Ontario Payday Loan Legislation

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Ontario Payday Loan Legislation

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Ontario was the second province to complete the regulatory process laid out under CC 347.1, with its laws taking effect (December 15, 2009) only 44 days after British Columbia's. Because of this, as well as the large population of Ontario providing a great deal of data on how the laws have impacted the industry, the other provinces who chose (or chose not to) regulate have cited its laws heavily when designing their own regulations.

There are two primary acts passed regarding payday loans: the Payday Loans Act, 2008 and the Ontario Regulations 98/09.  The first lays out the structure of the regulatory system, puts forth a number of consumer protection rules for cost of credit disclosure, and grants the authority to the Ministry of Consumer Services to set limits on fees and other aspects of payday loans.

In June, 2008, the Ontario Legislature enacted new legislation to:

  • Create a licensing regime for payday lenders and payday loan brokers
  • Require lenders to include in the total cost of borrowing all amounts the borrower is required to pay as a condition of entering into a payday loan agreement
  • Prohibit certain industry practices, including 'rollover' loans
  • Establish the Ontario Payday Lending Education Fund, made up of mandatory financial contributions from the industry, to promote understanding of the Payday Loans Act, 2008 and general financial planning
  • Allow borrowers to cancel agreements during a cooling-off period
  • Recommendation of a fee of $21 per $100 loan

On January 1st 2017, the Putting Consumers First Act came into effect with the following changes:

  • The fee for a payday loan was lowered from $21 per $100 borrowed to $18 per $100 borrowed

On January 1st 2018, the fee was lowered from $18 per $100 borrowed to $15 per $100 borrowed

On July 1st 2018, further changes came into effect:

  • Lenders cannot lend people more than 50 per cent of their net income per loan.
  • Lenders must show the cost of borrowing a payday loan as an annual percentage rate.
  • Lenders will also have to give customers the option of an extended payment plan without penalties.

Effective August 20, 2020, the Government of Ontario’s amendments to the Payday Loans Act, 2008 will help individuals facing financial hardship by establishing:

  • maximum interest rate of 2.5% per month (non-compounding) that lenders can charge on the outstanding principal of a payday loan in default, providing  relief to borrowers who are unable to repay their loans on time
  • maximum $25 that may be charged for dishonoured (“bounced”) cheques or pre-authorized debits. (This fee may only be charged once, regardless of the number of times a payment instrument is dishonoured.)

Enforcement of the legislation is carried out by Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.  The ministry administrates all payday licensing throughout the province, and has several inspectors who perform on and off site audits on a roughly annual basis.

Besides the provincial regulations, all payday lenders in Canada are subject to federal legislation per section 347.1 of the Criminal Code.

References for payday loans in Ontario: