Montréal, January 13, 2021 – 2021 is beginning much the same as 2020 ended in both economic and pandemic terms for Montrealers. Quebec is once again in isolation and a curfew obliges most shops to close by 7:30 p.m.
Faced with an ongoing pandemic and new restrictions being imposed, it’s expected that many homeowners will have difficulty paying their tax bills, including the first instalment due on March 1st. For this reason, Ensemble Montréal will be requesting at the next municipal council meeting that the city defer the first payment of residential and commercial property taxes to June 1 and the second instalment (due June 1) to September 1.
“Deferring tax payments is the thing to do if we want to reduce the major financial stress on Montreal residents and small merchants who have already been hard hit by the pandemic, and now by the curfew”, declared Mr. Lionel Perez, Leader of the Official Opposition.
After having asked for – and obtained – a deferral of the second property tax instalment payment for 2020, the Official Opposition is calling for the same in 2021, as current economic forecasts are far from reassuring.
“The unemployment rate in Montréal is currently 8.1%, compared to 5.9% in February 2020; two million Quebecers requested the CERB and 690,000 applicants have availed themselves of the CRB program. Beyond statistics, things are not looking good,” added Mr. Alan DeSousa, mayor of Saint-Laurent and Official Opposition spokesperson for finance.
It’s obvious that if the measure requested by Ensemble Montréal aims not only to help Montrealers retain their home during the crisis, it’s because merchants and business owners are also in a critical situation.
“Just because a store must close, that doesn’t mean its rent, insurance and electricity will magically become free”, added Chantal Rossi, city councillor for the Ovide-Clermont district.
“As Ensemble Montréal repeatedly insisted last year, the Plante-Dorais administration has finally understood that it was in its interest to help Montrealers by allowing them to breathe financially. Montréal is still the city most affected by the pandemic, and it’s only right that we continue to operate this way until such time as the crisis is over”, concluded Mr. Perez.
The motion will be debated at the municipal council session of January 25, 2021.