Tag Archives: Money Gram

Editorial Support Lines up for Remittance Cap in Key Ontario Papers

ACORN Canada fighting for Justice in Remittances

Delhi   With the introduction of a member’s bill in the provincial parliament of Ontario by New Democratic Party MPP Jagmeet Singh from Toronto to amend the Consumer Act to put a 5% hard cap ceiling on remittances as requested by ACORN International and ACORN Canada as part of the Remittance Justice Campaign, support is lining up for the bill.  The influential Toronto Sun editorialized in favor and the Ottawa Citizen joined in the call for support for the measure.

The Ottawa Citizen had an interesting take with a conservative twist:

The best way to drive costs down is to encourage competition. For some recipient countries, new players and technologies have led to better prices. For others, there’s an oligopoly and high prices. It seems unlikely that the most punitive fees will come down without regulation.

In 2009, the G8 vowed to bring global costs for remittances down to five per cent by 2014. Market-based approaches, such as greater transparency in fee structures, are crucial to this effort. But they haven’t brought fees down very far.

The Citizen got it.  The standard business ideology may make predatory practices and glib assurances standard operating procedure, but when such rapaciousness cannot be impacted by fairness, it is time for legislation and regulation.

The Toronto Star started perhaps in a better place of understanding the importance of remittances and the cost structure, but they also made a powerful point:  all parties needed to support the legislation.  In other words this is too important to allow narrow partisanship to stand in the way and allow Money Gram and Western Union to fleece the pockets of migrant and immigrant workers.

No other province caps remittance fees, but the idea is no different in principle from limiting the interest charged on payday loans to prevent low-income earners from being gouged. Ontario did that in 2008.

All parties at Queen’s Park should back Singh’s bill. It would be an excellent step toward helping out some of the hardest working and most deserving people among us.

The same arguments could be made throughout the world, but for now the momentum is building in Canada where the leadership is, and the quick editorial support puts the pressure on for change!

Check out ACORN International for more information on remittance campaigns and how you can help.

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Canada Leads the Way in Demanding Remittance Regulations!

Remittance Fees Toronto March 2 2011- 2New Orleans By late Tuesday night the last report was in from Vancouver putting a cap on actions across Canada in Hamilton, Toronto, and Ottawa in freezing and rainy weather as ACORN Canada (www.acorncanada.org) members stepped out to demand of federal authorities in Ottawa and provincial administrators in Ontario and British Columbia that the costs of remittances simply had to be regulated to put a stop to predatory pricing.  The actions were widely covered on Global TV, Chinese and other language papers, the Metro Ottawa with a front page picture, and as far away as The Fast Forward Weekly in Calgary.  Migrant and immigrant workers and families understand that this issue is huge, costly, and demands immediate resolution.  (Details in the reports posted at www.acorninternational.org entitled Past Time for Remittance Justice and the supplemental report, Looking the Other Way:  The Absence of Remittance Regulation)

Importantly in Vancouver there was a commitment from the chief staff person in the Finance Ministry to meet directly with ACORN Canada leaders to see what needed to be done to vet the issue and move forward.  With a new Premier taking office this week, members are crossing their fingers that they might actually be heard on this huge issue dealing with money transfer organizations like Western Union, MoneyGram, and others.

Members in Toronto were literally locked out in the cold by police at the behest of the provincial government in Ontario at Queen’s Park.  There seems to me more interest in the Hollywood concept of The King’s Speech than in Queen’s Park listening!  Police and bureaucrats claimed the demand to meet with the Minister of Finance and present an “unauthorized” letter was past the pale, forcing the members with flags, bullhorns, and chanting to call out to supporters passing by and post the letter to the minister from in front of the government’s own building.  “Hey,” politicians seem to be saying in Ontario, “what do we care about the problems of a bunch of new Canadian immigrants?”  Indeed!

DSCN0764The report from ACORN Ottawa head organizer, Jill O’Reilly, elegantly and concisely describes what nearly 30 members faced at the federal level in pressing the demands:
“CUPW joined us with their national president. SEIU Canada local 2 staff joined us as well
We got press in Ottawa Metro, major free daily paper. We got local press in the Ottawa EMC, which publishes Thursday.

Leaders Michelle Walrond and Adrian Profitos went up with no trouble to commissioner’s office Ursula Menke at the FCAC. She wasn’t in or the deputy commissioner. So we spoke with their media relations person who tried to shove us off to the minister’s office. But members stayed firm and they promised us a meeting and to look at our info. We asked them to pass on the message to Ursula and her office that she needs to recommend a 5% cap on banks for remittance fees to the minister, etc.

Remittance Fees Toronto March 2 2011 - 1 The woman we dealt with was a little shaky and the press came up and took some good shots. the building management called the cops on top of the cops I already spoke with this AM. We turned out approx 11 cops. who were super nice and pissed that the building management called in more of them when we already notified them.”

All in a day’s work as other countries in the ACORN International federation also move to step forward with the same demand in the seven other countries where our members face the same issues.

Another step forward, as momentum continues to build around the world for remittance justice and it becomes clear there’s no stopping us now!

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