Leaders of the New Democratic Party (NDP) have renewed their call for federal officials to suspend rent and mortgage payments due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, critic for housing Jenny Kwan, and critic for finance Peter Julian said that the federal government must “do much more to help people facing this crisis.”
“People face uncertainty and are looking to the federal government to provide help and guidance during this very difficult time,” the NDP said in the letter. “Canadians are very worried, and they have been seeking the federal government’s help during this period of uncertainty.”
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While acknowledging that last week’s passage of an economic stimulus bill and the announcement of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefits were good “first steps,” the NDP said that the benefits may not reach everyone who most needs help.
“Renters landlords, and homeowners urgently need our help,” the NDP said. “The federal government must act immediately, before April, to suspend rent, utility bills and mortgage payments and impose a moratorium on evictions across the country.”
The party also called on the federal government to mandate banks to waive interest fees and charges on credit cards, bank loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for at least the next two payments cycles.
“The federal government possesses numerous policy tools to enact this urgent policy,” they said. “Let’s put in place effective solutions to ensure that no one is left behind in these extraordinary times.”