WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is putting a temporary freeze on rent increases and postponing non-urgent eviction hearings amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“Taking these steps will help reduce financial uncertainty and worry for Manitobans who face challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Premier Brian Pallister.
“Manitobans who have been laid off, are working less or are in self-isolation shouldn’t also have to worry about making rent payments and keeping a roof over their heads.”
The rent freeze increase takes effect on April 1 or later, while eviction hearings will be postponed until May 31.
Effective today, all scheduled Residential Tenancies Branch and Residential Tenancies Commission hearings will be delayed to protect Manitobans from evictions during the pandemic, with certain exceptions to deal with urgent issues that involve the health and safety of tenants.
Pallister said his plan is fair to both renters and landlords. He also said renters who have lost their jobs can draw on federal Employment Insurance.
“It is providing significant support to people at a time of need,” he said.
The province also announced Tuesday that it is temporarily suspending non-essential, routine diagnostic tests to protect health-care workers and patients from the spread of COVID-19.
“This includes laboratory blood tests, diagnostic imaging and cardiac services,” Lanette Siragusa, the province’s chief nursing officer said.
Affected patients will be contacted, she added.
“Urgent diagnostic testing … of course will continue with appropriate screening and cautions in place.”
Health officials revealed one new probable case of COVID-19, bringing the total of confirmed and presumptive cases in the province to 21.
— With files from The Canadian Press