On March 23, 2020, the BC NDP government unveiled a five billion dollar relief plan aimed at both businesses and workers. Broken down, it gives 2.8 billion dollars in relief for residents and services and 2.2 billion for businesses.
Supports include the following:
- Temporary emergency funding for childcare centres
- BC student loan payments are frozen until September 30. Federal student loans are also frozen until September 30 and no interest will be accrued
- The BC Emergency Benefit for workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment for people who lost income due to the virus. This is available to those who are eligible for Federal employment insurance, the Federal Emergency Care Benefit or the Federal Emergency support benefit. Applications open in April and will be paid in May
- There will be a one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit in July 2020 for moderate to low income families. Eligible adults will receive up to $218.00 and a child will receive up to $64.00
- BC housing has suspended evictions of tenants in subsidized and affordable housing. There will be more supports for renters announced on March 25 (hopefully the evictions will be suspended for anyone!)
- Customers can defer payments or get flexible payment plans with no penalty through BC Hydro and grants of up to $600 to pay their hydro bill if they experience job loss, illness or lost wages due to the pandemic.
- Customers on a monthly payment plan for ICBC may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty.
- Telus has waived their overage fees for internet (customers who aren’t already on an unlimited data plan) until April 30.
Funding for critical services in health care, social services and vulnerable populations, housing and shelter programs and First Nations Health Authority has also been increased by $1.7 billion dollars.
You can learn more about these supports here
If you have suffered job loss, income loss and financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 outbreak, make sure to track these supports for when they are open for application as this will bring much needed relief to many people.