VIDEO: Convenience Stores Cry Foul

Convenience store owners across Windsor-Essex are hoping to get some relief from exorbitant credit and debit card fees.

Their concern is that Canada has done little to restrict the rates big banks charge for card use, unlike in many other jurisdictions.

They met with Windsor West MP Brian Masse, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle and NDP Finance Critic Peter Julian.

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NDP Finance Critic Peter Julian, Fogolar Furlan Club, November 30, 2018 (by Selina McCallum)

Julian says the direction for the federal government is very simple.

"Cap merchant fees, actually take action like Australia has, like the European Union has, they've capped merchant fees so they've not allowed the big banks and the credit card companies to gouge unfairly small businesses," he said.

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Ontario Convenience Store Association Director Terry Yaldo, Fogolar Furlan Club, November 30, 2018 (by Selina McCallum)

Terry Yaldo is a Director of the Ontario Convenience Store Association and says their card costs make selling many items unprofitable.

"Our rates are ridiculous, 10 times more  than some places like the EU where they're .3% or in Australia where they're .5%," Yaldo said. "In Australia they review those rates yearly.  Over here we're paying anywhere from 2 to 5%, depending on the card and sometimes we don't know what we're getting charged."

Along with card rates, Masse says they also heard about a number of other concerns.

"Not only just some of the things we proposed for lowering merchant fees, bank fees and interac fees but also their challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.  But also the opportunity because they're on the front line for a lot of the issues they face in our neighbourhoods," he said.

Among the other issues raised was allowing beer and wine to be sold in corner stores.

Convenience stores employ about 78,000 people in Ontario.