COVID-19 Summary of Supports for People and Businesses

Summary of Supports for People and Businesses

We will do our best to update this information as things change. Link to source at bottom*

Posted 2020-Apr-14.

HOUSING
⚡ BC Hydro BC Hydro is halting all service disconnections for non-payment of bills and reducing electricity rates by 1%.
COVID-19 Relief Fund applies a 3-month credit to your BC Hydro account for eligible customers (avg credit will be $477). Applications will be accepted until June 30 (no rush to apply). Apply online.
COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program offers bill deferral and payment plans for customers struggling due to impacts of COVID-19. Customer Assistance: Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO
Customer Crisis Fund is an existing program that grants of up to $600 off your energy bill. Apply online.
🏦 Renters & Landlords Evictions ban in effect for duration of crisis. No action required. Click here for more info.
Freeze on rental rates means that no rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1. No action required. Click here for more info.
BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) provides up to $500/month towards rent, paid directly to landlords, for eligible renters. Apply online.
🏘️ Homeowners Mortgage payment deferrals available for CMHC-insured loans. 🍁Check with your lender.
Check with your lender about payment deferral options for loans that are not CMHC-insured. 🍁Check with your lender.
🛏️ Emergency Housing Existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. New spaces have been secured for those without a safe place to self-isolate. Call 2-1-1 or search online.
INCOME & PERSONAL SUPPORTS FOR PEOPLE
💵 Workforce Unlimited, unpaid job-protected leave for workers who are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19, retroactive to Jan 27, 2020. As a permanent change, workers now also have three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury.
Employment Insurance (EI): If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, you should apply for CERB whether or not you are eligible for Employment Insurance. 🍁Apply online via CERB.
EI Sickness Benefit: One-week waiting period has been waived. 🍁Apply online via CERB.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $500/week to people who have stopped earning income due to COVID-19, including contractors and self-employed people. 🍁Apply online.
BC Emergency Benefit provides a one-time additional tax-free payment of $1000 to those on EI or CERB. Check back for application instructions.
👨‍👧 Low- and moderate- income households GST-credit will provide an additional one-time boost for eligible individuals in April. Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. 🍁 More info here.
Climate Action Tax Credit will provide an additional one-time boost of up to $564 for eligible families of 4 and $218 for eligible individuals in an enhanced payment in July. Children under 18 years old must be registered for the CCB to qualify. No other action is needed; benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
👪 Families with children Canada Child Benefit (CCB) provides one-time boost of up to $300 per child in May. 🍁No action if you are already registered for CCB. Otherwise, apply online.
Emergency Child Care Funding provides child care providers with emergency government funding on the condition that they not charge parents fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve spaces for families, starting April. Check with your provider to see if they are in this program.
Temporary Emergency Child Care available for essential service workers. Use the child care matching service for kids aged 0-5, otherwise contact your school directly for school aged kids. 1-888-338-6622 or register online for kids 0-5.
Otherwise, contact your school.
Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) services are available to families with greater flexibility. Emergency Relief Support Fund will also provide eligible families with direct payments of $225/month for three months. More info here.
🤸 Youth-in-Care Youth in Care will not age out of services during the pandemic.
Agreements With Young Adults Program (AYA) program payments will continue to former youth-in-care despite school closures and training interruptions.
🎓 Post-Secondary Students Emergency Assistance available for students at public post-secondary institutions. Non-repayable funds can be used to help with a broad range of costs, including living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are not already able to study remotely. Contact your school’s financial aid office to apply. See backgrounder for contact list.
Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund available for Indigenous students at public post-secondary institutions can apply for non-repayable emergency assistance that can be used to help with a broad range of costs, including living expenses, groceries, cell phone bills, childcare, medical, dental, optical, and travel costs for family crisis or community obligations. Contact the Indigenous Student Service Centre on campus. See backgrounder for contact list.
