By Moira Warburton and Denise Paglinawan
TORONTO (Reuters) – Landlords across Canada should brace for rent strikes in May unless the government steps in with rental subsidies for occupants as the outbreak of new coronavirus decimates wages, industry groups and tenants said on Monday.
Restrictions aimed at curbing the virus’ spread has hit the restaurant and retail industries hard, making rent payment a flashpoint expense for both employers and employees.
A rent strike is gathering steam in Ontario, the country’s most populous province. Keep Your Rent Toronto’s private Facebook (NASDAQ:) group accrued over 5,000 members in less than two weeks, and its organizers said their platform has been used to send over 100,000 letters to landlords in Toronto, stating that they would not be paying rent.
Renters make up 32% of households in Canada, according to the 2016 census, and many businesses rent their brick-and-mortar locations.