October 7th, 2015 Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released his recommendations to the government on strengthening payday loan regulations in Alberta.
“Alberta’s current payday loan fee cap of $23 per $100 borrowed … translates into an annualized interest rate of 600 per cent,” wrote Swann.
Swann’s letter to Service Alberta Minister Deron Bilous recommends establishing an annual interest rate cap of 35 per cent, noting this will discourage payday loan operators. Swann expressed his support for a pilot project between First Calgary Financial and Momentum Community Economic Development, which is offering a 12 per cent annualized interest rate short term loan to borrowers and suggests that the government consider getting ATB Financial to fill the resulting void in short term lending opportunities.
Failing this approach Swann recommends tougher restrictions on fees and interest rates.
Swann also recommended a centralized payday loan tracking system that could allow more tailored services to borrowers, requiring lenders to post fees and annualized interest rates, and allowing borrowers to pay back loans in installments.
“Whatever measures the Alberta government chooses, we must remember that it is our responsibility as legislators to protect and help our most vulnerable populations,” concluded Swann.
For nearly 100 years we have been drilling holes through our groundwater in search of our rich oil and gas deposits, with regulatory standards improving over the decades, first under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Conservation Board, then the Energy Resources Conservation Board, then the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, and finally the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).
In the past, complaints by landowners of groundwater contamination have been routinely negotiated between the landowner and the drilling company, generally leading to a new water well being drilled and no conclusion found as to whether contaminations were natural or industry caused.