“Lee” is pictured at the window of her west Toronto apartment on Thursday March 19, 2020. “Lee” who has been a tenant at ‘Shoreview’ on Toronto’s King Street west for 8 1/2 years is amongst tenants who say their landlord, Golden Equity Properties, has continued to issue eviction notices this week amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has shut off their water without warning on multiple occasions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Nearly 1,000 B.C. tenants ‘personally at risk’ of eviction due to COVID-19: tenants union

Petition calls on province to ban evictions amid COVID-19 crisis

A tenants union is calling on the B.C. government to stop all evictions amid COVID-19.

The petition, started by the Vancouver Tenants Union, has been signed by more than 950 people as of Sunday afternoon. All signatories are British Columbians who said they are “personally at risk” of being evicted come April 1.

The ask comes days after Ottawa announced that banks would offer six-month mortgage deferrals to homeowners who could not pay due to COVID-19. However, no such deferral has yet been announced for renters by either the federal or B.C. government.

Although there is help, in the form of EI or the Emergency Care Package, for people laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the aid is unlikely to come in time for April 1, when rent is due. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week that 500,000 people had already applied for EI following COVID-19 related layoffs.

So far, the province has announced a ban on evictions for non-payment of rent only in BC Housing-funded buildings. Housing Minister Selina Robinson said Saturday that help was on the way, but did not offer any specifics.

“No one should lose their home as a result of this pandemic,” Robinson said.

On Sunday, the province said Premier John Horgan Finance Minister Carole James would be announcing their government’s “COVID-19 relief plan for people and businesses.”

READ MORE: Not time for state of emergency, Trudeau says, but Parliament asked to pass COVID-19 aid

READ MORE: Help on way for renters amid COVID-19, B.C.’s housing minister says


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