B.C. Emergency benefit for workers
The B.C. emergency benefit for workers application is closed effective December 2, 2020.
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.
Last updated: September 18, 2022
On this page
- Supporting documents for in-progress applications
- Ineligible applicants
- Repayments, penalties and interest
- Eligibility requirements
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 or you agree to file your 2020 tax return before January 1, 2023
- You repaid the 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 if that benefit had been available between March 1 and March 14, 2020
To request reconsideration, upload a letter using our secure online service that includes:
- Your name
- A statement indicating you are requesting reconsideration based on your gross income
- Your confirmation number or case number
You are a self-employed personal trainer. Your 2019 gross self-employment income was $5,600. Your net self-employment income for $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 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.
If we need more information from you to process your application, you will receive an email or phone call from us.
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.
If we request supporting documents to verify your eligibility, you can send them to us electronically using our secure online service.
If you applied for the B.C. Emergency benefit for workers and we later determine that you weren’t eligible, we will issue you a Notice of Determination. If you were already issued a payment, you will be required to pay it back with interest. Penalties may apply in certain circumstances.
Your Notice of Determination will include the reason(s) why you weren’t eligible for the payment, as well as a breakdown of any penalties or interest charged.
Refer to the back of your notice for more information, including the different payment methods available.
You may need to repay the B.C. Emergency benefit for workers if you:
- Applied for the worker benefit and later realized you weren’t eligible
- Didn’t apply for the worker benefit and you received a payment in error
- Received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit but you weren’t eligible for it
- 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
- Did not file your 2019 B.C. income tax return before January 1, 2021
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
- The account number to add is the DRF number on your correspondence. Enter the letters DRF followed by the 8 numbers of the account in this format: DRF-XXXX-XXXX
Follow the instructions within your online banking account to add the payee ‘BC STMT OF ACCT’ and make the payment. 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’.
If you’re still unable to find or add the payee, contact your financial institution for assistance.
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
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
If you didn’t apply for the worker benefit and received a payment in error:
- Include a note that states you didn’t apply for the benefit
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 don't 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.
You will 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 wasn’t charged until after September 30, 2020.
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.
The letter you receive will outline information and documents you need to provide us. You can send us your documents using our secure online 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’ve been asked to provide, contact us at EBWSupport@gov.bc.ca or:
Learn more about your rights and what to expect when you interact with us.
If you don’t agree with a penalty that has been imposed regarding your benefit, you may appeal to the Minister. Your eligibility for the benefit cannot be appealed. You cannot appeal being charged interest on amounts you must repay.
Your notice of appeal must be postmarked by Canada Post within 90 days from the date on the Notice of Determination or Redetermination you’re appealing.
You should still pay your assessment even if you're filing an appeal. If you don't pay the assessment, you'll continue to be charged interest and may be subject to collection action.
If we’ve contacted you for further information about an application still in progress or you’ve received a Notice of Determination, 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:
- You lost your employment or self-employment income on or after March 15, 2020, and
- You were eligible 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 aren't 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 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 or agreed to file a 2019 B.C. income tax return before January 1, 2021
(CRA has helpful resources for preparing to file)
- 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