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Covid-19

COVID-19 Relief Resource -British Columbia Government Assistance

Fasken
Reading Time 9 minute read

A comprehensive overview of resources available from British Columbia’s provincial government and non-government entities, for individuals who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, in addition to federal resources.

Housing Support

  • The Residential Tenancy Act (BC) has been amended to support renters and landlords during the provincial state of emergency. Measures include temporary rental supplement, halting evictions, freezing rent increases and the availability of temporary rate adjustments. Please see COVID-19 and Residential Tenancies for more details.
  • BC Housing has temporarily suspended evictions of tenants in subsidized and affordable housing. Please see BC Housing COVID-19 Response for more details.

Financial  Support

  • The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers provides a one-time $1,000 payment for people whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. Please find information about the emergency benefit here.
  • A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families. Please find information about the climate action tax credit here.
  • The BC government has put in place new emergency measures to ensure that people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors do not encounter additional barriers. Please see COVID-19 Support for Income & Disability Assistance for details.
  • Some provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced. Please see BC Provincial Tax & Revenue Changes for details.

FortisBC

  • