The Province is providing an additional $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and funding for people, businesses and services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
B.C.’s plan builds on the federal government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
Keeping people safe and healthy
- Boosting funding by $1.7 billion for critical services:
- Funding health-care pressures from the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Additional support for social services and vulnerable populations.
- Additional support for housing and shelter programs.
- Funding for the First Nations Health Authority.
- Continuing financial support for non-profits and other agencies, so they can continue to receive support even if regular operations have been disrupted.
- Licensed child care providers that are staying open will receive enhanced funding to keep operations going.
Delivering $1.1 billion in financial support for British Columbians
- Support for people facing job loss or reduced hours and people who are sick, quarantined or must stay home to care for children:
- A new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19.
- The benefit will be a one-time payment for B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
- The Province is increasing and expanding the B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit in July 2020. Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment. This boosts the regular Climate Action Tax Credit payment of up to $112.50 per family of four and up to $43.50 per adult.
- Support for renters, homeowners and people experiencing homelessness:
- In response to the pandemic and resulting financial stress, B.C. has increased funding for housing supports and is working to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss.
- B.C. has halted all new and active evictions, except for exceptional circumstances, so that no one is evicted because of COVID-19 and so people can remain in their homes during this crisis.
- A new temporary rental supplement of up to $500 per month will be available through BC Housing to help renters whose income has been affected by COVID-19 pay a portion of their rent each month.
- Further information, including eligibility and the application process is expected to be posted on the BC Housing website in early April.
- Annual rent increases are frozen.
- Landlords can now restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against transmission.
- Landlords are now prevented from accessing rental units without tenant consent, except in exceptional cases.
- To reduce the potential transmission of COID-19, renters and landlords are now restricted from serving notices in-person, and can do so by e-mail.
- As part of B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy, the Province provided $10 million to Vancity to administer funding and ensure the sustainability of the existing rent bank network.
- Canada’s six largest banks have worked together to freeze mortgage payments for six months for those in need.
- Support for people with student loans:
- Starting March 30, 2020, the Province is freezing B.C. student loan payments for six months.
- Support for people unable to pay monthly bills:
- BC Hydro customers have the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers who are dealing with job loss, illness or loss of wages due to COVID-19 will be able to use BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund grant program for up to $600: https://www.bchydro.com/index.html
- ICBC customers on a monthly payment plan who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19 may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty.
Providing relief for businesses
- Tax support for businesses:
- Effective immediately, many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to Sept. 30, 2020.
- Businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020. Businesses with a payroll under this threshold are already exempt.
- Payments for provincial sales tax (PST), employer health tax, municipal and regional district tax on short-term accommodation, carbon tax, motor fuel tax and tobacco tax are also deferred.
- The scheduled increase to the carbon tax rate, and application of PST to e-commerce transactions and sweetened and carbonated drinks, will be delayed.
- Relief for commercial property owners and tenants:
- Business and light and major industry property classes will see their school property tax cut in half for the 2020 tax year, providing $500 million in relief for business that own their property and for tenants on triple-net leases.
Investing in a longer-term economic plan
- $1.5 billion in provincial funding will support economic stimulus once the pandemic has passed.
- The B.C. government is working in partnership with the business and labour sectors to develop the long-term plan for economic recovery.
People in B.C. needing assistance can also benefit from Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will offer $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The federal Canada Child Benefit will increase by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year for families who need it most.
- Additionally, the one-week waiting period and medical certificate requirements for Employment Insurance have been removed.
For information on BC’s Action Plan and other government resources and updates, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
To learn more about B.C.’s support for the child care sector during the pandemic, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020CFD0041-000530
To learn more about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
For resources to help manage COVID-19 related stress, anxiety and depression, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health-safety/covid19_stressmanagement_5_accessible.pdf