Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford has written to the Bank of Canada (BoC), echoing B.C. Premier David Eby’s call to stop raising interest rates.
“Ontario families and businesses are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford the crushing costs brought about by repeated interest rate hikes,” Mr. Ford posted on social media on Sept. 4.
Mr. Ford’s letter to Governor Tiff Macklem states he shares the views already expressed by Premier Eby, that over the last 18 months, Canadians have “suffered ten interest rate hikes.” He said these hikes have had a “devastating impact on people who are already struggling to get by.”
The BoC is scheduled to make the next decision about interest rates on Sept. 6. Rates have been raised 10 times since March 2022, and the current interest rate is sitting at its highest level in 22 years, at 5 percent.
Mr. Ford said families are paying thousands of dollars more per month to cover their mortgage payments, and some Canadians have seen their payments double or triple.
According to the Ontario premier, young people, newcomers to Canada, and first-time home buyers find it “impossible” to “have any place to call home.”
Mr. Ford said the latest monthly figures from Statistics Canada place inflation on mortgage costs for Ontario families at 30 percent, which he attributed directly to interest rate hikes.
“Canada’s major banks expect a spike in defaults on loans and mortgages directly resulting from these rate hikes.” Mr. Ford said people in Ontario have told him they are having to “choose between paying their mortgage and putting food on their family’s table.”
The premier has called on Ottawa to work with provinces and territories to invest in and build critical infrastructure projects to create more jobs and reduce the cost of everyday essentials. Mr. Ford said he is joining with Mr. Eby to call on the Bank of Canada to not raise interest rates any further.
B.C.’s premier, in a letter on Aug. 31, called on the BoC to stop further interest rate hikes as a means to deal with inflation. Mr. Eby’s letter told the bank’s governor that it was time to consider the “human impact” of rate hikes.
“People in B.C. are hurting,” said Mr. Eby. “While the role of the Bank of Canada is to make decisions about monetary policy, my role as premier is to stand up for people in B.C. and ensure their voices are heard as decisions are made that impact them.”
He said another rate increase in September would only lead to higher mortgage rates again, “directly causing further inflation.”
Sean Gordon, a BoC media relations consultant, said the bank would not be commenting on the letter from Mr. Eby “as we are currently in the blackout period ahead of our next interest rate decision.”
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.