Stop the Rip-Offs! Toronto ACORN Calls For 5% Cap on Remittance Fees

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2011) -

WHAT: Media event calling on Provincial Governments to regulate remittances fees at or below the World Bank's recommended level of 5% of money transferred.
WHEN: Thursday November 10th, 1:00PM
WHERE: Money Mart (Western Union) at 241 Yonge St, north of Queen St.

Members of Toronto ACORN will be rallying at 241 Yonge Street in front of the Money Mart, to protest the high cost of remittance fees charged through Western Union.

"We often have no other choice," says Toronto ACORN member Ahmed Makhlouf. "Western Union is more convenient and faster than banks, especially when it is an urgent situation." Makhlouf believes the transfer fees charged are too high. "It's big money, a big fight."

These fees, running between 10%-20% in some cases, prey on the already vulnerable populations of low income families, new Canadians and those simply supporting loved ones living abroad.

Toronto ACORN is calling on Western Union to lower the fees - and for the Provincial Government to step in and regulate this industry. We see charges and fees on top of the World Bank's 5% fee recommendation as predatory, and as a result, are holding the provincial government accountable for this gouging of Ontario families and families in the developing world.

Quick Facts on Remittances

  • The difference between what is paid in fees currently in Canada, and the amount that would be paid under the World Banks suggested fee structure is nearly $500 million per year.
  • The World Bank estimates that more than $400 Billion (USD) is remitted annually, with 75% of this amount going from developed to developing countries.
  • The World Bank estimates that the fees associated with this are $44.4 billion globally.

In 2010 BMO CEO Bill Downe earned C$9.5m, Scotiabank CEO Rich Waugh earned $10.7m and Western Union CEO Christina Gold earned $8.1m - in stark contrast, the average income in countries like Kenya and the Philippines where a large percentage of remittances are transferred is CAN$400 - $2000 per year.

Toronto ACORN is the local affiliate of ACORN Canada, an independent national organization of low and moderate income families. With 35,000+ members organized into 20 neighbourhood chapters in 6 cities across Canada we've been organizing to win a Canada where low and moderate income families have their voices heard and their power felt since 2004.

Contact Information:

Press Contact:
ACORN Canada
Tatiana Jaunzems, Community Organizer
Cell: 416-450-0341
Office: 416-416-9233