work or school, taking out the trash, watching the kids - you probably don’t get to think about ACORN Canada or our campaigns all that much.

That’s why I wanted to reach out today, because we have big plans for this spring & summer and I don’t want you to miss it.

We want to take our campaign for remittance justice local - with grassroots actions across the country.

Our 20+ chapters are planning local actions to win legislation that would cap the maximum rates that can be charged on overseas remittances.

But we can only run as many grassroots actions as we can fund on our limited budget. To ramp up for local actions across Canada we need to raise $5,000 by the end of the month. Can you chip in?

Chip in $5 to help hold big banks and remittance providers accountable. 

New Westminster News Leader: ACORN Canada holds New Westminster protest of money sending fees

A small group took to the windy, cold streets of Downtown New Westminster during the noon hour Tuesday to protest fees charged by Western Union and financial institutions for sending money overseas.

ACORN Canada spokeswoman Nancy Anemba led about eight people in a rally in front of the Scotiabank at Columbia and Begbie streets. They want the bank to put pressure on Western Union to reduce remittance fees charged to those wiring money back home to five per cent. Acorn says most of its clients have low-income jobs and send on average only $150 at a time. That often means the fees accumulate to 18 per cent or more for the sender.

Like many other immigrants and refugees in New Westminster, Anemba said she has been sending money to family in Nairobi, Kenya ever since arriving in Canada a little over five years ago. Most of the money she wired went to her daughter until she joined Anemba here five months ago. Now it goes to her parents. Western Union provides the money-sending service through banks, payday loan outlets and convenience stores. 

Ottawa EMC: Ottawa ACORN calls for cap on money transfer chrarges

Michelle Walrond said she's tired of paying high fees to send money to her family overseas.

The Ottawa resident and ACORN Canada member was among those who turned up for a rally to protest high fees outside the Money Mart on the corner of Bronson and Gladstone Avenues on Jan. 10.

"If you don't use the remittance system, you don't know," said Walrond, who was one of roughly 20 members who came out on the cold day to protest.

Some cars passing down Bronson Avenue honked in support as the organization held signs and marched to try and gain attention to the issue.

Walrond and the members of ACORN were calling on Western Union to cap their charges at five per cent. In addition to the rally, members from ACORN Canada are collecting signatures from across the country as part of a petition. If they reach 5,000 signatures, it will get sent to Western Union's chief executive in Colorado.

Western Union had yet to respond to a request for comment at press time.

Walrond said people who sent money to family overseas are struggling themselves, and are in a tough position because they have to send money to family who are also poor.

"People are dying and they need money," she said.

She said she hoped that remittance fees would soon be capped at five per cent.

According to ACORN Canada and ACORN International, the average remittance fee charged can be as high as 20 per cent. For more information on ACORN Canada, visit their website at: .

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