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Posts Tagged "bank"

12Sep

TD Bank refuses to refund art student $600 in fraudulent cheques | CBC News

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A Vancouver man is frustrated TD Canada Trust will not reimburse him for $600 in fraudulent cheques that were cashed on his bank account this summer.

Preston Buffalo, a student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, says he misplaced his chequebook but isn’t sure exactly when or how.

The bank says Preston Buffalo didn’t exercise due diligence in protecting his cheque book and said it won’t refund the money.

Buffalo discovered the theft in late July when he returned from a visit with family in Edmonton. 

He said six cheques, each for $100, and none of them written by Buffalo, were cashed between July 15 and July 27.

The transactions wiped out his savings account.

“In Vancouver, $600 is the difference between being homeless, or not, in a month. It’s that tight,” said Buffalo, 39.

Buffalo lives on disability payments and is a mature student Emily Carr. His First Nation in Alberta pays his tuition. 

Two of six fraudulent cheques different signatures. (Submitted by Preston Buffalo)

 

Buffalo immediately reported the discrepancy in his account to the downtown Vancouver branch of TD Canada Trust. 

He says he and bank staff compared his signature cards on-file to signatures on the half dozen cheques. 

“It was nothing like how I sign my name,” said Buffalo. 

He says bank staff told him “clearly, this is not your signature.”

The bank indicated the cheques had been deposited through an ATM. Buffalo understood that after the bank reviewed surveillance video, the footage would confirm that he was not the culprit depositing the cheques and he would get his money back.

‘No due diligence’ says TD

TD’s fraud division, however, had a different opinion. 

After interviewing Buffalo and reviewing his case, it determined he didn’t exercise “due diligence” in protecting his cheque book.

He was told his money would not be returned. 

In June, Buffalo had moved from one Vancouver apartment to another. 

TD Canada Trust has Preston Buffalo’s appeal under review but has given no timeline as to when there may be a resolution. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

He was about to pay his July rent at the new place when he realized he couldn’t find his cheque book. 

Buffalo simply assumed it was in one of his unpacked boxes and he would look for it when he got back from his Alberta visit.

In the meantime, he paid his rent with a bank draft and went on vacation. 

Buffalo doesn’t know what happened to his cheque book. He isn’t sure if he left it at his old apartment or if he mistakenly threw it out, but somehow it fell into the wrong hands.   

Buffalo is appealing TD’s ruling. 

TD: ‘matter still active’  

In an email, Ryan Sang Lee, TD Canada Trust’s manager of corporate and public affairs, said the matter is still active and the bank won’t provide an official statement until “the process plays out.” In a subsequent email, Sang said the bank is working with the customer to resolve the issue.

Lawyer Priyan Samarakoone, says there’s no excuse for financial institutions to not verify all cheques no matter their amount. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

 

‘No excuse’ 

Meanwhile, a civil litigation lawyer says the bank could have prevented the fraud.  

Priyan Samarakoone said most financial institutions only verify signatures on cheques deposited at automated teller machines over a certain value, and ones with lower amounts just pass through. 

“The pressure needs to be on the big institutions to verify every single cheque that comes through,” said Samarakoone. 

“There’s no excuse for banks to not verify all cheques.”

Verifying every cheque, he says, would protect consumers and banks. 

One of the biggest issues for banks, he says, are people who wrongly claim they’ve been defrauded in an attempt to scam the bank.  

Police investigation 

Buffalo has reported the incident to Vancouver police. He wants whoever took his money to be stopped — and feels the bank is not interested in doing the same. 

“It seems easy for them to be — ‘Nope, it was your fault. Stamp. Done. You’re not getting your money,'” said Buffalo. 

Buffalo said before his money disappeared it was the first time in years that he felt he had his head above water. 

Now, he’s struggling again. 

With files from Paisley Woodward

30Jul

How being trans can make food bank access a challenge | CBC News

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Matthew Vieira, 39, was given the name Margaret when he was born, but he’s been out as transgender and male since he was nine years old.

About a year ago, Vieira was homeless. Now he has an apartment in Delta, but he’s on disability assistance and has been relying on support from the food bank for the past three months.

Vieira has run into barriers when trying to get help at some food banks. For one, his driver’s licence has his old, or “dead” name, which can cause confusion for some — he doesn’t have the funds to get a legal name change. Then there are the moral hang-ups some people still have about transgender people.

“I’ve been refused at some food banks. A couple of the food banks I’ve gone to have been very Christian or Catholic-orientated, and they don’t deal with trans very well, so I’ve been refused,” he said. “It’s very hard when you need help and to get refused.”

Matthew Vieira’s driver’s licence bears a different name than his Care Card, Margaret Anne Vieira, causing confusion and questions whenever someone demands to see his ID. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Those worries disappear when Vieira makes the trip twice a month to East Vancouver’s Saige Community Food Bank.

