Covid-19 Update: March 20, 2020
Good morning CVTC community!
As you are aware, the campuses across British Columbia are halting face to face classes for a minimum of three weeks and this will be reassessed after that period of time to see new recommendations. The situation with the Covid-19 virus is continually changing and updating and we will be striving to keep our community up to date as well.
This post will contain both links to up to date information and support structures that are being put in place for residents of Canada and British Columbia as well as information pertinent for CVTC. Please check in daily for any new information.
Covid-19 Update-March 20
As of 1:30pm (EST), the following stats on the virus:
Over 1,000 confirmed cases
261,715 confirmed cases
The border between Canada and the United States is closed to all non-essential travelers. This does not include freight, truck drivers, or other essential travel.
The BC Health Authority has stated that groups larger than 50 are banned and groups larger than one or two in public are strongly discouraged. A social distance of at least two meters must be maintained when in public (as best one can).
Important Information for Social Supports
As businesses are forced to close their doors, reduce hours for employees and people worry that they may be ill or become ill, finances cause a great deal of stress. The Canadian government is well aware of this and as of Wednesday, March 18, announced 28 Billion dollars in support for Canadian citizens and their families. These supports include the following:
- An Emergency Care Benefit that will provide up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks for workers who are quarantined or sick with Covid-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits, workers, including self-employed who are taking care of an ill family member, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits, or parents with children who require care or supervision due to school/daycare closures and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
- Waiving the requirement provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits and waiving the one week waiting period for those in imposed quarantine who claim EI sickness benefits
- An Emergency support benefit providing up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment
- Implementation of an EI work share program to provide EI benefits to workers who reduce their normal working hour as a result of development beyond their employer’s control by extending eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the process.
- A special onetime payment by early May through the GST, doubling the maximum annual payment amounts for the 2019-202 year. The average boost will be close to $400 for single people and close to $600 for couples.
- An increase of the Child Benefit payment by up to $300 per child for the 2019-2020 year.
- Providing 305 million dollars to the Indigenous Community Support Fund
- A six month interest free moratorium on the repayment of student loans
- Reducing requirement minimum withdrawals from RRIFs by 25%
- Provide the Reaching Home initiative with $157.4 million to support people experiencing homelessness
- Support women and children feeling violence by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, including funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.
- All taxpayers can defer their tax repayment until after August 31 and the tax deadline has been extended to June 1.
Keep in mind that the child tax benefit and GST boost will not be given out until May. The new considerations for EI and the emergency boost will be made available for March and into April. Please give the support workers time as their phone lines are extremely full!
It’s very important as we move through these new times that you keep in mind the importance of getting your information from reputable sources. There is far more misinformation online that correct information and it’s quite easy to be swept up in panic. The RCMP has also reported that there are a number of scammers trying to take advantage of the fearful atmosphere to sell so-called Coronavirus cures or other products that are not going to help you.
These are the best places to get your information:
Federal Government: www.canada.ca
Provincial Health Authority: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19
Self Assessment Tool: https://covid19.thrive.health/
The biggest worry in this pandemic is panic causing people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. The best thing you can do is keep calm, stay home as much as possible, practice excellent hygiene and practice social distancing (minimum six feet between yourself and others whenever possible.) Most of all, remember the spirit of kindness, compassion, and empathy as we move through these times.
Keep checking back for updates.