moved for leave to introduce Bill C-361, an act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate).
Mr. Speaker, more than 1 million Canadians each year regularly use payday lenders and another 1.4 million use high interest rate lenders at a great cost to their families and to their standard of living. Once hidden charges are accounted for, the effective rates on those payday loans exceed 50% despite much lower interest rates in the mainstream financial sector.
Banks have abandoned the small loans business on the grounds that it is not profitable enough, so many of these individuals who take these loans have no alternative.
I am very pleased to table today this private member's bill with the objective to protect consumers and their families from abusive and usurious lending practices by amending section 347 of the Criminal Code to reduce the definition of criminal interest rates in half from 60% to 35% above the official Bank of Canada rate.
The bill would also broaden the definition of interest to include the calculation of hidden charges paid by a person to obtain insurance coverage.
The bill addresses an important issue that affects families in many parts of Canada and I hope that it will receive broad support from the House.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)