There’s no excuses for boredom over the next couple of weeks. A ton of things are going on!
The Community Place Hub will be hosting its Fall Festival on September 13 from 3 to 7 pm.
Colin Mendez Morris will be performing “Joshua Glover: The Opera” in Little Avenue Park. The opera tells the story of Glover, a slave who was freed, recaptured, and imprisoned before coming to Etobicoke. It is part of the Arts in the Parks Series.
The federal Greens have announced their candidate for York South–Weston: Nicki Ward.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Ward is a “marketing expert in the financial services sector, a social justice advocate, [and] a professional writer”. She is also a performer, poet, and trans-rights activist.
In the past, she has run for councillor in the University–Rosedale riding and fought a tough battle to be the Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre (she lost both races against high-profile candidates).
Confusingly, her website says that she is seeking the nomination in “ottawa” [sic], and also in York South–Weston. Gary’s got it.
Councillor Frances Nunziata is attempting (with council colleagues) to freeze the number of payday loan companies in Toronto through a Council by-law that would stop licensing new ones.
Payday loan outlets have expanded exponentially and have tended to cluster in lower income areas. Weston has more than its fair share of them.
Payday loan / check cashing companies began in the U.S. in the 1990s thanks to repeal of usury laws there. It was the Harper Conservatives who opened the door to payday loan companies across Canada. The maximum interest rate under the Criminal Code was (and still is) 60% annually before the Tories opened a Pandora’s Box loophole in 2007. Provinces were allowed to regulate their own rates after that. The Wynne Liberals tightened the rules slightly (nothing the industry couldn’t drive a truck through) and lowered the rates to the current astronomical level.
Why do payday loan companies exist? Especially when they charge loan-shark levels of interest. Without customers, PLCs would have gone out of business long ago. The chart below illustrates some of the reasons offered by customers.
There are three reasons for PLCs’ continued existence:
One reason is the failure of Canada’s banking quintopoly™ to make their more affordable services known and widely available to low-income Canadians. Also by closing branches, they have been allowed to shirk their moral obligation to provide banking and financial education to the poor. Many people don’t realize how much a payday loan costs – $15 interest per $100 borrowed over two weeks is an annual interest rate of 391%.
The second reason PLCs exist is a systemic poverty that prevents people from getting ahead. Ontario’s minimum wage is $14.00 an hour or about $29,000 annually. This is about $2000 lower than it should have been thanks to Premier Ford cancelling the planned January 1 minimum wage increase to $15.00. Ford (and others including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce) claimed that a higher minimum wage would kill jobs, lower profits and trigger inflation. When the min-wage was increased from $11.60 to $14.00, none of the dire predictions came true. Ford was dead wrong. Yes, For The People indeed.
Lastly, our living costs are astronomical. An income of over $100,000 is needed to afford the payments on a one-bedroom condo apartment in Toronto. Rental units are rising too. Toronto’s public housing has a 7 to 10-year waiting list and is in a state of chronic disrepair and neglect. Gangs, cockroaches and bedbugs are allowed to operate relatively unfettered inside their confines.
Thanks once again go to dear leader, Premier Ford who dismantled Ontario’s successful Cap and Trade program that was set to provide billions towards public housing, school repairs and upgrades. All together now: For the People.
Although banking is a federal matter, York South-Weston MP Ahmed Hussen has been silent on the banking industry despite being prodded to make some remarks on the topic. He represents one of the poorest ridings in the country (not that he actually lives here) yet fails to be moved by the plight of people victimized by the failure of our current banking system.
There are alternatives to PLCs. Anyone in Canada can open a low cost bank account that can charge a maximum of, $4.00 in monthly fees. Account holders are allowed up to 12 debit transactions a month and other features. Account holders can gain access to financial advice.
Even better, Luminus Credit Union has a branch at 2011 Lawrence Ave W unit 11 ( 416-243-0686). They have a zero-fee, zero minimum-balance checking account.
Of course we can (and should) stop new PLCs in Toronto but that’s not going to fix the predation caused by existing ones, idiotic legislation, low wages and costly housing.
This is a lucrative industry with well-placed and well-financed lobbyists. Let’s see if Councillor Nunziata and Toronto City Council can begin the process of eliminating the scourge of payday lenders from Weston and the rest of the city. If they can do that, then they can move on to bigger actions.
Shakespeare in Action is offering fall programming for for young people interested in writing and producing theatre. Kids from 4 to 14 can participate in three programs on Saturdays, starting October 19.
Through drama, language arts, movement and music this course is designed to introduce our youngsters to unique ways to express themselves creatively, explore character creation and storytelling. The course ends in a short presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here
Through fun-filled play, storytelling, movement, music, and games, this class will give children a vibrant introduction to drama. By creating characters and stories, the course ends in a short presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here
In this introductory acting course, young actors will learn to use their voices, bodies and imaginations to learn to creatively express themselves by communicating thoughts, emotions and storytelling. By improvising, puppetry, music, creating characters, writing and exploring texts, the course ends in a short original presentation for family and friends. Sign Up Here
The classes will be at Artscape and cost $120 per child. Prospective students with low incomes can apply for scholarships and subsidies provided by SIA.
The city is recommending against speed humps on Queens Drive. The issue will be discussed at the next meeting of the Etobicoke York Community Council on September 16.
Staff looked at installing humps between Elm and Rosemount. They found that cars didn’t travel particularly fast on the street, and less than 15% of cars were going faster than 43 km/h. There was also too little traffic to warrant the installation.
If the community council overrules city staff, residents will be surveyed. More than half of residents must respond, and 60% must be in favour for staff to recommend the installation.