COVID-19 Financial Supports
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
If you are a West Bench Water System rate payer, you have already received your first 2020 quarterly bill via email or you will receive your bill in the mail this week. I spoke with our Chief Financial Officer today and he has confirmed that if your current economic situation makes it difficult for you to pay your balance in full, instalments can be made up until December 31, 2020, at either your financial institution or directly on the RDOS website. No late fees or penalties will apply but please do call the RDOS (250-492-0237) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you need a bit of time. I am sorry that I didn't catch this before the bills were sent out so please pass this information on to anyone living on the West Bench. Thank you.
Sage Mesa and Faulder Water System rate payers - I am looking at ways to extend support to you as well. I will update as soon as I have more information.
Below is a summary of supports that are available to BC residents and businesses during the pandemic. I will try to update as more information comes forward. Please subscribe to the blog if you want to be notified when updates are made. If you have updates that should be on the list, please send them my way. email@example.com Also if you come across a broken link, please let me know.
Just announced a customer recovery fund. Customers can qualify to have their bill payments deferred from April 1 to June 30. Repayments will be interest free. Small businesses may qualify for bull credits if they have been forced to close.
BC Hydro is halting all service disconnections for non-payment of bills and reducing electricity rates by 1%.
BC Hydro COVID-19 Relief Fund applies a 3-month credit to your BC Hydro account for eligible customers (avg credit will be $477). Applications will be accepted until June 30 (no rush to apply). Apply online.
BC Hydro COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program offers bill deferral and payment plans for customers struggling due to impacts of COVID-19. Customer Assistance: Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO
BC Hydro: Customer Crisis Fund is an existing program that grants of up to $600 off your energy bill. Apply online.
Freeze on rental rates - no rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1. No action required but visit for more information.
BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) will provide up to $500/month towards rent, paid directly to landlords. Applications open mid-April.
If your mortgage is CMCH - insured, mortgage payment deferrals are available. Check with your lender. More info (scroll down the linked page).
If your mortgage is non-CMHC still check with your lender about deferral options.
Existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. Call 2-1-1 for information.
Existing EI benefit continues to be available. Provides up to$573/week to people who have lost income.
However, those who qualify for the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) may wish to apply for the CERB instead. CERB provides $2000/month to workers who lose income due to COVID-19 including contractors and self-employed. Remember that this is a taxable benefit.
EI Sickness Benefit One-week waiting period has been waived. Call 1-833-381-2725 or apply online.
BC Emergency Benefit One-time additional tax-free payment of $1000 to those on EI or CERB.
GST-credit - a one-time boost of up to $600 per eligible couple, $400 for eligible individuals in April. Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return.
Climate Action Tax Credit a one-time boost of up to $564 for eligible families of 4 and $218 for eligible individuals in an enhanced payment in July. Children under 18 years old must be registered for the Canada Child Benefit to qualify. No other action is needed. Canada Child Benefit - a one-time boost of $300 per child in May. No action if you are already registered for CCB. Otherwise apply online.
Youth in Care Youth in care will not age out of services during the pandemic. Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program payments will continue despite school closures and training interruptions.
Student emergency assistance Students at public post-secondary institutions can apply for non-repayable emergency assistance that can be used to help with a broad range of costs, including living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are not already able to study remotely.
Full exemption of CERB or EI for three months (no clawback).
COVID-19 crisis supplement of additional $300/month for three months for those who do not qualify for federal emergency supports like CERB or EI.
Those on BC Bus Pass Program will receive their $52 transportation supplement back in cash.
Additional $300/month boost for three months for low-income seniors who receive the B.C. Senior’s Supplement. No application needed, support boosts will be applied to payments automatically.
Existing Seniors Programs continue to be available, including:
Old Age Security (OAS):$614/mo (max)
Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS):$916/mo (max)
Allowance/Allowance for Survivor: $1389/mo (max) Eligible seniors are automatically enrolled, but applications can also be submitted online.
COST REDUCTIONS OR DEFERRALS
Hospital Parking is free of charge at all health authority owned/operated health care sites. For staff, patients, and visitors only.
ICBC - monthly payment deferral for up to 90 days with no penalty.Call 1-800-665-6442 or apply online.
BC Transit - fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required.
Emergency Child Care Funding - child care providers receiving emergency government funding cannot charge parent fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve spaces for families, starting April. Check with your provider to see if they are in this program.
BC Student Loans six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.
Canada Student Loans - six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.
Registered Retirement Income Funds(RRIFs)Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020.Learn more here.
Emergency Travel Loan Emergency loan of $5000 available to Canadians travelling abroad.Dial +1 613-996-8885 or send an email.
Income tax return - filing due date is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31.
Covid-19 Supports for Businesses in BC check list
Fortis BC just announced a customer recovery fund. Customers can qualify to have their bill payments deferred from April 1 to June 30. Repayments will be interest free. Small businesses may qualify for bull credits if they have been forced to close.
BC Hydro: Relief Fund Small businesses that needed to close due to COVID-19 may be eligible to have business’ electricity use charges waived for up to three months through the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Applications will be accepted between April 13 – June 30 (no rush to apply).
BC Hydro: Customer Assistance ProgramCOVID-19 Customer Assistance Program offers bill deferral and payment plans for customers struggling due to impacts of COVID-19.Customer Assistance: Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO
WorkSafeBC -payment deadlines are postponed without penalty until June 30, except for employers that report on an annual basis (which do not need to report their 2020 payroll or pay their 2020 premiums until March 2021).
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - covers up to 75% of wages for businesses, charities, and non-profits that have lost more than 25% of their revenue. Max subsidy of $847 per week per employee, from March 15 – June 6. information.
Temporary Wage Subsidy - covers up to 10% of payroll for small businesses, not-for-profits, charities between March 18-June 19. Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for this program.You do not need to apply for this subsidy; you reduce it from remittance to the CRA.
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Financing support for small and medium-sized businesses. Available mid-April.
Canada Emergency Business Account: Loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses and not-for-profits, interest-free for one year. A portion may be forgivable. Available mid-April.
Loan Guarantee: Operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs. Available mid-April.
Co-Lending Program: 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. Available mid-April. Speak with your financial institution.
Federal income tax - payments owed are deferred until after August 31.
BC business taxes - payments for Employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax are deferred until after Sept 30.
School Tax - cut of 50% for business and industry property classes, to be passed onto tenants on triple-net leases.
GST/HSTPayments owed deferred to June 30.
Customs duties & taxesPayments owed deferred to June 30.