Ontario Premier Doug Ford warned commercial landlords his government could take action if they fail to give small businesses a rent break during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada’s national and provincial governments created a program that would see some businesses pay 25 per cent of their usual rent because of lost revenue. The plan requires landlords to reduce rent by 25 per cent, and governments would then pay the remaining 50 per cent.

It’s not clear how many landlords will sign on to the plan, as it hasn’t opened for applications yet. Ford suggested his government would act against landlords that won’t assist tenants, without giving details.

“A message to all these landlords: Don’t force my hand,” Ford said Tuesday during a news conference. “Work things out, because I’m trying to compromise here. We’re giving you 75 per cent of what you’re asking for.”

Ford said commercial property owners have “an obligation” to help small businesses and that he would “come down on” those who won’t.

“Nothing drives me more crazy than greedy landlords taking advantage of people and small business owners that are just trying to keep their head above water,” Ford said.