Free bank accounts for low-income seniors, youth

Finance Minister Joe Oliver is expected to announce the agreement between the government and big banks.



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OTTAWA – Finance Minister Joe Oliver is expected to announce he has secured agreement from Canada’s big banks on no-cost banking services for low-income seniors and other financially vulnerable Canadians.

The minister has scheduled an announcement at a senior’s centre in Ottawa for noon.

The announcement is expected to put flesh to the broad measure introduced in the February budget on cheap access to banking services.

The budget promised the government would work with financial institutions to expand no-cost banking services for youth, students and vulnerable groups.

The no-cost accounts are expected to potentially benefit about seven million low-income Canadians, including young people, and come into force next year.

Susan Eng of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons says measures to help vulnerable seniors avoid costly fees are welcome, as would be the elimination of charges for receiving credit card statements by mail.

Last year’s Throne Speech signalled that the government plans to announce a string of consumer-friendly policies, including rules limiting charges on pre-paid credit cards and measures to reduce the Canada-U.S. price gap on consumer items.

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