OTTAWA – Today, NDP Finance Critic Peter Julian and Industry Critic Brian Masse highlighted the NDP’s call to waive interest fees and charges on credit cards for at least the next two payments cycles.
While the COVID-19 crisis has forced millions of Canadians to miss out on work and wages, the federal government’s announced supports are still weeks away. To help prevent Canadians from falling even deeper in debt, New Democrats are calling on the federal government to put the needs of Canadian people ahead of credit card company profits.
“The government is making Canadians wait weeks for the roll-out of the support they promised. But, for many families, waiting weeks just isn’t an option” said Julian. “In fact, even before the pandemic, close to half of all Canadians were just a few hundred dollars away from insolvency. These families are probably already relying on credit cards and high-interest loans and will likely feel they have no choice but to turn to them even more now.”
“We’ve been asking for direct help for people across the country for weeks,” said Masse. “Canadians should not have to take on high-interest debt while they’re waiting for the government to finally get some support out the door.”
The Liberals have already accepted NDP proposals to cancel the collection of monthly payments for the Canada Student Loan Program without penalty or additional interest and to extend the tax filing and payment deadlines to CRA. That have also taken some steps toward extending income supports to all Canadian workers. The federal government needs to use its powers to ensure that banks and lending institutions waive interest costs. The government must make sure that Canadians’ credit ratings aren’t hurt by this pandemic.
“So far, the government has found ways to help corporations right away, but they are still making Canadians wait weeks,” said Masse. “Like putting off tax filing and not charging interest on student loans, waiving the interest on credit cards for two months, would immediately help Canadians get through until the federal programs kick in.”