Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 31, 2022
It’s past time for action on payday loans
Sometimes, requests made of governments seem so eminently reasonable that it’s amazing they need be repeated over and over again.
In a report last week, ACORN, a non-profit group advocating for low- and moderate-income Canadians, once again asks the federal government to crack down on exorbitant interest rates charged by high-cost lenders.
The gaudy outlets offering payday loans and other such provisions of quick money at high cost are symbols of desperation on the main streets of almost all towns and cities.
They are the physical manifestation of an inequitable society — a divide both highlighted and aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As ACORN has long argued, the lenders profit off the most vulnerable.
The pandemic has worsened things for those on the margins, it said. Many of those trying to pay their bills turn to so-called payday loans — small, short-term loans with extremely high annual interest rates.
These loans don’t exceed $1,500, must be repaid within 62 days, and can carry interest as high as 500 per cent in some provinces. They are regulated by provincial governments and lenders are exempt from even the 60 per cent limit on interest.