B.C. Emergency benefit for workers

Last updated on February 23, 2024

The B.C. emergency benefit for workers provided a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment to B.C. residents whose ability to work was affected due to COVID-19. The application period closed on December 2, 2020. Applications are no longer being accepted.

Did you receive a Notice of Redetermination?
Do you need to send us documents? You can upload and send them to us using our secure online document service. Please provide your DRF account number or Letter ID from the top of your notice when you’re using this service. 

Find out how you can pay your notice. If you want to pay using your online banking, find out how to add us as a payee.

Budget 2024 proposes to extend the determination period for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers if a Notice of Redetermination was issued after October 23, 2023. 

On this page

Audits

We may redetermine your eligibility for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers through an audit or from information received from the Government of Canada. An audit is a check of your eligibility to receive the B.C. emergency benefit for workers. If you’re selected for an audit, you’ll be contacted by mail.

If you have documents supporting your eligibility, you can send them to us using our secure online document service or by mail to:

B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
Ministry of Finance
PO Box 9471 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9N9

If you have questions about the documentation you can provide to support your eligibility, contact us toll free at 1-844-248-6638.

Learn more about your rights and what to expect when you interact with us.

Ineligible applicants

If you applied for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers and we later determine that you were not eligible, we will issue you a Notice of Determination or Redetermination. If you were already issued a payment, you will be required to pay it back (repay). Interest and penalties may apply in certain circumstances.

Your notice will include the reasons why you are not eligible for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers payment, as well as a breakdown of any penalties or interest charged.

See the back of your notice for more information, including the different payment methods available.

How to repay

You can repay:

  • Through online bill payment service with your financial institution, or
  • By mail

Online bill payment service

If you have online banking, you can use your financial institution’s online bill payment service to make a repayment. To do this, you need to add a payee to your account and enter your DRF account number.

  • The payee to add is BC STMT OF ACCT
    Note: If you’re unable to find the payee by searching ‘BC STMT OF ACCT’, try searching only one of the terms, such as ‘BC’ or ‘ACCT’
  • The account number to add is the DRF number on your correspondence. Enter the letters DRF followed by the 8 numbers of the account. Depending on your online banking, you may need to enter the account number as DRF-XXXX-XXXX or DRFXXXXXXXX

Follow the instructions within your online banking account to add the payee ‘BC STMT OF ACCT’ and make the payment. 

If you’re still unable to find or add the payee, contact your financial institution for assistance.

By mail

You can mail 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 repay by cheque, include:

  • Your confirmation number from your application, or
  • If you’ve received a notice from us, your account number from the top of the notice (for example, DRF-XXXX-XXXX)

If your cheque is from an account different from the one the payment was deposited into, include:

  • The account information for where the payment was deposited, or
  • If you’ve received a notice from us, your account number from the top of the notice (for example, DRF-XXXX-XXXX)

If you did not apply for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers but received a payment in error:

  • Include a note that states you did not apply for the benefit

Interest and penalties

You may be charged interest on:

  • Amounts of the B.C. emergency benefit for workers that you must repay, and
  • Any related penalties

To provide relief for B.C. residents affected by COVID-19, interest was not charged until after September 30, 2020.

Penalties 

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 were not eligible for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers for any reason
  • You received a notice that you were not entitled to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit (EI-ERB)
  • You were notified that you had to repay all the CERB or EI-ERB you received
  • You repaid all the CERB or EI-ERB you received

You can notify us by phone, email or mail. Please quote your confirmation number or DRF account number or Letter ID.

A penalty of $10 per day to a maximum of $250 may be charged if you do not notify us.

A $3,000 penalty for gross negligence may also 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.

Decision reviews and appeals

You can ask that your concerns, disagreements or complaints be reviewed in a timely manner and in accordance with the taxpayer fairness and service code

If you disagree with our determination that you are ineligible for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers, please provide any supporting documentation that shows you met the eligibility criteria, and we will review those documents. You must meet the eligibility criteria for us to approve your application. 