BC Student Loans repayments paused for six months without penaltystarting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.
Canada Student Loans repayments paused for six months without penaltystarting April. 🍁Repayment will be paused automatically.
💵 People on Income Assistance – Full exemption of CERB or EI for three months (no clawback).
– COVID-19 Crisis Supplement of additional $300/month for three months for those who do not qualify for federal emergency supports like CERB or EI.
– “Work search” requirement for those on Income Assistance is suspended for now.
No action required, support boosts will be applied to next payments automatically. More info here.
♿ People on Disability Assistance – Full exemption of CERB or EI for three months (no clawback).
– COVID-19 Crisis Supplement of additional $300/month for three months for those who do not qualify for federal emergency supports like CERB or EI.
– Those on BC Bus Pass Program will receive their $52 transportation supplement back in cash.
No action required, support boosts will be applied to next payments automatically. More info here.
👵 Seniors COVID-19 Crisis Supplement: Low-income seniors who receive the B.C. Senior’s Supplement will receive an additional $300/month boost for three months. No action required, support boosts will be applied to next payments automatically. More info here.
Existing federal programs continue to be available, including:
– Canada Pension Plan Retirement Pension
– Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit
– Old Age Security (OAS): $614/mo (max)
– Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): $916/mo (max)
– Allowance / Allowance for Survivor: $1389/mo (max)
🍁 Eligible seniors can apply online if they are not already enrolled.
Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs): Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020. 🍁 Learn more here.
bc211 is available for seniors who need support with non-medical essentials, like grocery pick-up and drop off. Call 2-1-1 or visit online.
MISC SUPPORTS FOR PEOPLE
🚗 Automobile Auto insurance can be renewed by email or phone. Contact your broker.
Monthly payment deferrals for ICBC auto-insurance is available for up to 90 days with no penalty. Call 1-800-665-6442 or apply online.
Remote extensions for driver licensing available. All requests for medical information temporarily postponed. Call 1-800-950-1498.
Parking is free of charge at all health authority owned/operated health care sites like hospitals, clinics, long-term care centres, etc. For staff, patients, and visitors only.
⚖️ Justice Limitation periods to commence court proceedings have been suspended.
Civil Resolution Tribunal deadlines extended; fees waived for those struggling financially. Apply via Fee Waiver Request Form.
🧘 Mental Health Access to free and low-cost virtual mental health services has been expanded across BC for adults, seniors, and youth. Front-line health care workers experiencing distress and mental health concerns in response to COVID-19 now also have access to increased mental health services. Full list of available services here.
New BC COVID-19 mental health self-assessment tool will be available April 20. Check back on April 20.
VictimLink BC provides immediate 24/7 crisis support for victims of family or sexual violence is available by phone through VictimLink BC’s 24/7 telephone service. Call 1-800-564-0808 or send an email for more info.
🚌 Public Transit TransLink: Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required. July 1 fare increase is deferred indefinitely. Service reductions in effect: check online before you go.
BC Transit: Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required.
🧾 Taxes Filing due date for Income Tax Return is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. 🍁
✈️ Travel Repatriation assistance and Emergency Travel Loan of $5000 available to Canadians who are abroad. 🍁Dial +1 613-996-8885 or send an email.
British Columbians returning home must self-isolate for 14 days. Emergency Management BC and Service BC will provide support to enable compliance. More info.
BUSINESSES
⚡ BC Hydro BC Hydro is halting all service disconnections for non-payment of bills and reducing electricity rates by 1%.
COVID-19 Relief Fund waives electricity charges for up to three months for small businesses that needed to close due to COVID-19. Applications will be accepted between April 13 – June 30 (no rush to apply). Check back for link when available.
COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program offers bill deferral and payment plans for customers struggling due to impacts of COVID-19. Customer Assistance: Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO
💵 Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Canada Emergency Business Account: Loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses and not-for-profits, interest-free for one year. A portion may be forgivable. Available mid-April. 🍁Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
Loan Guarantee: Operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs. Available mid-April. 🍁Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
