Saskatchewan NDP calls for extension of province’s eviction moratorium

The provincial government plans to begin evictions and eviction hearings for non-emergent issues next week by lifting the moratorium on non-urgent evictions.

On Monday, Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili called on the government to extend the eviction moratorium originally set on March 26 until at least the end August 31. This comes as Saskatchewan deals with a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

Meili said this could be a recipe for disaster if the government intends to move forward with their decision.

“Use the intervening time to come up with a plan,” suggested Meili. “Meet with landlords, meet with renters and come up with a system where they can support people, make sure people can stay in their homes and cover their rent.”

There were 79 new cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan over the weekend and a doubling of the active case count.

While many of the new cases have emerged from rural communities and Hutterite colonies in southwest and west central Saskatchewan, Meili said this affects both urban centres and rural areas since people are travelling back and forth within the province.

“As the numbers rise in one part of the province, we expect to see them spread to others,” added Meili. “That will happen less if people are able to have a safe place to stay. But if this gets into our homeless and at-risk populations, it’s going to spread quickly.”

He also hopes the government can bring together landlords and rental advocates to arrive at a proper process and potential subsidy for landlords who have lost significant revenue due to missed payments and to prevent abuse of the eviction moratorium.

The NDP noted in a release on Tuesday that Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan announced on July 7 that it’s appropriate to lift the moratorium on non-urgent evictions thanks to “the success of flattening the curve in Saskatchewan.”

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