Ottawa seeks out remoteness options, caps number of payday lenders

City staff will explore options to curb the growth of “predatory” lending institutions in the city center following a motion passed Wednesday morning in city council.

Mayor Jim Watson says the motion is intended to protect Ottawa’s vulnerable citizens from payday loan companies – outlets that offer quick cash in exchange for high interest rates on loans.

“These operations, which really attack the poor and vulnerable, are appearing more and more in economically disadvantaged areas,” he told council, citing Bank Street, Rideau Street and Montreal Road. as hot spots for payday loan companies. According to the city, 55 of these companies are currently operating in Ottawa.

The city is empowered to limit the number of payday lenders in Ottawa under new provincial law that came into effect on January 1. The law also places limits on the relative amounts that lenders can offer to customers.

City councilors strongly supported the need for further regulation of payday lending companies, which a few have called “predatory” lending establishments.

A final report, outlining options to limit the number of new establishments and expand lenders, is expected in early 2019.

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