Co-Lending Program: Co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program. Available mid-April. 🍁Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
💵 Wage subsidies Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) covers up to 75% of wages for businesses, charities, and non-profits that have lost more than 25% of their revenue. Max subsidy of $847 per week per employee, from March 15 – June 6. Qualifying employers may also be eligible for 100% refunds on certain employer-paid contributions to EI and CPP.
🍁Apply online via Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account. Learn more.
Temporary Wage Subsidy covers up to 10% of payroll for small businesses, not-for-profits, charities between March 18-June 19. Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for this program. 🍁You do not need to apply for this subsidy; you reduce it from remittance to the CRA. Learn more.
Canada Summer Jobs Program wage subsidy is increased to 100% of minimum wage. Eligibility for this program has also been relaxed. 🍁More info.
👷 WorkSafeBC Payment deadlines are postponed without penalty until June 30, except for employers that report on an annual basis (which do not need to report their 2020 payroll or pay their 2020 premiums until March 2021). More info.
🧾 Taxes BC business tax payments deferred until after Sept 30: Employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax. Scheduled April 1 increases to provincial carbon tax and PST are deferred.
School Tax on business and industry property classes is cut by 50%, to be passed onto tenants on triple-net leases.
GST/HST payments owed deferred to June 30. 🍁
Customs duties & taxes payments owed deferred to June 30. 🍁
Income tax payments owed are deferred until after August 31. 🍁
⚠️ Click here: BC Government Small Business Support List
INDUSTRY SUPPORTS BY SECTOR
✈️ Airports Rents paid on ground leases waived. 🍁
🎭 Arts & Culture sector $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to give operating and eligible project clients a supplement of up to $15,000. Clients will receive a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding. Via BC Arts Council.
🎥 Broadcasting sector CRTC Part I licence fees waived. 🍁
🧸 Child care sector Emergency funding is available for child care providers that stay open and that close. Wage enhancement of $2/hr in place for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs). Learn more.
🚜 Farmers and Agri-Food sector Access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. 🍁Via FCC.
🎼 Musicians Showcase BC is a new online hub that brings a variety of live performances, entertainment and content to British Columbians. Micro-grants of $500 to emerging artists and $2,000 to established artists for livestreaming, songwriting and professional development are also available. Grants distributed via Creative BC.
📰 Publishing and news sectors Simplified process for Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund. Journalism Tax Measures. 🍁
🏞️ Tourism businesses in national parks and historic sites Tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas will have payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation deferred without interest until September 1. 🍁Wait to be contacted by Parks Canada.
🐚 Seafood sector Seafood growers, shellfish farmers, and processors, will have access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. 🍁Via FCC.
IMPROVED PROGRAMS DELIVERED BY CHARITIES & NOT-FOR-PROFITS
👵 EquipCare BC Provides enhanced infection prevention and control in long-term care and assisted living homes. Funds administered through the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA).
🥫 Food Banks BC Funding boost to Food Banks British Columbia, who will distribute the money among food banks province-wide.
🧒🏼 Kids Help Phone Funding boost to Kids Help Phone, which provides young people with mental health support. 🍁
📚 Libraries Enhanced funding for libraries to provide greater access to online resources.
👵 New Horizons for Seniors Program Flexibility for organizations under the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) to use funding previously received through the community-based stream to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19 🍁
👵 United Way Canada Funding boost to United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors, such as: Delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items; or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports. 🍁
⚽ viaSport Funding boost, through viaSport, to provincial, disability, and multi-sport organizations.
This list has been curated to include improvements that are most likely to impact you directly. Some funding boosts may not be listed.

Questions? For items marked “🍁”, contact your local MP. Otherwise, contact your local MLA.

 

Credit for compiling this information to Bowin Ma, MLA North Vancouver-Lonsdale.*

Click here to go directly to her website, where this information is updated frequently.*

*This is not an endorsement or support, ‘Namgis has no relationship with Bowinn Ma, it is only a link to a well maintained and frequently updated online resource we thought could be helpful at this time.