March 25-Covid 19 Update

Today was a busy day as a major bill passed the Canadian legislation to come to law as of today and BC passed more legislation designed to aid people in distress with their rent. Here’s what we are looking at for assistance:

Canada Passes Relief Aid Bill

Today, the parliament passed the bill that would allow the government to get support to Canadians in need all over the country. The repackaged bills actually merges a few supports together to create a single emergency fund that can distribute $2,000 per month to people who apply for it. Eligible applicants are those who have to enter quarantine due to illness, are self isolating if they suspect they are sick, have lost their jobs or seen a reduction in hours or those who have to stay at home to watch their child(ren) due to school and daycare closures. Self employed, contract workers and part time workers are also eligible for this benefit and you do not need to be eligible for the traditional EI to receive it. It will apply to workers who are affected by the virus from March15 until October. Applications for this benefit should open in early April and as soon as they do, we will post the link here and on Facebook. The payment is once monthly, so make sure you keep an eye on your budget.

This bill also includes the student loan moratorium (no student loan payments due for the next six months and no interest will be built up), the extra $300/child top up on the child tax benefit for the 2019/2020 tax year and the GST boost of $400 for a single person and $600 for a couple. These will roll out in May.

In BC, the government announced today that rent increases will be frozen and evictions suspended until the crisis has passed. The government is also providing a monthly rebate of up to $500 for three months that will be paid directly to Landlords through BC housing. This first payment will not be ready for April 1 and it is asked that tenants and landlords find some co-operation in the meantime. It may not seem like much, but along with the $2,000 from the federal government and $1,000 from the province, hopefully it will help.

Tenants who are still working and able to pay their rent should continue to do so. In order to be eligible for this rebate, you must be able to demonstrate a significant reduction in income.

Annual rent increases are banned and if the rent was due to increase April 1, it will not do so.

There is still work being done on how to help community housing providers and the country’s renters as a whole.

Summer Games and Olympics

The BC summer games have been cancelled. The summer Olympics has been postponed until 2021.

Covid 19 Numbers

  • Confirmed cases in BC: 659. Cases in Canada: 3,409. Cases worldwide: 467,594
  • 14 people have passed away in BC
  • There are 9 cases in the Northern Health Region

It is critically important to practice social distancing, only go out when you absolutely need to, and if you are coming back to the country from abroad, there is now a mandatory quarantine period of fourteen days, whether you are showing symptoms or not.

We will have more information about the financial supports and any other news as soon as possible. In the meantime, stay safe!

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