NDP brings motion to ban pay-to-pay bank fees to House of Commons

The official Opposition will introduce a motion on Monday calling for an end to bank practices like charging for paper bills

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 last year, 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 has attracted the most attention with changes that are to take effect on Monday.

They include a new charge for pre-authorized and non-scheduled credit card, loan and mortgage payments under certain circumstances.

The new fee applies to several different account types when customers exceed their allotted number of free debit transactions.

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