Governments both Federally and Provincially are now offering support for people impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic including financial relief, a provincial rental supplement, and different payment deferral options. The information below is subject to change as the situation evolves.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
Who is eligible
The Benefit is available to workers:
- Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
- Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
- Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
- Who have not quit their job voluntarily.
When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.
When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.
How to apply
Online: visit here for more information.
Phone: You can call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041. Make sure to have your Social Insurance Number and postal code ready. These payments will be made by direct deposit or cheque, based on the payment method they have on file for you.
Individual tax filing and payment deferment
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is deferring the 2019 tax filing date for both individuals and certain trusts.
- For individuals, the return filing due date has been deferred until June 1, 2020.
- For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date has been deferred until May 1, 2020.
The CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020, and before September 2020.
BC emergency benefit
The BC government announced a one-time, tax-free, $1,000 supplemental benefit for British Columbians who qualify for the federal CERB benefit.
Applications open online May 1, and over the phone May 4. Click here for more information.
Provincial rent supplement
The provincial government is offering a temporary rental supplement for renters in BC.
The funds will be available to low-to-moderate income renters who have lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis and will be paid directly to landlords through BC Housing.
To be eligible for the supplement, renters need to meet each of the following criteria:
- Household income
- have a 2019 gross household income of less than $74,150 for singles and couples without dependents, $113,040 for households with dependents.
- Loss of income
- are receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance due to COVID-19;
- are receiving or eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit offered by the federal government due to COVID-19; or
- have experienced, and are able to provide evidence of, a drop of 25% or more in monthly household employment income due to COVID-19.
- Rent to income ratio
- are paying more than 30 per cent of current household income towards rent.
Click here for more information.
Bill payment deferment
The provincial government is working with BC Hydro and ICBC to allow bill payment deferment. ICBC is extending deferrals to up to 90 days.
People dealing with job loss, illness, or loss of wages due to COVID-19 may also qualify for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund grant program for up to $600.
Fortis BC is allowing bill payment deferral for its residential customers from April 1-June 30, 2020 through an interest-free plan spread over the next 12 months. You’re eligible if you’re unemployed or unable to work due to COVID-19.