If you feel you have been treated unfairly, or have received information which you believe is incorrect, we encourage you to discuss your concerns with the person you have been dealing with, as they will have the most knowledge of your situation. This ministry contact can help explain other dispute resolution options that may be available to you.

If you still have questions or concerns, ask your ministry contact to give you the name and contact information of their manager. 

Learn more about your rights and what to expect when you interact with us

Appeals

You cannot appeal your eligibility for the benefit or interest charged on amounts you must repay.

However, if you disagree with a penalty charged on your benefit, you may appeal to the Minister. Your appeal must be postmarked by Canada Post or faxed within 90 days from the date on the Notice of Determination or Redetermination you’re appealing.

You should pay the amount due on your notice even if you're filing an appeal. If you do not pay, you'll continue to be charged interest and may be subject to collection action.

Reconsiderations

Budget 2021 introduced repayment relief for self-employed individuals who received the B.C. emergency benefit for workers if they would have qualified for the benefit or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) based on their gross income. This mirrors a federal change to the CERB.

If you received the B.C. emergency benefit for workers but repaid it because you thought you were ineligible, you can request that we reconsider your application if:

  • You were self-employed
  • You filed your 2019 tax return before January 1, 2021
  • You filed your 2020 tax return before January 1, 2023
  • You repaid the B.C. emergency benefit for workers believing you did not meet the federal income amount requirement for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit (EI-ERB), and either:
    • You would have qualified for the the CERB or the EI-ERB based on your gross self-employment income, rather than your net self-employment income, or
    • You would have qualified for the CERB or the EI-ERB if that benefit had been available between March 1 and March 14, 2020

Request a reconsideration

To request reconsideration, upload a letter using our secure online document service that includes:

  • Your name
  • A statement indicating you are requesting reconsideration based on your gross income
  • Your confirmation number or case number

Reconsideration example

You are a self-employed personal trainer. Your 2019 gross self-employment income was $5,600. Your net self-employment income was $4,200. 

You lost your income because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 10, 2020. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) did not include the period prior to March 15, but the B.C. emergency benefit for workers did. 

You applied for and received the B.C. emergency benefit for workers, thinking you would have met all of the criteria for the CERB, had it been available. Later, you learned that you had misreported your income based on the original criteria for the CERB and you paid back the amount you received to the ministry. 

If you had calculated your income for the program based on your gross (not net) self-employment income, you would have qualified for the CERB, had it been available prior to March 15, 2020. 

You can request we reconsider your B.C. emergency benefit for workers application. 

 Eligibility requirements 

If you’ve received a Notice of Determination or Redetermination, you may wish to review the eligibility requirements.

To have been eligible for the B.C. emergency benefit for workers, you must have met all of the following requirements:

Either:

  • You lost your employment or self-employment income on or after March 15, 2020, and
  • You were eligible and approved for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Employment Insurance Emergency Response Benefit (EI-ERB) for any payment period between March 15, 2020 and September 26, 2020, and
  • You have not repaid or are not required to repay all of the CERB or EI-ERB benefits

Or:

  • 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 earned employment or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to March 15, 2020

For 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 have also:

  • Been a resident of B.C. on March 15, 2020
  • Filed a 2019 B.C. income tax return before January 1, 2021
  • Not received provincial Income Assistance or provincial Disability Assistance
  • Not been incarcerated in a provincial or federal correctional facility for a period of 90 days or longer that includes March 15, 2020
  • Had a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), Individual Tax Number (ITN) or Temporary Tax Number (TTN)
  • Not quit your job voluntarily
  • Been at least 15 years old on the date you applied

Legislation

Contact Information

Contact us with your questions Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:20 pm.

In Canada, Toll Free
1-844-248-6638
Mailing
B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
Ministry of Finance
PO Box 9471 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9N9