Brother can you spare a dime? Or perhaps a few billion of them? And by “you” we’re specifically looking to those who have been on the winning end of the economy during the boom times.
The past month has seen unprecedented change in a short space of time, with economic life as we know it shuddering to a halt. One thing that hasn’t let up in any discernable way, however, is the arrival of the bills, which – minus a regular paycheque – many will be forced to pay on credit.
Throughout the usual ups and downs of the economy, Canada’s banks have had a Teflon quality that has made them amazingly profitable ventures.
Since the COVID-19 crisis hit, many banks have been offering mortgage deferrals and reduced interest rates for limited periods of time for those who qualify. That’s a good first step, but unless the hardship hitting many people is far more short-lived than most are predicting, more help for both individuals and businesses will be needed.
The federal government also has a role to play in encouraging the banks to do the right thing.
Similarly, among landlords, it’s hardly the time to be playing hardball with tenants who’ve been forced to shutter through no fault of their own.
The more that can be forgiven and the more flexible the options for rent repayment, the better.
In the current crisis, everyone is feeling the financial hit. That pain has to be spread around, and not simply rolled downhill to those least able to bear it.
At the end of it, we’ll sink or swim not just on our own fortunes but on the plight of our neighbours as well.
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