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COVID-19 Resources


Blog by Amy Dewaele | April 1st, 2020


Sharing with permission from PRIME Real Estate Team in Victoria.

Below you will find a summary of financial supports that are available to support people and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. If you have any questions regarding any of these options please feel free to contact us directly and we'll do our best to provide you with any guidance or support we can. We're always happy to help! 

(As of April 1, 2020)

Businesses (General) – Businesses (Sector) – Housing – Income (Workforce) – Income Supplements – Misc Supports

HOUSING

 BC Hydro In addition to these financial support programs, BC Hydro is halting all service disconnections for non-payment of bills:
–1–COVID-19 Relief Fund: Applies a 3-month credit to your BC Hydro account for eligible customers (avg credit will be $477).
–2–COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program: Bill deferral and payment plans.
–3–Customer Crisis Fund: Grants of up to $600 off your energy bill. –1–Relief Fund: Applications will be accepted between April 6 – June 30 (no rush to apply).
–2–Customer Assistance: Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO
–3–Crisis Fund: Apply online.

? Freeze on rental rates No rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1. No action needed. Contact RTB with questions.

? BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) Provides up to $500/month towards rent, paid directly to landlords. Applications open mid-April. More info here.

?️ Mortgages (CMHC-insured) Mortgage payment deferrals available for CMHC-insured loans. Check with your lender.

?️ Mortgages (non-CMHC) Check with your lender about payment deferral options. Check with your lender.

?️ Emergency Housing Existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. Call 2-1-1 or search online.

PERSONAL INCOME – WORKFORCE

? Employment Insurance (EI) Existing EI benefit continues to be available. Provides up to $573/week to people who have lost income. Apply online.

? EI Sickness Benefit One-week waiting period has been waived. Call 1-833-381-2725 or apply online.

? Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Provides $2000/month to workers who lose income due to COVID-19, including contractors and self-employed people.
(Note: Previous description implied only those who do not qualify for EI are eligible for CERB. However, CERB may actually take the place of EI for new applicants when available. In the meantime, those who qualify for EI should continue to submit for EI, as it is a benefit that lasts up to 45 weeks and can continue after the CERB benefit ends on Oct 3.) Applications open on April 6. Get ready to apply by ensuring you are registered for My Account with the CRA and have set up a direct deposit.

? BC Emergency Benefit One-time additional tax-free payment of $1000 to those on EI or CERB. Check back for application instructions.

INCOME SUPPLEMENTS FOR PEOPLE

? GST-credit One-time boost of up to $600 per eligible couple, $400 for eligible individuals in May. Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return.

? Climate Action Tax Credit 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; the benefit is paid out according to your income tax return.

? Canada Child Benefit (CCB) One-time boost of $300 per child in May. No action if you are already registered for CCB. Otherwise, apply online.

? Youth in Care Youth in care will not age out of services during the pandemic. Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program payments will continue despite school closures and training interruptions.

? Young Adults Program (AYA) Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program payments will continue to former youth-in-care despite school closures and training interruptions.

? Income Assistance Existing Income Assistance program continues to be available for those in need with no other resources. Apply online, by phone at 1-866-866-0800, or visit your local office.

 People with Disabilities Existing Disability Assistance program continues to be available. Apply online, by phone at 1-866-866-0800, or visit your local office.

? Seniors Existing programs continue to be available, including:
—–Old Age Security (OAS): $614/mo (max)
—–Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): $916/mo (max)
—–Allowance / Allowance for Survivor: $1389/mo (max) Eligible seniors are automatically enrolled, but applications can also be submitted online.

OTHER FINANCIAL SUPPORTS FOR PEOPLE

? Hospital parking - Parking is free of charge at all health authority owned/operated health care sites.

? ICBC Monthly payment deferral for up to 90 days with no penalty. Call 1-800-665-6442 or apply online.

? Emergency Child Care Funding - Child care providers receiving emergency government funding cannot charge parent 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.

? BC Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.

? Canada Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.

? BC Transit & TransLink Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required.

? Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020.

✈️ Emergency Travel Loan - Emergency loan of $5000 available to Canadians travelling abroad. Dial +1 613-996-8885 or send an email.

? Income tax return - Filing due date is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31.


BUSINESSES (GENERAL)

 BC Hydro In addition to these financial support programs, BC Hydro is halting all service disconnections for non-payment of bills:
–1–COVID-19 Relief Fund: Small businesses that needed to close due to COVID-19 may be eligible to have business’ electricity use charges waived for up to three months.
–2–COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program: Bill deferral and payment plans. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO –1–Relief Fund: Applications will be accepted between the weeks of April 13 – June 30 (no rush to apply).
–2–Customer Assistance: Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO

? WorkSafeBC Payment deadlines are postponed without penalty.

? Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Covers up to 75% of wages for businesses, charities, and non-profits that have lost more than 30% of their revenue. Max subsidy of $847 per week per employee, backdated to March 15. ?Check back for application instructions.

? Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Financing support for small and medium-sized businesses. Available mid-April.
—–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.
—– Loan Guarantee: Operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs. Available mid-April.
—–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.

? Federal income tax Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. ?

? BC business taxes Payments for Employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax are deferred until after Sept 30. Scheduled April 1 increases to provincial carbon tax and PST are deferred.

? School Tax Cut of 50% for business and industry property classes, 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.

BUSINESSES (BY SECTOR)

? Child care sector - Emergency funding is available for child care providers that stay open and that close.

? 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.

? Publishing and news sectors - Simplified process for Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund. Journalism Tax Measures.

? Broadcasting sector-CRTC Part I licence fees waived.

?️ 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.

? Farmers and Agri-Food sector Access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. ?Via FCC.
✈️Airports-Rents paid on ground leases waived.

FUNDING BOOSTS TO CHARITIES FOR PROGRAM DELIVERY

? 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.

? 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.

Additional Questions? Contact your local MP. Otherwise, contact your local MLA.