New Provincial COVID-19 Measures Announced Including Tax Deferrals, $1000 Grants to Individuals

COVID-19 Updates & Resources

March 23 –  Today, Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James announced the new measures from the provincial government related to COVID-19 to support individuals and businesses.  See the highlights below, or click here to read the full news release. 

Highlights of new provincial measures for businesses:

  • Deferring a number taxes for business until September 30 including:
    • Employer Health Tax
    • PST remittances
    • Carbon Taxes
  • Business and commercial properties will have the provincial school tax rate cut in half for 2020, (average savings of $4,000 per property)
  • Supporting non-profits, service delivery agencies and child care providers by continuing provincial funding regardless if sites are open or programs are operating
  • Child care businesses to receive enhanced funding
    • These centres are eligible to receive seven times their average monthly operating funding from government (which is expected to cover approximately 75% of a group facility’s average monthly operating expenses)
  • $1.5 billion Economic Stimulus Plan for the months following the COVID-19 crisis to rebuild our economy

Highlights of new provincial measures for individuals:

  • Emergency Benefit for Workers
    • Tax-free $1000 one-time payment
    • Open to anyone receives federal EI payments, or the new Emergency Care Benefit or the Emergency Support Benefit
    • This includes the self-employed, who are not typically eligible for EI
    • There will be an application process which is not yet outlined
  • Expanding the B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit
    • Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment
    • No application is needed as this will be part of the existing tax credit program
  • Freezing B.C. student loan payments for six months, starting March 30, 2020
  • Support for people unable to pay monthly bills
    • BC Hydro
      • People can 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:
    • ICBC
      • People 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.
    • FortisBC
      • Fortis will be waiving late payment fees and ensuring no customer is disconnected from the energy they need for financial reasons. They will also be available to help their customers with flexible payment options. To learn more about what FortisBC is doing visit their COVID-19 page or call Fortis at 1-866-436-7847 for electricity and 1-888-224-2710 for natural gas.