Grande Prairie city council is putting pressure on the province to better support landlords and tenants. It has directed Mayor Bill Given to write a letter to Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish and other relevant MLAs advocating for immediate resources to be provided to them to prevent evictions due to loss of income caused by COVID-19.

“To dedicate enough resources to enable landlords and renters to have some discussions that they’re going to need to over the next little while,” explains Given.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has so far resisted calls for a ban on evictions, maintaining landlords need to have a way to deal with bad tenants. Given says he understands it is a complex issue, and notes council wants to make sure it can be addressed appropriately.

“We appreciate that the very fluid situation will necessitate dialogue and discussion between property owners, landlords, and renters and we want to encourage the provincial government to make sure they have enough resources available to support those parties in having those kinds of discussions.”

NDP leader Rachel Notley is one of the voices pushing for a ban on evictions. On Tuesday, she argued Albertans need legislated protection from being evicted if they can’t pay their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The premier doesn’t get it. This isn’t about who is a bad landlord or who is a bad tenant. This is about making sure not a single person is asked to vacate their homes while people are being asked to stay home and self-isolate.”

Kenney has also called on landlords to be flexible with their tenants, and notes emergency payments from both the provincial and federal government should help them make rent.