Financial Supports in Response to COVID-19

Last Updated: May 13, 2020

Funding for critical services is increased by $1.7 billion to support:

  • Health care pressures due to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Social services and vulnerable populations
  • Housing and shelter programs
  • First Nations Health Authority

B.C. 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 the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are eligible, including people who have run out of employment insurance (EI) benefits and now qualify for the CERB
  • People will need to state that they have filed or will file a 2019 B.C. income tax return to complete the application for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers

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)
  • People need to file their income taxes to be eligible for the B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit

Renters, Homeowners and People Experiencing Homelessness

Funding for housing supports are increased to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss.

B.C. Student Loans

Starting March 30, 2020, B.C. student loan payments are automatically frozen for six months. 

Monthly Bills

BC Hydro

  • BC Hydro rates have been reduced by 1%, effective April 1, 2020
  • BC Hydro residential customers who have lost their job or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a bill credit of three times their average monthly bill
  • Small businesses in BC Hydro’s small general service rate category forced to close due to COVID-19 can have their power bills forgiven for electricity used between April and June 2020, with no repayment required
  • Residential and commercial customers can defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty through the COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program
  • Customers experiencing job loss, illness or lost wages due to COVID-19 can access grants up to $600 to pay their hydro bills through the Customer Crisis Fund

ICBC

FortisBC

  • Residential FortisBC customers can sign up for the COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund to automatically have their bills deferred from April 1 to June 30, 2020
    • A repayment schedule, free of interest or additional fees, will be set up and payments can be spread over a full year
  • For small businesses that have been forced to close, FortisBC will issue bill credits to offset any charges to their account while they have been unable to continue operating their business as usual
  • Businesses that are still open, but facing a slowdown in revenue, will not receive bill credits but can also receive bill deferral for the same 90-day period

Tax Relief for Businesses

The following provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced:

  • Deferred Tax Payments for Businesses
  • Delayed PST Budget 2020 Tax Changes
  • Delayed Carbon Tax Increase
  • Reduced School Tax for Businesses