Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
An increasing number of labour unions has joined Canadians calling for an immediate freeze of rent and mortgage payments until the COVID-19 pandemic is over. United Steelworkers, one of the largest private sector unions in Canada, has joined the British Columbia Government and Service Employees; Union, in calling the government for increasing protection and support for workers.
“As federal and provincial governments in Canada take actions to limit the spread of the virus, we must ensure workers are supported and protected,” said Ken Neumann, national director of USW. “Measures announced so far by governments are not enough. Time away from work to stop the spread of the virus should not mean loss of income, regardless of job or workplace. Unpaid job-protected leave doesn’t pay the bills.”
A Change.org petition, already signed by 370,700 people as of press, is calling on Ottawa to cancel rent and mortgage payments “for the duration of the Covid-19 virus pandemic” to relieve financial pressure and allow citizens to stay home from work.
Meanwhile, Canada six’s largest banks have announced they will be allowing the deferral of mortgage payments for up to six months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bank of Montreal, CIBC, TD Canada, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank and Scotiabank say their plans will help those effected by the financial consequences of COVID-19. There will also be an opportunity for relief on credit products. In a joint press release, the big six banks said they are committed to working with retail and business customers on a case-by-case basis to provide “flexible solutions” for those facing hardship due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.