COVID-19 support for individuals and families

British Columbians impacted by COVID-19 can access income supports, tax relief and direct funding from the federal and provincial governments. This list is updated on an ongoing basis. 

Last updated: February 26, 2021

I need support for:

Provincial

BC Recovery Benefit

The BC Recovery Benefit is a one-time direct deposit payment for eligible families, single parents or individuals. 
 

  • $1,000 for families and single parents with incomes under $125,000. Families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts
  • $500 for eligible individuals earning up to $62,500. Individuals earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount 

Eligibility

Adult B.C. residents and families

Apply for the benefit

 


Service BC online options 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people may wish to access more services online instead of in person. Through Service BC, people can set up a representation of their BC Services Card on their mobile device by following a few simple steps.

Once the mobile BC Services card is set up, it can be used to access a variety of online government services, without people having to appear in person or verify their identity again. 

Access the Health Gateway through the mobile card. It can be used to quickly and easily find the results of COVID-19 testing.

People can now make an appointment online before visiting Service BC. People can also call their nearest Service BC location.

Eligibility

All British Columbians and B.C. residents

Set up your mobile BC Services Card

Book a Service BC Appointment

People can get help and access government services through Service BC’s provincial contact centre from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific time), Monday to Friday (except statutory holidays):


ICBC COVID-19 rebates

ICBC customers will receive a one-time rebate averaging $190 this spring – part of $600 million saved due to a major decrease in crashes and costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rebate amount is based on a portion of what was paid for coverage and is per vehicle owned, per policy during the eligible period.

ICBC will begin mailing rebate cheques in mid-March 2021. This one-time rebate is separate from the Enhanced Care refunds customers will start to receive in May 2021.

Eligibility

Most ICBC customers with an active policy from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020

  • Exceptions include customers with short-term, storage or distance-based policies, whose premiums already reflect lower usage

Learn more about ICBC’s COVID-19 response


ICBC payment deferral

ICBC clients currently on a monthly Autoplan can defer their payments for up to 90 days with no penalty.

Eligibility

Residential and commercial customers currently on a monthly Autoplan payment

Businesses with commercial and fleet vehicles

Apply for ICBC payment deferral online

Learn more about COVID-19 and ICBC services


BC Hydro bill payment support

Residential customers experiencing a temporary financial crisis who have fallen behind on their bill payments may be eligible for a grant of up to $600 from BC Hydro's Customer Crisis Fund.

BC Hydro encourages anyone struggling to pay their bill to reach out to its customer support team to set up a flexible, catch-up payment plan.

Visit the BC Hydro Customer Updates page for details on what bill payment relief and grants may be available.

Eligibility

British Columbians who are customers of BC Hydro

Set up a payment plan online through MyHydro or by calling 1-800-224-9376

 

Federal

Crisis texting service for kids of CAF families

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful event for individuals and families. Children and youth from military families across Canada can access a 24/7 confidential, free texting service for mental health and wellbeing support in both English and French.

Eligibility

Children, youth and young adults from Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) families

See more details on the Crisis Text Line


Provincial 

Child care referrals

Many parents are now returning to work and once again require child care. If your child care provider does not have available space, you can use the online Child Care Referral Service or contact your local child Care Resource and Referral Centre to find local child care options..

Eligibility

Parents who need child care for children aged infant to 12 years old

Learn more about the Child Care Referral Service


Wellness and mental health programs 

Free and low-cost counselling services are available online, by video and phone through programs such as BounceBack, Living Life to the Full, Here2Talk, Foundry's virtual services and more, for anyone who needs someone to talk to.

Eligibility

Students, parents and educators

Find free and low-cost mental health supports


COVID-19 supports for youth in care and in the AYA program

Youth currently living in foster care, contracted residential agencies or with relatives through the extended family program are able to stay past their 19th birthday, until March 31, 2022.

As well, youth in the Independent Living Agreements and Youth Agreements programs will continue to receive financial support past their 19th birthday, until March 31, 2022.

The Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program offers access to mental health supports, including cultural healing and wellness. The program also offers life skills programs for eligible young adults from the age of 19 up until their 27th birthday. More flexible criteria for accessing these programs will be in place until September 30, 2021.

Eligibility

Youth in care or foster care and young adults who have “aged out" of care

Independent living and youth agreements will be extended, and participants in the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program can continue to receive funding.

Learn more about COVID-19-related supports for youth in care or in the AYA program

Learn more about the AYA program


Kids Help phone line

Young people can call the Kids Help phone line to access the mental health support they need during this difficult time.

Eligibility

Young people in British Columbia

Learn how the Kids Help phone line can help or reach a professional counsellor 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868


Family Caregivers of B.C.

Family Caregivers of B.C. supports people who are caring for elderly loved ones, family or friends. Services include

  • Toll-free support line hours
  • Virtual connections to bring caregivers together
  • Emotional supports
  • Health care navigation

Eligibility

Caregivers in British Columbia

Access Family Caregivers of B.C. services

 

Federal

First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day

First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day enables Indigenous people with limited or no access to their own doctors to make virtual appointments. 

  • If you do not have a doctor of your own, or have lost access due to the COVID-19 pandemic, call 1-855-344-3800 to book an appointment
  • Medical Office Assistants are available to help you seven da​ys per week from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Eligibility

Indigenous people in B.C. and their family members

See more about Virtual Doctor of the Day


First Nations Finance Authority funding 

First Nations with existing loans under the First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA) will receive interest payment relief as a result of $17.1 million in support from the Government of Canada.

This funding will directly help First Nations to maintain financial stability and lessen the economic impacts of COVID-19, as well as allocate financial resources to other critical needs during this crisis. 

Eligibility

First Nations with existing loans under the FNFA

Contact the FNFA for more details


Provincial

BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres funding

Friendship centres throughout B.C. provide many essential services for Indigenous peoples, including child care, counselling, food and shelter.

One-time COVID-19 relief funding of $7.8 million that will help friendship centres continue to assist individuals, young families, single parents, youth and Elders through a mix of in-person and online services. Announced December 11, 2020.

 

Federal 

Canada Recovery Benefit

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support. This benefit supports people who have stopped working due to COVID-19 or whose income has dropped by 50% or more.

Eligibility

Workers who

  • Have earned at least $5,000 (before deductions) in 2019, 2020 or in the 12 months prior to applying
  • Are available and looking for work and must accept work when it is reasonable to do so
  • Have not received, for the same period, more than one recovery benefit, Employment Insurance benefit or workers’ compensation benefit

Apply online through the Canada Revenue Agency My Account portal or by calling toll free: 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041

Learn more about the CRB 


Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for eligible people unable to work because they must care for a child under 12 years old or other family member requiring supervised care, who is unable to attend their school or regular care facility due to COVID-19.

Eligibility

Workers who

  • Have earned at least $5,000 (before deductions) in 2019, 2020 or in the 12 months prior to applying
  • Have not received, for the same period, more than one recovery benefit, Employment Insurance benefit or workers’ compensation benefit

Learn more about the CRCB


Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Eligibility

Workers who

  • Have earned at least $5,000 (before deductions) in 2019, 2020 or in the 12 months prior to applying
  • Have not received, for the same period, more than one recovery benefit, Employment Insurance benefit or workers’ compensation benefit

Learn more about the CRSB


Flexible and accessible employment insurance

On September 27, 2020, the federal government transitioned from the CERB to a flexible and more accessible EI program.

EI is now available to those who would not have qualified for EI in the past. Canadians receiving EI are eligible for a taxable benefit at a rate of at least $500 per week, or $300 per week for extended parental benefits.

Canadians claiming EI benefits for job loss would be eligible for at least 26 weeks. Returning to the EI program will allow claimants to benefit from the Working While on Claim rules. These rules allow claimants to keep receiving part of their EI benefits and all their earnings from work.

Eligibility

The majority of Canadians still receiving the CERB through Service Canada who are eligible for EI will be automatically transitioned. Service Canada will contact all EI clients to confirm whether they need to apply or are being transitioned automatically.

