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FMTA states the pandemic is causing ‘significant financial hardship,’ which affects Ontarians’ ability to pay
The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), an organization that advocates for better rights for tenants principally in Toronto, has created an online petition to stop rent payments on April 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FMTA calls on Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, as well as Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing, to enact legislation waiving the payment of rent on April 1 for all residential tenants in Ontario.
“Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, people across the province of Ontario are facing layoffs, work closures, and public health directives to stay home and self-isolate or practice social distancing,” the FMTA wrote on its website.
“This is causing significant financial hardship for working families across the province.”
Last week, the federal government declared measures to defer the payment of mortgages for homeowners, as well as an earmarked $27 billion to directly support Canadians with rent and grocery bills.
The FMTA said renters need an approach similar to mortgage payment deferrals to help them.
“The province of Ontario has taken important steps by banning evictions and enacting legislation to protect the jobs of workers who need to stay home because of COVID-19. But it is not enough,” the FMTA noted.
“For most people, not working means not earning sufficient income needed to pay for the necessities of life.”
Layoffs have hit several Canadian industries in the past days, with even more anticipated in the near future.
According to 2016 Statistics Canada research, almost 3.4 million households in Canada that rent earn income through employment or self-employment.
A recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that 46 per cent of renting Canadians, or 1.6 million households, have savings to last them a month or less.
Ford’s government has stated no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Tuesday morning, FMTA’s petition currently 9,540 signatures, less than 500 shy of its 10,000-signature target.