“Everybody’s welcome,” he said.

Anyone setting foot in the Kiwassa Neighbourhood house on the second and fourth Friday of each month will instantly know there’s something different about the food bank. It’s immediately clear that it’s a safe space for people in the LGBT community.

Different colourful flags representing bisexual, transgender, non-binary and two-spirited communities adorn the room, along with the traditional LGBT rainbow flag.

Volunteers Yuen Cao and Yue Tao Lo help prepare the food on an array of tables before guests arrive to receive fresh produce and other food. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Most of the volunteers wear name tags that include their preferred pronoun, including he/him, she/her, or them/their.

“It’s pretty cool. We’re very unique that way — we’re like a family,” said Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of the food bank.

According to Kuhn, between 150 and 200 people will visit the food bank each month, along with others who get prepared bags of fresh produce and food. She said that about half the guests are members of the LGBTQ community.

“They love coming here. They love coming to socialize,” said Kuhn. “They love coming to see us and to say hello.”

Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of Saige Community Food Bank, says the bi-monthly service is a safe place for everyone, with no ID checks or required proof of income. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Jess Chan, who identifies as non-binary (preferring the pronouns them/their), has been volunteering at Saige for a few years.

Chan considers themselves privileged, having the resources to get a legal name change and corresponding documents. And despite struggling to hold a job for about a year, Chan hasn’t experienced challenges with access to food or housing.

“I realized there’s a lot of people out there who don’t quite have the same level privilege that I have,” said Chan.

Jess Chan has volunteered at Saige for a few years, handling many of the specialty items like diapers and school supplies. They say the lack of barriers is what makes the food bank stand out from others. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

“I do have trans friends who have experienced homelessness in the past, or extreme poverty,” they said. “I know oftentimes it was because they were kicked out of their parents’ houses because their parents couldn’t accept them, and that’s very hard.”

According to Kuhn, the food bank started because she believes it’s important to provide people with healthy food in a dignified way, but elsewhere, that’s not what Vieira has encountered.

“There should be no boundaries anywhere. It’s not the 1800s anymore,” he said. “We’re all human. We all bleed the same blood, we all breathe the same air. No one is different.”


Do you have more to add to this story? Email [email protected]

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker




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10Jun

Renters facing eviction get support through rent bank funding to Vancity

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Renters facing short-term financial difficulties will soon get more help and avoid evictions with new funding for community rent banks.

Rent banks provide emergency low-cost or no-cost loans to help renters facing eviction. As part of Budget 2019, the Province granted $10 million to the Vancity Community Foundation (VCF), a non-profit foundation associated with Vancity credit union, to develop a sustainable, provincewide rent bank system. Vancity has been supporting rent banks in communities for over a decade and will consult with existing rent banks to develop a sustainable provincial program.

“Preventing homelessness by helping people avoid eviction is key and rent banks play an important role,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “The Province is contributing this funding to support a sustainable network of rent banks to help people in B.C., and I look forward to hearing about the consultation, and the plan that Vancity and the existing rent banks will have in place for the long term.”

VCF and Vancity are working with existing rent banks to better understand their operational needs, discuss best practices, identify service gaps and examine expanding the rent bank model to more communities throughout B.C.

Existing rent banks already have access to funding from the provincial grant to ensure their immediate needs are met and their work is sustainable. Following the consultation, funding will go toward expanding a B.C.-wide system so tenants experiencing short-term financial crisis can be supported, regardless of where they live.

“People with lived experience of these issues are guiding this work,” said Catherine Ludgate, senior manager of community investment, Vancity. “We are taking a consultative approach with the rent banks to assess how they can expand service across the province, so more people can access funds and avoid homelessness.” 

Rent banks support the goals of TogetherBC, the provincial poverty reduction strategy. Implementing a B.C.-wide rent bank system was a recommendation of B.C.’s Rental Housing Task Force, following consultations with landlords and tenants throughout the province.

The funding builds on other improvements government has made to support renters in B.C., including cutting the annual allowable rent increase, introducing stronger protection for tenants during renovations or demolitions and enhancing eligibility and benefits under the Rental Assistance Program for families with children and Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters.

“Housing security is a priority for the BC Green Party and the provincial government,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and a member of the Rental Housing Task Force. “Rent banks offer a level of security for renters and landlords that doesn’t currently exist, and alongside the task force recommendations, will help to create a stronger, more supportive rental market for British Columbians.”

Addressing poverty and homelessness is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quotes:

Spencer Chandra Herbert, chair of the Rental Housing Task Force and MLA for Vancouver-West End —

“We know how expensive, disruptive and stressful evictions can be for everyone. We need to be proactive if we’re going to reduce homelessness. Rent banks help keep people in their homes and get back on their feet, while ensuring the rent gets paid. That’s why I helped found Vancouver’s Rent Bank. They work.”

