Updated May 29 with new resources
Here are some provincial (British Columbia), local and Canadian (federal) initiatives for income support/assistance or deferral for payment of bills, etc. in response to COVID-19.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT (Province of BC)
Temporary Pandemic Pay for front line health, social services and corrections workers
Employees who fall in this sector who deliver front line, in person care during the COVID – 19 pandemic to people/clients who are considered vulnerable maybe eligible. Learn more.
B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
The province will provide a one-time, tax free $1,000 payment to people who lost income or whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19: B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance or the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are eligible. Apply online starting May 1, 2020 or telephone 1-855-955-3545.
BC Emergency Relief Support Fund for Children with Special Needs
Eligible families supporting children/youth with Special Needs can receive an extra $225.00 for the months of April, May and June and other possible services/supports. Those receiving Autism Funding and those receiving respite monies may also reallocate some funds for other services. Contact a Children and Youth for Special Needs Representative at the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
BC Government Rental Rebate
The government is offering a temporary rental rebate of $300.00-$500.00 for three months paid directly to landlords through BC Housing. Applications and eligibility criteria are available through BC Housing.
Other BC initiatives include:
- A six month freeze on Student Loans.
- Postponement or deferral of various, business or miscellaneous tax deadline
- Business loans, credits and other financial support for various sized businesses
- An enhancement in the BC Climate Action Tax Credit for July 2020 dependent on filing a 2019 tax return
- Banning annual rent increases during the BC state of emergency
- Discouraging evictions during the BC state of emergency
- Employers must excuse workers for sickness without a Dr.’s note during COVID- 19
Deferrals of bills, mortgages:
- BC Hydro will provide grants, crisis funds and arrange bill payment plans or allow bills to be deferred during this time with no penalty. Rates will be reduced by 1% on April 1st and eliminating service disconnections if unable to pay bill due to COVID 19. You may be eligible for three months of bill credit. Rates will be reduced by 1% on April 1st and eliminating service disconnections if unable to pay bill due to COVID-19. Contact: 1-800-224-9376 or apply online for further details.
- ICBC will defer payments for 90 days without penalty. New initiatives for cancelling insurance and re-plating fees.
- Fortis BC will defer payments for 3 months. Apply online or call 1-888-292-4104 (natural gas), 1-888-292-4105 (electricity).
- TELUS offering flexible payment options for customers affected financially by COVID 19. Visit their website or call TELUS Mobility at 1-866-558-2273 or TELUS Home Services at 1-888-811-2323.
- Mortgages: Call or check online with your personal bank or financial institution for services to defer mortgage payments or other financial hardships caused by a disruption in income from COVID-19.
Refer to the BC COVID-19 Provincial Support Page (there is a digital assistant on the page) for updates and links.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT (Federal)
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The government has established (CERB), a taxable benefit that will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lost their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would also cover Canadians who are sick with COVID-19, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick (with COVID-19), as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, contract workers, seasonal workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible. Additionally, those earning up to $1000 are also eligible and those who have exhausted regular EI benefits and cannot find work because of COVID 19 are able to collect CERB. Applications can be made online or by calling 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.
Canada Child Benefits
Increases to the benefit of $300.00 per child beginning May 2020. Duration of enhanced benefits unknown at this time. Those who are currently recipients do not need to reapply; enhanced benefits dependent on filing 2019 income tax returns. Many eligible families have received this benefit.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
Provides post-secondary students and new graduates including high school student (graduates), who are not eligible for CERB and unable to find employment due to COVID-19, could be eligible to receive from $1,250-$ 2,000 per month from May-August 2020. Apply online.
Employment Insurance (EI)
Existing regular, maternity/paternal and sickness benefits are available. Those who exhaust regular benefits are eligible for CERB during the pandemic. Eligibility and information is available online.
Other Federal Initiatives Include:
- Goods and Services Tax Credit: One-time special payment beginning April 2020 for low- and modest-income families. Those currently eligible do no need to reapply; enhanced benefits dependent on filing 2019 income tax returns.
- Canada Student and Apprentice Loans: Pausing student loan payments and interest until September 30, 2020. Students automatically enrolled in the program.
- Additional time for filing Income Taxes for 2019: Date deferred to June 1, 2020 Balances due deferred to August 31,2020; installment plans also available without penalties.
- Supports for businesses/industries: Wage subsidies, work sharing programs deferral of income taxes, obtaining additional credit including emergency loans.
- Temporary salary top-ups for low income essential workers: Government will cost share a temporary top up to low income workers who earn less than $2500 monthly full time.
- Various and expanded supports for individual, family, and businesses for indigenous peoples. Additional supports and services for vulnerable populations, seniors, youth, those experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault, homelessness and post-secondary students and recent graduates. Additional funding for food banks and local food distribution organizations.
Refer to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan for a full listing of supports, resources, updates and links.
CFB Esquimalt and Community of Victoria
- BC Transit, HandyDart and Trans Link is offering free boarding on buses; users are asked to board at the rear unless accessible supports are needed. Services may change June 1st whereby fares and front door boarding may resume. Trans link’s scheduled fee increase in July 2020 has been postponed indefinitely.
- Parking is free at all health authority owned/operated hospitals.
- Augmented funding for local food banks and the United Way to support seniors; also see BC 211 for many services and matching volunteers to seniors.
- Enhanced funds for those receiving the BC Seniors Supplement or Disability Assistance if not registered for EI or the CERB Benefit for April to June.
- Increase in funding to the Family Caregivers of BC for the helpline, a virtual tool kit, emotional supports and Health Care Navigation
- SISIP Financial Services, Naden: All financial services available by phone, virtually or in office by appointment at 250-363-3301.
- Emergency funds/grants/loans and Support Our Troops (SOT) applications are also available through SISIP. Contact Corey Hargreaves at 250-363-3276 or by cell phone at 236-464-2998.