New municipal regulations on Ottawa’s payday loan establishments impose additional restrictions on operators looking to open in communities such as Vanier, but are unlikely to have an immediate impact on the number of existing shops across the city.
City officials say the new rules – which were passed by city council in late September – are aimed at limiting the growth of new payday loan establishments and reducing the “clustering” of these shops in areas such as the Montreal Road corridor.
Specifically, the regulations introduce minimum separation distances between shops by requiring new payday loan establishments to be at least one kilometre from each other. Additionally, no payday loan shop will be allowed to operate within 300 metres of a school or 500 metres of a casino or racetrack.
Other changes regulate the type of premises that payday loan shops are allowed to operate from. Generally speaking, these businesses will only be allowed to be located in commercial buildings with non-residential uses.
In many cases, however, the new rules will only take effect as payday loan shops close down and are replaced by other types of businesses.
Existing establishments will be grandfathered and not subject to the new rules. Furthermore, if a shop closes down and is immediately replaced by another payday loan business, the new shop can operate under the old rules.
In the short term, all new and existing payday loan establishments will be required to obtain a municipal license.
There are currently 54 provincially licensed payday loan establishments in Ottawa, down from 59 shops in 2016. Rideau-Vanier is home to nine of these shops, including five on Montreal Road alone, according to the city.
The new citywide rules comes on the heels of another council decision affecting payday loan shops in Vanier.
The Montreal Road Community Improvement Plan, adopted by council in May, specifically lists payday loan establishments – among other businesses – as being ineligible for grants to locate along the road.