Transitioning from COVID-19 to Normal Operations
COVID-19 Provincial and Federal Supports

 

Talk to a Service BC agent about non-health related information and services such as: Child Care, Travel Restrictions, Business and Funding Support. Text: 1-604-630-0300 Call: 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

 

Health questions: If you have symptoms related to COVID-19 (or another other health issue) and want to talk to a health professional, call 8-1-1.

 

Federal Quarantine: If you have concerns about adherence to the federal quarantine required for individuals arriving in Canada please call your local RCMP or other police detachment. Do not call 911 except in a medical emergency.

 

Workplace: If you have concerns about safety in a private workplace call WorkSafe BC at 1-888-621-7233.

 

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program: Seniors aged 65 and older can request volunteer help with grocery shopping, meal preparation and prescription pick-up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors can also request to receive a friendly check-in call by dialing 2-1-1 or filling in an online form at www.bc211.ca. For more information on the BC211 program and local response, please contact inclusion Powell River Society – Better at Home Coordinator, Stacy Mogan at 604-485-4008 or email betterathome@inclusionpr.ca.


Provincial Support for Individuals:

 

Free Counselling Services for Post-Secondary Students

Chat sessions with a trained counsellor can be accessed by downloading the Here2Talk app or visiting: here2talk.ca. Students can speak to a counsellor by phone, toll-free at 1 877 857-3397 or direct 604 642-5212. Students calling from outside Canada can dial 1 604 642-5212 (international calling charges may apply). For the launch, web, phone and chat services are currently available in English and French. Phone services are also available in additional languages upon request.

 

 

Centres that opt-in to receive emergency funding that are:

Closed – must not charge fees to parents and must reserve the space for when the child returns once the pandemic passes.
Open – must not charge fees to parents that choose to withdraw their child temporarily due to COVID-19 related issues or concerns and must reserve the space for when the child returns once the pandemic passes.

 

BC Emergency Benefit for Workers

The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance, or the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit are eligible. Applications for the one-time payment will open May 1.

 

Climate Action Tax Credit

A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families. An adult will receive up to $218.00 (increased from $43.50). A child will receive $64.00 (increased from $12.75).

 

COVID-19 Leave

The COVID-19 leave is retroactive to January 27, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in British Columbia. During this public health emergency, employees can take this job-protected leave for the reasons above as long as they need it, without putting their job at risk. Once it is no longer needed, this leave will be removed from the Employment Standards Act.

 

An employee can take unpaid, job-protected leave related to COVID-19 if they’re unable to work for any of the following reasons:

  • They have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are following the instructions of a medical health officer or the advice of a doctor or nurse.
  • They are in quarantine or self-isolation and are acting in accordance with an order of the provincial health officer, an order made under the Quarantine Act (Canada), guidelines from the BC Centre for Disease Control or guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • Their employer has directed them not to work due to concern about their exposure to others.
  • They need to provide care to their minor child or a dependent adult who is their child or former foster child for a reason related to COVID-19, including a school, daycare or similar facility closure.
  • They are outside of BC and unable to return to work due to travel or border restrictions.

CERB and EI are temporarily exempt, meaning they will have no effect on your regular Income Assistance or Disability Assistance. If you are not receiving federal Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Recovery Benefit (CERB) and are on the following, you will automatically receive a $300 supplement on your cheques issued in April, May, and June. No action is required on your part.

  • Income Assistance
  • Disability Assistance
  • Comforts Allowance
  • BC Senior’s Supplement

If you are receiving federal EI or the CERB and receiving the following, you will not be eligible for the $300 supplement:

  • Income Assistance
  • Disability Assistance
The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers are encouraged to call BC Hydro’s customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss bill payment options. Customers facing temporary financial hardship and possible disconnection of their service due to job loss, illness, or loss of a family member may also be eligible for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund, which provides access to grants of up to $600 to pay their bills.
View the BC Hydro News Release: Hydro Bill Relief during Covid-19

 

Customers on a monthly Autoplan payment plan, who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, can defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty. Payment deferral is also available for fleets. If your account is not up to date, you aren’t eligible to defer payments but we will work with you to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Other actions from ICBC

Most knowledge testing has been suspended indefinitely. There are no cancellation fees for these bookings.

Class 5 to 8 (Passenger and Motorcycle) knowledge tests are suspended indefinitely, with the exception of applicants who are legally required to obtain a licence (e.g. new resident to B.C.). Class 1 to 4 (Commercial) knowledge tests will continue. Note: If an applicant is required take the Class 5-8 Knowledge tests, translators will not be allowed to be used due to social distancing guidelines. Customers whose Learner Driver’s Licences (class 5-8) expire during the pandemic will not have to pay a ($15) fee for their first knowledge test, once testing resumes. As of March 17, 2020, all road tests (Class 1 to 8 and Motorcycle Skills Test) are suspended until further notice. All cancellation fees for these bookings have all been waived.

 

The MSP coverage wait period is waived and temporary coverage is available.


Provincial Support for Business:

 

Delayed and Reduced Taxes for Commercial Property Owners and Tenants
Business and light and major industry property classes will see their school property tax cut in half for the 2020 tax year, providing $500 million in relief for business that own their property and for tenants on triple-net leases.

