November 13, 2012 10:16 ET
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 13, 2012) - Ontario ACORN (Ontario Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) members, alongside members of ACORN International around the world, have been working since 2009 to lower the costs of sending remittances. Millions of people across Canada routinely send money to family overseas. The fees charged are often between 10 and 20 percent of what is being sent.
This summer, ACORN surveyed 229 remittance users across Ontario. Most of them send less than $200 at a time. The people sending the least are paying the highest percentage in fees. 24% of users had no idea whether exchange fees were included in the prices advertised by remittance providers.
Not only do remittance users pay a lot, they often don't know how much they're paying because of complicated fee structures. There are often flat fees, plus a percentage of what's being sent, plus fees for exchanging currencies.
In May of this year, ACORN members joined MPP Jagmeet Singh at Queens Park for the introduction of a private members bill (Bill 98 - An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 with respect to money transfers) that would have capped the fees at 5% and brought transparency to the industry. That bill died when the Ontario legislature was prorogued this fall, but ACORN members are focused on building support for this important campaign.
Margarett Best - Minister of Consumer Services and MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood, where the release will take place, has been invited to attend the release of the report.
Globally more than $500 billion is sent every year by migrants to their families. This a big business and companies like Western Union and MoneyGram enjoy large profits by taking money off the top of transfers to the poorest people in the world. For more information on the industry and issue, see ACORN International's report "Past Time for Remittance Justice" available at http://bit.ly/remitreport.
For information or to speak to Ontario ACORN members,contact: ACORN CanadaJames Wardlaw905firstname.lastname@example.org
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