March 30 Covid-19 Update

Over the weekend, we saw the announcement of some new supports for seniors and children, as well as a boost to the wage subsidy for small to medium businesses up from 10% to 75% subsidy, so long as businesses show that the subsidy is going straight towards keeping their employees on payroll during the crisis. This has already had an impact with people who though they were going to be laid off discovering that they could still work (albeit at a reduction, depending on the business) or would at least be on payroll to help tie through the social distancing.

Supports for Seniors and Children

The government is offering a couple of supports, including a boost to the Children’s Health Line, geared towards helping children and youth better navigate feelings of anxiety and depression as the social isolation and lack of school and different structures begins to dig their claws deep into the younger members of society.

In BC, there is an expanded health line (211 phone line) for seniors to get help with their symptoms and get information.  The Canadian Government has also pledged around nine million dollars to United Way to assist the organization in getting supplies to seniors who cannot leave their homes.

Some Good News

It’s been rather doom and gloom for the last two and a half weeks, hasn’t it? But a couple of good pieces of news:

And more and more people are doing things like taking up gardening, forcibly spending time with their families (ha), and informal polls are showing that Canadians as a whole are beginning to value meaning over material. Plus, the ozone layer is already showing some signs of recovery, wild animals are being seen where they were not seen before, and the canals of Venice are running clear for the first time in a very long time.

Clarification on the CERB

We have been following the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit as more information trickles out about it, largely from union newsletters. This benefit is likely to be one that many of our CVTC community will want to enrol for, so here’s what the deal is so far:

  • The benefit is $1800 a month for four months, paid out monthly. ($2000-$200 taxes. Yeah, we’re not exactly happy either).
  • You must show that you have been without income for at least fourteen consecutive days out of the last four weeks due to the impacts of Covid-19 (employed but not getting paid, taking care of children impacted by school and daycare closures, freelancing or self employed and not able to work, or quarantined and sick yourself/taking care of someone who is sick).
  • If you are on EI, you will not be moved to the CERB automatically (as far as we can tell) as the CERB is primarily geared for people who aren’t eligible for EI
  • You must have made at least $5,000 in the 12 months prior to the application date.

When the portal opens for application, I will be sure to try to write a more detailed walk-through about what to expect from it for our readers who are nervous about online applications. There is also going to be an automated phone service to apply through as well. More details about all that once the applications open.

There has been no information released about the one time $1,000 payment that the BC government has promised citizens in need, so when more information about that is released, we’ll let everyone know.

The top up of the family allowance ($300/child) is a one-time thing and will be released for the May payment.

That’s about all for today. Stay safe, stay six feet away from others, and keep checking back here for updates.

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