 

The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty. Customers are encouraged to call BC Hydro’s customer team at 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to discuss bill payment options. Customers facing temporary financial hardship and possible disconnection of their service due to job loss, illness, or loss of a family member may also be eligible for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund, which provides access to grants of up to $600 to pay their bills. Media Release: Small businesses can apply for bill relief from BC Hydro

 

Small Business BC is offering a free webinar, Get Online with Shopify, for businesses to learn how to build an online presence and engage with customers and continue to grow your business. Starting on Thursday, April 16, 2020, advisors are available Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time) and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1 833 254-4357. Inquiries can also be emailed to covid@smallbusinessbc.ca.
View the Free Shopify Webinar 

 

The Columbia Basin Trust will provide low-interest loans through the new Small Business Working Capital Loan program to local small businesses in the Columbia Basin to help them meet their immediate needs. They will also increase support to existing programs.

 

Community Futures – Emergency Loans and Business Advice
Small businesses operating in rural communities may also check with their local Community Futures office for emergency loans and business advice.

 

 

Federal Support for Individuals:

 

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. Learn more about the Canada Recovery Benefit. If you are eligible for a new EI claim starting March 15, 2020 or after, your EI Regular and Sickness benefits will be delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Find answers to your questions by contacting 1-833-966-2099.

 

If you are eligible for a new EI claim starting March 15, 2020 or after, your EI Regular and Sickness benefits will be delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Find answers to your questions about your benefit by contacting 1-833-966-2099. If you were eligible for EI before March 15, 2020 or you are applying for EI Maternity, Parental, Fishing, Compassionate care and Family caregiver benefits, you should contact the EI call centre at 1-800-206-7218.

 

Eligible recipients will receive $300 more per child with their regular May CCB payment. If you have previously applied for the CCB, you do not need to re-apply. For more information on the Canada Child Benefit such as how to apply and eligibility requirements, go to Canada child benefit or call 1-800-387-1193.

 

Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans
All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause. This moratorium applies to the federal portion of student loans. Borrowers should check with their provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion. Go to the NSLSC or CALSC website for more details.

 

The Government of Canada is providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low and modest income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

 

Personal Income Tax Filing Deadline Deferred to June 1, 2020
The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or installments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.

 

Contact Financial Institutions for Mortgage Support
Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. You are encouraged to visit your bank’s website for the latest information, rather than calling or visiting a branch.

Reduced Minimum Withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds

The Government of Canada has reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020.

 

COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad

Canadians, and, in exceptional circumstances, Canadian permanent residents, outside the country who are directly impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for an emergency repayable loan to facilitate their return to Canada and to cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return. Each application will be assessed according to their specific situation and needs. This emergency assistance is a repayable loan.

 

Federal Support for Business:

 

COVID-19 Small Business Help Centre

Bank of Canada Actions during COVID-19 Pandemic

Government of Canada Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

 

 

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The subsidy covers 75% of an employee’s wages – up to $847 per week – for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May. The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Employers eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay. For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for a period, any benefit from the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period will generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

 

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

We intend to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses that, will seek to provide loans and/or forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership with provincial and territorial governments who are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.

 

Temporary wage subsidy for employers: CRA and COVID-19

The Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

 

You are an eligible employer if you are a(n):

  • individual (excluding trusts), partnership, non-profit organization, registered charity, or Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation) eligible for the small business deduction;
  • have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
  • pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.

Note: Partnerships are only eligible for the subsidy if their members consist exclusively of individuals (excluding trusts), registered charities, or Canadian-controlled private corporations eligible for the small business deduction.

 

Extending the Work-Sharing program

Work-Sharing (WS) is a program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. The program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada is extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19. Contact to learn more in Canada and the United States: Toll-free: 1-800-367-5693

 

Business Income Taxes Deadline Extensions

The Government of Canada is allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

 

Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments until June

The Government of Canada is allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the GST/HST, as well as customs duty owing on their imports. Any GST/HST payment that becomes owing from March 27 until the end of May can be deferred until the end of June. For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, deferral will include amounts owing for March, April and May. These amounts were normally due to be submitted to the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency as early as the end of March 2020.

 

Establishing a Business Credit Availability Program

The Government of Canada has established a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $40 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). BDC and EDC are working with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation, exports and tourism.

 

This program includes:

• Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.

• Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program. These programs will roll out in mid-April, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

 

Canada Emergency Business Account

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.

 

Relief for federally regulated pension plan sponsors

The Government of Canada is providing immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans.

 

Export Development Canada (EDC)

Export Development Canada (EDC) has enhanced financing and insurance programs to ensure that impacted exporters have access to the credit and support they need.

 

Federal Support for Industries:

 

Increasing credit available for agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is offering loan payment deferrals and other financing products to the agriculture and food industry.

 

Support for airports

The Government of Canada is waiving ground lease rents from March 2020 through to December 2020 for the 21 airport authorities that pay rent to the federal government.

 

Keeping workers in the food supply chain safe

The Government of Canada is providing $50 million to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. They will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory isolation.

 

Support for broadcasters

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will not issue letters requesting payment for Part I licence fees by broadcasters for the 2020–21 fiscal year. The Government of Canada will provide the CRTC with an equivalent amount to the waived Part I licence fees to support CRTC’s operations.

 

Support for tourism operators

The Government of Canada will work with tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas to defer payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation without interest until September 1, 2020.

 

Industries may also qualify for these programs: