COVID-19 has further exposed the precarious nature of housing for people in New Brunswick, across Canada and the world. Big business, small business and homeowners have received federal government relief, but what about tenants? The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for people made unemployed due to COVID-19 is not enough to cover the rent of many people.
The Canada Research Chair in Global and International Studies at St. Thomas University and the NB Media Co-op organized the panel, Housing in the Time of Coronavirus, on June 17, to discuss what can New Brunswick, a province considered to have the worst tenant rights of any Canadian province do to counter the powerful landlord lobby that threatens to make more people homeless? Although the New Brunswick government had imposed a moratorium on evictions for people who could not pay their rent because of COVID-19, Premier Blaine Higgs lifted that moratorium at the end of May.
Speaking on the panel were Aditya Rao and Asaf Rashid. Rao, a lawyer, renter and new tenant in Fredericton, focused on how the legislative framework needs to change in New Brunswick to protect tenants rights. Rashid, a lawyer and long-time community and union organizer, discussed advancing a right to housing under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Watch the panel here –
The panel is part of a series of research-guided discussions of public issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic. These panel discussions provide critical insights to guide activism and public policy towards solutions for problems we believe were created by faulty institutions and thinking, which currently dominate public life.