Support

COVID-19 Provincial Supports: $5 billion Action Plan

RENTING

Applications open for temporary rental supplement
• Renters who are experiencing a loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for the Province’s new temporary rental supplement.
• The program will provide $300 per month for eligible households with no dependents and $500 per month for eligible households with dependents. Eligible roommates will each be able to apply for the supplement.
• For more information and to apply, visit: https://bchousing.org/bctrs
• The Province is implementing a number of other measures to keep people housed and protect their health, including halting evictions and freezing rents. More information here

BC Housing:
• BC Housing has temporarily suspended evictions of tenants in subsidized and affordable housing. More information available here

EMPLOYMENT

Protecting jobs

Government is making changes to the Employment Standards Act to ensure:

  • Immediate job-protected leave that allows workers affected by COVID-19 to stay home as needed without the risk of losing their job. Available to people considered employees under the Employment Standards Act who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. See here
  • Three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury. This is a permanent change to the act that brings B.C. in line with all other provinces in Canada

Income

  • The CERB offers $2,000 for the next 3 months. This is for people who have lost work due to COVID-19.

BC HYDRO

  • BC Hydro will offer new, targeted bill relief to provide immediate help to those most in need, see here
  • 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.
  • Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months. BC Hydro is waiving bills for these customers from April to June 2020.
  • Major industries, like pulp and paper mills and mines, will have the opportunity to defer 50% of their bill payments for three months.
  • In addition to this new targeted bill relief, BC Hydro rates will be reduced by 1% on April 1, 2020. This is the first rate decrease in decades.

ICBC

Customers on a monthly Autoplan payment plan, who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, may be able to defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty, see here

STUDENT LOANS

Effective March 30, 2020, all British Columbia student loan borrowers will temporarily have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. During this time, no payment will be required, and interest that currently applies to the federal portion of student loans will not accrue. Repayment will be paused automatically, so borrowers do not need to apply to have their repayment suspended. More details here

MSP

The three-month MSP coverage wait period will be waived for eligible individuals effective March 1, 2020, and temporary Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage may be available to assist individuals in B.C. impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

FOR PARENTS

The Province is launching a new process that will match parents, who are working on the front lines of B.C.’s COVID-19 response and have children up to five years of age, with child care in their communities. Essential workers can fill out a new “parent” form to identify their need for urgent child care. Forms can be accessed by calling 1 888 338-6622 and selecting Option 4, or online

Government has launched Keep Learning BC, a central place where families can find ideas for everyday educational activities, annotated links to free learning resources, as well as how to help children learn and how to ensure their well-being while they are at home.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is establishing an Emergency Relief Support Fund for children and youth with special needs and their families. The fund will provide a direct payment of $225 per month to eligible families over the next three months (to June 30, 2020).

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