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Campaign Calls for Waiving All Rent and Mortgage Payments During COVID-19 Pandemic

by White Sheets for the Rent Strike

Campaign Calls for Waiving All Rent and Mortgage Payments During COVID-19 Pandemic
[Press release received March 26, 2020]
 
The White Sheets for the Rent Strike, made up of concerned citizens, is calling on the government to waive, by decree, all rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the State of Health Emergency. By guaranteeing housing security for all, this cancellation will contribute to the proper and continued observance of the Public Health instructions promulgated by the government.
 
Although necessary, the drastic measures relating to the State of Health Emergency are having a devastating impact on our sources of income:
 
  • Already, under normal circumstances, 46% - or 1.6 million households - of Canadians have sufficient savings for less than a month (Source: "The Rent is Due Soon", report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).
  • According to the same source, 24% of them have no savings to live for more than a week without pay.
  • We are faced with an unprecedented situation, where an alarming 78% of Canadian households already have or soon will lose income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. (Source: Angus Reid poll).
  • One thing is clear: on April 1st, many of us will be unable to pay our rents and mortgages.
 
Indeed, according to Patricia Viannay, community organizer who supports the cause, "the strike already seems inevitable for those who will not be able to pay their rent as early as next week." 
 
"We therefore invite anyone who feels concerned by this call to display a white sheet in front of their home to signify: 1) the urgent need for rents and mortgages to be cancelled (not deferred), and 2) their solidarity with those hardest hit by this crisis." - The White Sheets for the Rent Strike
 
As of March 25, nearly 650,000 people from across Canada had signed the petition on change.org for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments during COVID-19. We are taking part in disseminating this call, which we have heard emanating from so many communities simultaneously so that, as of April 1st, people will go on a rent strike in order to be exempted from their rent and mortgage obligations. This pressure tactic is being used to obtain measures from the government that will allow those most affected by the crisis to ensure their basic needs while respecting health measures.
 
We therefore not only invite landlords to be conciliatory with their tenants, but also to show solidarity in a struggle that also includes them, by adopting the symbol of the white sheet. Indeed, while the banks have announced mortgage deferrals for landlords for up to 6 months, we now learn that this process is difficult to access and that the banks will continue to charge interest on these deferred payments. For this reason, we are now asking that all mortgage payments (including interest) be suspended for the duration of the State of Health Emergency.
 
Premier François Legault urged landlords to be "understanding" towards their tenants. While everyone is under economic pressure, understanding will not be enough. Tenants and landlords expect concrete actions from their government. The Prime Minister has shown that when the circumstances require it, he can act swiftly. Exceptional situations call for exceptional measures. This is what we ask of him now.
 
Solidarity and mutual aid remain the people's best protection against the pandemic.
 
Together through the crisis, let us take care of our communities.
 
-30-
 
Contact Information:
  • For interview requests and further information: grevedesloyers [at] riseup [dot] net
  •  
References : 

 


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