Verify the status of your claim through your My Service Canada Account.

 

Federal

Supports for women and children fleeing violence

These are stressful and unprecedented times and the social impacts are being felt in our communities. Federal supports for women and children fleeing violence include shelters and organizations serving survivors of sexual assault and other gender-based violence.

More details

If you are in immediate danger

  • Call 911 and ask for the police, or call your community police
  • Call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808
  • Use the list below to find a transition house or safe home near you

See BC Housing's list of safe, supportive houses available 24/7 across B.C.

Learn more about the Women's Transition Housing and Supports Program

Visit the Ending Violence Association of BC to find supports in your region


Provincial

Food banks

Local food banks continue to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in their communities. Provincial funding for Food Banks British Columbia supports immediate needs to buy and distribute food, pay employees and cover essential costs.


More spaces for people leaving violence

In addition to more than 100 transition houses and safe homes that the Province funds on an ongoing basis, nearly 300 additional spaces in communities throughout B.C. have been secured for people leaving violent or unstable situations.

 

 

Renters, homeowners and landlords

Federal

Mortgage payment deferral

Homeowners can contact their bank to apply for six months of mortgage payment deferral.

Eligibility

People with mortgages

See more details about mortgage payment deferral


Provincial

Rent increase freeze

Effective immediately, the Province is extending the freeze on rent increases until July 10, 2021, under the powers of the Emergency Program Act and COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

Increases set to happen on December 1, 2020, are cancelled, along with all pending increases through to July. 

Eligibility

People who are renters, landlords

If you have questions, please contact the residential Tenancy Branch at 1-800-665-8779 or by email.

Learn more about the rent increase freeze


Protections for renters

Government put in place a repayment framework to give renters until summer 2021 to gradually pay back any unpaid rent while staying in their homes. Renters cannot be evicted for any rent unpaid between March 8, 2020 and August 17, 2020, unless they miss a payment on their repayment plan.

The following tenancy laws are currently in place:

  • Landlords with existing orders for eviction can take tenants to the courts for enforcement and can enforce a writ order effective immediately
  • Landlords can enter a rental suite with 24-hour notice and do not need the tenant’s consent. They are expected to follow health guidelines like physical distancing, cleaning and wearing masks when appropriate
  • Personal service of documents have resumed

Self-isolation spaces

BC Housing is working with regional health authorities, municipal partners and non-profit shelter and housing providers to develop community-based response plans to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes identifying locations where vulnerable individuals, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, would be able to recover and self-isolate.

As of Nov. 2, 2020, over 3,000 spaces have been secured at sites throughout B.C. to help people maintain physical distance.

Eligibility

People experiencing homelessness, people without safe spaces to self-isolate 

Access to designated spaces is by referral only. You can get a referral through your local health authority or BC Housing. Health authorities will identify people who require self-isolation and BC Housing will work with the health authorities and the operators to make these spaces available.

See more details about self-isolation spaces

 

 

Provincial

United Way funding

$50 million in funding has gone to United Way to bolster seniors’ supports in British Columbia, including services that help seniors stay in their homes, safely.

Eligibility

B.C. seniors

Access United Way Support


bc211 funding

More funding has been given to bc211, a provincewide information and referral service that matches seniors with volunteers who can help with basic needs, including grocery shopping and pharmacy drop-offs.

Eligibility

B.C. seniors

If you are senior looking for help with non-medical essentials, dial 211

Learn more about bc211

 

Provincial

Micro credentials program for B.C. post-secondary education

15 public post-secondary institutions will provide short-duration micro credentials for more than 2,000 British Columbians who need to reskill or upskill, so they can take advantage of opportunities in high-demand sectors.

Micro credentials represent an opportunity for learners to access post-secondary education or to enhance their recognized education and skills. Many micro credentials will be credited or recognized as a launching pad toward completion of longer programs.

 

 

Provincial

Job-protected leave

The Employment Standards Act has changed so workers can take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work because of COVID-19, retroactive to January 27, 2020.

 

 

Looking for financial help for your business, organization or community group? Access COVID-19 economic supports for businesses.