B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
Fraud Alert: We will not contact you by text message. If you receive a text about the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, it may be fraud. If you’re not sure, call or email us directly.
You may qualify for the $1,000 tax-free, one-time benefit. Call us if you have any questions, if you need help applying, or to find out if you are eligible for the benefit. Translation services are available to help you.
Apply now for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.
Last updated: September 30, 2020
On this page:
- Find out if you're eligible
- What you need to apply
- How eligibility requirements have changed
- Apply now
- Supporting documents
- Penalties and interest
- Find out about other benefits
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is now available to eligible B.C. residents who stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 between March 1 and 14, 2020.
Expanding the eligibility addresses a gap and ensures that people who submitted COVID-19-related employment insurance claims between March 1 and March 14 can get the support they need.
If you’ve already received or been approved for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, you can’t apply for a second payment under the expanded benefit. If you haven’t applied yet, find out if you’re eligible below.
To be eligible for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- You lost your employment or self-employment income on or after March 15, 2020, and
- You are eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for any payment period between March 15, 2020 and September 26, 2020, and
- You have not repaid nor are you required to repay all of the CERB benefits
- You lost your employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days that began between March 1, 2020 and March 14, 2020, and
- During those 14 consecutive days, you did not earn:
- more than $1,000 in combined employment or self-employment income
- allowances, money or other benefits under a provincial plan because of pregnancy or for the care of your new-born or newly adopted child, and
- You have earned employment or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to March 15, 2020
Example: If you were laid off on March 10, 2020, so that the first day you lost income was March 11, 2020, the 14 consecutive days referred to above would mean March 11 to 24, 2020.
In addition to either option above, you must also:
- Be a resident of B.C. on March 15, 2020
- Have filed or agree to file a 2019 B.C. income tax return before January 1, 2021
(CRA has helpful resources for preparing to file)
- Have not received provincial Income Assistance or provincial Disability Assistance
- Have not been incarcerated in a provincial or federal correctional facility for a period of 90 days or longer that includes March 15, 2020
- Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), Individual Tax Number (ITN) or Temporary Tax Number (TTN)
- Have not quit your job voluntarily
- Be at least 15 years old on the date you apply
If you receive a B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers payment and we later determine that you weren’t eligible for it, you may be required to repay it with penalties and interest. Learn more about repayments.
The original B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers announced on May 1, 2020, followed the same federal eligibility requirements as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is now expanded to include two weeks where the CERB wasn’t available.
If you're eligible for and receive at least one CERB payment and then return to work, you may still be eligible for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, provided you’re not required to repay the CERB benefit. You must still meet all other eligibility criteria in one of the two options above.
Your Social Insurance Number
When you apply, we'll need your Social Insurance Number (SIN), Individual Tax Number (ITN), or Temporary Tax Number (TTN) to verify your eligibility.
Your direct deposit information
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will only be issued by direct deposit, ensuring you receive the benefit as soon as possible.
Obtain your direct deposit information before the application period begins. The image below shows how to find the relevant numbers on a cheque.
If you don't use cheques, contact your financial institution to get the numbers. It's important to enter your bank account information correctly.
The $1,000 payment will be made by direct deposit to your personal bank account within 10 business days.
An approved Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
If you haven’t applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit yet, you must apply for it now as this is one of the eligibility requirements for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, unless you stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 between March 1 and 14, 2020.
If you are unsure if your EI claim has been automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you can confirm two ways:
- Log in to your My Service Canada Account and check the “View My Latest Claim” section of the Employment Insurance tab to confirm that:
- Your start date was March 15, 2020 or later, and
- The benefit type is Regular, Sickness, or CERB benefit
- Call Service Canada at 1-833-966-2099
You have until December 2, 2020 to apply. Payments are generally made within 10 business days after your application is approved. We'll notify you by email when your payment has been processed.
Documentation isn't required when you apply. However, all applications will be verified and we may ask you for proof of your eligibility at a later date.
If you haven’t been notified within 30 days about the status of your application, please email EBWSupport@gov.bc.ca.
Applying online is safe, secure and only takes minutes.
- You can apply anytime, from anywhere, using any device, including your smart phone
- Applying online is the fastest way to get your benefit
- Your personal information is protected and secure when you apply
- When you enter your address, you’ll be asked for a valid postal code. If the application doesn’t find a verified address for you, click or tap the red “Unverified” button to continue.
- If your mailing address and residential address are the same, you can choose to continue with both addresses unverified.
- When you enter your bank account number, enter only the numbers. Do not add dashes, dots or other characters.
You can apply by telephone with the help of our agents. Translation services are available to help you.
If you apply by phone, we will complete the application with you over the phone and give you a confirmation number when you’re done.
We anticipate high call volumes and strongly recommend applying online if you can.
Call us Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:00pm:
If we need more information from you to process your application, you will receive an email or phone call from us.
If we request supporting documents to verify your eligibility, you can send them to us electronically using our secure online service.
Beware of Fraud
If we need to contact you about your application, we'll quote the confirmation number or case ID that you received when you completed your application. We'll never contact you about your application by text message or ask you to provide your Social Insurance Number over the phone or by email. If you’re not sure, call or email us directly.
Reasons you might need to repay the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers could include:
- You applied for the worker benefit and later realized you weren’t eligible
- You didn’t apply for the worker benefit and you received a payment in error
- You received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit but you weren’t eligible for it
- You received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and were later transferred to another program such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and had to repay all the CERB payments
If you need to repay the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, here’s how.
The fastest and easiest way is to have your financial institution return the payment. You will need to provide your financial institution with:
- the deposit date
- the deposit amount ($1,000)
- the payor name “Prov of BC”
- the account number that the payment was deposited into
If your financial institution can’t return the payment, you can mail us a cheque made payable to the Minister of Finance to:
B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
Ministry of Finance
PO Box 9471 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9N9
If you send us a cheque, include either:
- Your confirmation number from your application, or
- If you didn’t apply for the worker benefit and received a payment in error, a note that states you didn’t apply for the benefit
If your cheque is from a different account from the one the payment was deposited into, also include the account information where the payment was deposited so we can mark the payment as returned.
You must notify us within 30 days if any of the following situations apply to you after you applied for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers:
- You found out you weren’t eligible for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers for any reason
- You received a notice that you weren’t entitled to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- You were notified that you had to repay all the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) you received
- You repaid all the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
You can notify us by phone, email or mail. Please quote your confirmation number or case ID.
A penalty of $10 per day to a maximum of $250 may be charged if you fail to notify us.
You may be charged interest on:
- Amounts of the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers that you have to repay, and
- Any related penalties
To provide relief for B.C. residents affected by COVID-19, interest won’t be charged until after September 30, 2020.
A $3,000 penalty for gross negligence may be charged if you knowingly, or under circumstances amounting to gross negligence, make false statements that result in (or that would have resulted in) any individual receiving a payment for which the individual is not eligible.
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is designed to complement other federal and provincial supports available for people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you haven’t applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit yet, find out about the federal benefit.