Mortgage relief urged for affected Canadians

The British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) is urging the federal and provincial governments to suspend all mortgage and rent repayments of Canadians affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

BCGEU President Stephanie Smith said this coincides with the union's call to end doctors' notes and to provide paid sick leave and a host of other worker-focused measures.

"The federal and provincial governments could support our message by suspending mortgage and rent payments during the COVID-19 pandemic to make sure working people can afford to do the right thing," she said in a statement.

Smith said that as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak worsens, more Canadians who are living paycheque to paycheque will likely struggle to make mortgage and rent repayments.

"Our federal and provincial governments have an opportunity right now to mitigate one of the major economic pressures that force people to choose to keep working even if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or are symptomatic," Smith said.

In a tweet, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said it is currently in talks with lenders about potential solutions to the problem.

"Nobody should have to worry about their #mortgage because of impacts of #COVID-19. We're working with lenders to help, increasing our flexibilities to allow payment deferral of up to 6 months starting now," the CMHC said.

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