04/03/2020 10:03 EDT

Mortgage Deferrals Soar In Canada, Bankers Association Says

Half a million deferrals or skip-a-payment requests are in the works.

Elijah-Lovkoff via Getty Images
In this stock photo, the Bank of Nova Scotia building is seen at First Canadian Place in Toronto, July 26, 2018.

TORONTO ― The Canadian Bankers Association says the country’s six largest banks have allowed customers to defer payments on more than 10 per cent of the mortgages in their portfolios as borrowers affected by COVID-19 seek financial help.

The association says almost 500,000 requests for mortgage deferrals or to skip a payment have been completed or are in process.

Watch: Here’s who qualifies for Canada’s COVID-19 benefit. Story continues below.


Canadian banks announced a mortgage deferral program over two weeks ago in a move to help those hurt by the steps taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The six largest banks said they would allow customers to defer mortgage payments for up to six months among other changes.

More than two million Canadians applied for employment insurance in recent weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses shut their doors or scale back operations.

The federal government has responded with the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit as well as billions in new spending to help the economy and fight the virus.