The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) said homeowners and landlords who are struggling with their finances will be the priority of banks and lenders amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a TV interview with BNN Bloomberg, CMHC CEO Evan Siddall said borrowers who need help should be eligible for the relief being offered by lenders and banks.
"If you can tell your bank the reasons why you need help, it's as simple as that, you will get help. What we don't need right now are people who are going to be okay jamming up phone lines to banks because they're crowding other people that are in true need," he said.
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Several mortgage lenders in Canada have already put in place measures, such as repayment deferral for up to six months, to support their affected clients.
"We have to implement a program that people can take comfort in. People who should not apply are obviously people who can pay their bills — whether it's rent, mortgages, their utility bills — to do that because our economy needs your help right now," Siddall said.
Siddall said it is also crucial to help landlords amid the outbreak to prevent evictions.
"A number of provinces have enacted eviction prohibitions — it's going to be hard to evict anybody right now," he said. "But we're giving support to all the multi-unit insurance clients at CMHC, and that's a huge amount of the marketplace — people who have constructed or bought multi-unit buildings and have tenants, we're extending the same or similar support to them in return for a no-evictions agreement."