Allison Felker, interim executive director, VCF —

“We’re using our financial tools and expertise to build capacity for rent banks, ensuring they have the ability to meet the needs of our communities.”

Kellie Carroll, executive director, the Network of Inner City Community Services Society and the Vancouver Rent Bank —

“The staff at the Vancouver Rent Bank are pleased that the funds that the provincial government is providing will contribute to the long-term sustainability of rent banks in B.C.”

Melissa Giles, director of programs, Mennonite Central Committee and the Fraser Valley Rent Bank —

“Through the funding, the Province has made clear the important role of rent banks in helping at-risk people receive the critical support they need to remain housed and off the streets. Working together as a coalition, we are committed to see these funds used efficiently in the support of existing rent banks and the expansion of the program into new communities in B.C.”

Learn More:

TogetherBC, B.C.’s first poverty reduction strategy: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/poverty-reduction-strategy

Renting in B.C.: https://www.renters.gov.bc.ca 

BC Housing Rental Assistance Programs: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance


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26Feb

Certified gold: BC bank branches given Rick Hansen Foundation top certification

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Vancity clients and staff with disabilities will have greater access at the bank’s head office in Vancouver or the Burnaby Heights branch.

Today, both buildings were awarded gold accessibility certifications by the Rick Hansen Foundation – the first financial institution and the third company in B.C. to receive the rating.

The foundation’s namesake, Rick Hansen, was in Burnaby Heights to celebrate the milestone achievement.

“They’ve set a really high bar to become much more inclusive for everybody not just for their staff but for their customers and community,” Hansen told CTV News.

“It’s the new standard that we want to recognize and create across Canada and all across the world.” 

Hansen said that the country has come a long way in accessibility, and his foundation wants to turn a “made-in-BC global solution” into an industry standard worth praising.

“We’ll train industry professionals – they’ll have all the knowledge and tools, we’ll have an objective rating, and then we’ll reconigze people,” he said.

“We want innovation to keep going and think about their buildings and how they function for people who desperately need those barriers removed,” said Hansen.

Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman said when the company decided to rebuild their Burnaby Heights branch, it was done with more than sustainability or aesthetics in mind.

“For our staff and our community, if you can’t come in and see us, it’s very difficult to be part of our great organization,” she said.

Vrooman is also the current chair of the Rick Hansen Foundation board. The bank’s Burnaby Heights Community branch features:

  • Fully accessible Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that include grab bars, knee clearance for chair users, accessible buttons, and plugs for head phones;

  • Power doors in all entrances;

  • Contrasting colour flooring and walls for improved wayfinding;

  • A lowered teller counter with hearing assistance for employees and members; and

  • Accessible washrooms with inclusive signage

More than 1,100 buildings across the province have been registered for rating by the foundation.


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4Dec

Food bank director worried as grocery report predicts food price hike

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An annual survey about food prices predicts an up to 3.5 per cent price hike for groceries in the new year, leaving a B.C. Food Bank director concerned for what that could mean for her organization. 

Canada’s 2019 Food Price Report, an independent analysis produced by university researchers, says, on average, food prices could go up by 3.5 per cent in 2019. The annual food expenditure for the average Canadian family of four is expected to increase by $411 in 2019.

Laura Lansink, the executive director at Food Banks B.C., says the potential price hike is worrisome.

“It can have a devastating effect,” Lansink said.

She says 100,000 British Columbians use a food bank every month, and nearly one in three visitors to the food bank is a child.

People are at the food bank because they simply don’t have enough income to purchase food, she said. They don’t typically come in for a whole month’s worth of food, but rather three and five days of food to make it to their next paycheck. 

When food prices go up, Lansink said, it will affect all sorts of people who are in vulnerable financial situations like seniors, those with a disability, people working minimum wage jobs or those who have been sidelined by illness or injury. It could lead to even more people forced to use the food bank.

“I’m disturbed at what’s [in] this report as low income people will definitely be hardest hit,” she said.

Looking for solutions

Lansink said her organization is working on ways to make sure food is still available for those who need it. One way, she says, is combating the large amounts of food waste in the province. 

She says B.C. wastes $4 billion of perishable foods like fruits, vegetables and meats each year.

“What we’re trying to do in the food bank network is make sure that we partner with those grocery stores and receive those perishable foods and those fruits and vegetables to give out,” she said. 

Sometimes food that has a few nicks or is just not ‘pretty’ enough will not be put on grocery shelves. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Ultimately, however, there needs to be more systemic solutions. 

“We need a living wage. We need affordable child care. We need affordable housing,” Lansink said. 

“Fresh healthy food is absolutely vital, especially when you’re considering that one in three of those visitors is a child.”

Visit us on CBC’s Open House and Food Bank Day this Friday, Dec. 7.


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