POLITICS

NDP Motion Calls For Abolishing 'Pay-To-Pay' Bank Fees

05/31/2015 02:38 EDT | Updated 05/31/2016 05:59 EDT
CP
OTTAWA - Flush from its success in getting rid of the tax on feminine hygiene products, the NDP wants the House of Commons to abolish so-called "pay-to-pay" fees charged by big banks.

The official Opposition will introduce a motion on Monday calling for an end to such practices as charging for paper bills and for the adoption of a financial code of conduct to protect consumers.

Andrew Cash, the NDP's consumer protection critic, is tabling the motion as part of his ongoing efforts to get rid of banking user fees.

It comes after a separate NDP motion was unanimously approved by the Commons last week to exempt feminine hygiene products from the GST.

That motion passed after women in the Conservative caucus threatened to boycott the vote if their party didn't approve.

The so-called tampon tax was seen as discriminatory towards women, but Cash says the fees charged by banks for paper bills are bad for all Canadians.

"These are just patently unfair fees," said Cash.

"We don't want hardworking Canadians to get their pockets picked on a regular basis by the banks."

Last year, the government blocked telecommunication and cable companies from charging fees for paper bills, but excluded banks from a similar ban.

Cash said he doesn't yet know whether Conservative or Liberal MPs will be supportive of his motion, which he said is to be debated on an opposition day in the Commons on Monday.

He said he believes grassroots Conservative supporters are as "ticked off" by the fees as any other group of Canadians.

In recent months, Canada's large banks have all moved to raise some of the fees they charge customers.

The Royal Bank attracted the most attention when it announced a plan to charge customers a fee to make credit card, loan and mortgage payments under certain circumstances.

However the bank reversed its decision to include those transactions in a customer's monthly limit of free debit transactions.

Royal Bank was widely criticized for the new charge that was part of a broader change to the fees it charges customers.

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