Supports for Families, Individuals and Workers for COVID-19
A series of new and enhanced benefits have been announced to support individuals impacted by COVID-19.
For employment insurance and supports related to a layoff or termination, see our Employment Insurance page, or visit https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html
Federal Programs (for full information see Government of Canada site)
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a new benefit will combine the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. This benefit is for people who have stopped working because of COVID-19.
This benefit is paid in blocks of four weeks in the amount of $2,000, which is equivalent to $500 per week. A maximum 16 weeks of benefits can be paid. The benefit payments are available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020, and you can apply no later than December 2, 2020.
GST Bonus Credit
This is a one-time special payment for low- and modest-income families which will be made by early May.
It will provide an average boost to income for those eligible of $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
No application is required as this is part of the normal GST credit program.
Enhanced Canada Child Benefit
To help support families in light of COVID-19, there will be an increase to the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year of $300 per child. There is no application needed as this will be part of the existing CCB program, and the extra contribution should be made on the regular May payment.
Provincial Programs (for full information see Government of BC site):
BC Emergency Benefit for Workers
This is a one-time, tax-free $1000 payments to BC workers impacted by job loss due to COVID-19. More info is here.
- Have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020 and at least 15 years old
- Meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and have a successful CERB application (regardless if you’ve been paid yet)
- Have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return
- Not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance
- You can apply online starting May 1, 2020 and by telephone May 4, 2020
- Documentation isn’t required when you apply. However, all applications will be verified and we may ask you for proof of your eligibility at a later date.
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
BC Temporary Rental Supplement
- Applications are now open
- Will provide $300 per household and $500 per household with dependents per month to help pay residential rent for April, May and June
- Open to low-to-moderate income individuals ($74,150 for singles and couples without dependents and $113,040 for households with dependents)
- Applicants must be paying at least 30% of their current household monthly income to rent, and must also be eligible for/receiving Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or can show a 25% decline in monthly income
- Also includes a freeze on evictions and rent increases, and limitations on the use of common property and access to units by landlords
- Applications to be accepted at an upcoming time via BC Housing
Supports for Those on Provincial Income/Disability Assistance, and Low-Income Seniors
- Any Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments will be exempted and will not see benefit reduced/clawed back
- The Province will provide an automatic $300-monthly COVID-19 crisis supplement for the next three months to individuals, provided they are not eligible for the CERB or other federal COVID-19 benefits
Freezing B.C. Student Loan Payments
- BC student loan payments will be suspended for six months, starting March 30, 2020
Support for People Unable to Pay Monthly Bills
- BC Hydro
- Residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills. The credit will be three times their average monthly bill over the past year at their home and does not have to be repaid.
- Online applications start April 6
- Ongoing BC Hydro rates have been cut by 1%
- 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. Read more.
- 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. Read more.