MONTREAL -- A tenants movement asking for the cancellation of rents and mortgage payments is gaining momentum as Apr. 1 approaches, but owners reply that those who are forwarding this idea are “dreaming.”

Hans Brouillette, of the Quebec Landlords Corporation (CORPIQ), says that to think that the accumulation of unpaid sums will disappear by magic is “wishful thinking.”

Both the premier of Quebec, Francois Legault, and the mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante, asked landlords to be flexible to allow tenants to pay their rent late.

Those eligible for the Canadian emergency benefit will be able to register the week of April 6, but the first payments will not be made until mid-April, at the soonest.

Two petitions - one Canadian, one Quebecois - asking for the outright cancellation of rents and payments for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic have already collected nearly hundreds of thousands of signatures across the country.

In Quebec, the White Sheets campaign appeared recently. The population is invited to display a white sheet on the front of their home in solidarity with the most vulnerable people during the crisis.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 30, 2020.