Government Support for Workers
COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
To help stabilize the economy during this challenging period, the Government of Canada has announced a COVID-19 Economic Response Plan with four focus areas: support for employees; support for businesses; business travel and events; and business in international markets.
Tax Reliefs, Credits and Flexibility
- Federal Tax Flexibility: Businesses can defer paying income tax until August 2020, and have access to tax advice from the Liaison Officer over the phone
- Federal Goods and Services Tax Credit: A one-time doubled payment to modest-income households by early May 2020. The average boost to those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals, and $600 for couples.
- Provincial Tax Relief: The implementation or collection of several provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced
- BC Climate Action Tax Credit: A one-time enhancement will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families
Employment and Income Support
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): Provides a taxable benefit of $2000/month for up to 4 months to workers who have lost income as a result of COVID-19. This includes parents without daycare, people in quarantine, and workers not otherwise eligible for Employment Insurance. CERB applicant portals are now OPEN and you may begin your application now. Please note workers must reapply for CERB every four weeks. New: Workers earning less than $1,000 per month, those who have exhausted EI and seasonal workers unable to find a job owing to COVID-19 are also now eligible for this program. This program replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit
- Work-Sharing program: Provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while employer recovers. Requires affected employers to apply.
- *UPDATED*: BC Emergency Benefit for Workers: Provides a tax-free one-time $1,000 payment for people whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19. *NEW* Applications are now open.
- Provincial Rental Supplement: A temporary measure to assist renters in paying a portion of their rent – up to $500 per month for three months – with the rebate to be paid directly to landlords through BC Housing. With regards to shared units, details are still forthcoming on whether the rebate will be per unit, or per tenant.
- Canada Student Loans: Placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans
- BC Student Loans: Starting March 30, 2020, B.C. student loan payment schedules are automatically frozen for six months
Other Government Measures
- Employment Insurance: The usual one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits has been waived
- Provincial Support for Renters and Landlords during COVID-19: On March 25, the Province of British Columbia announced a suite of measures to support renters and landlords like, including halting new and active evictions; freezing rent increases; restricting landlord access to tenants’ spaces.
- Know What Employees Should Do from Worksafe BC