COVID-19: IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND FINANCIAL SUPPORTS
We will be continuously updating this section to provide you with general COVID-19 resources, financial supports available to various BC residents, and important media releases that may be relevant to some of our families.
COVID-19: BC PROVINCIAL SELF ASSESSMENT CENTRE (APP DOWNLOAD)
For more information about COVID-19, including current case counts and what to do if you are sick, visit the BC Provincial Self-Assessment Centre to download their awesome app for iPhone or Android.
CERB: CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT
If you have lost work or have reduced income ($1000/month or less) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for $2000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks. This is a federal UNTAXED benefit. At this time, everyone who applies will be automatically paid and eligibility will be confirmed at a later date. You must ensure that you are eligible or you will be required to pay it back in full. Apply now through your CRA online account or through their automated telephone service.
Did you receive a CERB payment you didn’t apply for or receive an overpayment? Did you apply for EI/CERB before finding new work or going back to work earlier than expected? Learn how to repay it by visiting this link.
SALARY TOP-UP FOR LOW-INCOME ESSENTIAL WORKERS
A temporary federal top-up for the salaries of low-income essential workers who earn less than $2500/month on a full-time basis. This is a new benefit and more information is expected shortly.
CANADA CHILD BENEFIT (CCB) TOP-UP
An additional income-based payment of up to $300 per child will be paid out with your regular May CCB. If you are already registered for the CCB, this payment will be added automatically. If you think you are eligible but do not already receive CCB, please visit the link below.
FINANCIAL SUPPORTS FOR RECIPIENTS OF INCOME ASSISTANCE (IA) OR DISABILITY ASSISTANCE (PWD)
Recipients of IA or PWD who also lost employment income due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply for the CERB. Payments from EI/CERB are temporarily exempt, meaning you will be able to collect this benefit in full with no clawbacks. Please remember that this is an UNTAXED benefit and you will be required to pay taxes on these amounts next year. For those on IA or PWD who are not employed, recipients of the Comforts Allowance, and recipients of the BC Seniors Supplement, you will automatically receive an additional $300 on your April, May and June cheques. If you pay for an annual bus pass, you will also automatically have that amount credited back while Transit fares are suspended.
BC EMERGENCY BENEFIT FOR WORKERS
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time, TAX-FREE $1,000 payment to individuals whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. Click the link below to read the eligibility criteria.
BC CLIMATE ACTION TAX CREDIT TOP-UP
A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families. This is automatic and based on your 2019 tax return.
BC RENT INCREASE & EVICTION FREEZE (ENDS AUGUST 18TH, 2020)
Tenants should always pay rent wherever possible as the legislation still requires that tenants pay rent in full and on time. However, the state of emergency temporarily suspended a landlord’s ability to end a tenancy if the tenant did not pay the rent in full and on time. A tenant who has unpaid rent as of August 18th, 2020 may now face eviction as the eviction freeze has ended. Your landlord can also now issue a notice to increase rent but it won't come into effect until December 1st, 2020. Click the link below to find out more about repayment and rental assistance programs.
BC TEMPORARY RENTAL SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM (ENDS AUGUST 31ST, 2020)
A temporary rental supplement that is paid directly to landlords is available until August 31st, 2020 through BC Housing. Eligible households with dependents can receive up to $500/month. Households without dependents can receive up to $300/month. Tenants are not eligible if their rent is subsidized by any other government program. Other government programs include: subsidized housing; rent supplements such as Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance Program (RAP); Income Assistance; and Disability Assistance.
BC HYDRO CUSTOMER CRISIS FUND
The Customer Crisis Fund supports residential customers who are facing disconnection of their BC Hydro service, despite attempting to make payments. Grants are available for overdue balances of up to $600 for customers who heat their homes with electricity, and $500 for customers with non-electrically heated homes. This program is available year round and is not specific to COVID-19, but can support those who do not qualify for the COVID-19 relief fund.
CANADA EMERGENCY STUDENT BENEFIT (NEW)
The CESB is a finanicial benefit to support post-secondary students who could not work this summer due to COVID-19. Eligible students with dependents or disabilities could receive up to $1,750/month from May to August 2020. Benefits can be applied for retroactively. The government will also double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21 (beginning in September). The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled. Click the link to read more about eligibility and how to apply.
FREE SHAW GO WI-FI
Shaw has opened Shaw Go WiFi, Canada’s largest WiFi network, to everybody during the COVID-19 pandemic. Look for the Shaw Go network on your device and you can connect without a login or Shaw ID.
ICBC MONTHLY PAYMENT DEFERRAL
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. Note: the full amount will be due after the 90 days. You must apply by 6 pm at least one business day before your next payment is due. Apply online using the link below.
EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENT FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
This $225/month emergency supplement is available to SOME families who were deemed eligible to receive MCFD Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) Family Support Services prior to March 30, 2020. It is needs-based and they are prioritizing families who do not currently receive any financial supports (ie. respite or autism funding). Please contact your assigned CYSN worker or your local CYSN office for details.
COVID-19: COMING TOGETHER (FACEBOOK GROUP)
A community organized Facebook group of nearly 35,000 people in the Lower Mainland who are seeking and/or offering support. Examples include: those in need of zero-contact grocery shopping services due to self-isolation/quarantine, finding specific items (ie. hand sanitizer, diaper sizes, certain foods, etc.), and the admins have set up a very successful GoFundMe campaign to provide eligible members with small monetary "grants".
EMERGENCY CHILDCARE FOR ESSENTIAL SERVICE WORKERS
This application is for specific essential service workers (Health and Health Services, Social Services, Law Enforcement, First Responders, or Emergency Response) who are in need of child care for children aged infant to 5 years. Please note: child care services for school aged children (5-12 years old) can be obtained through their school directly.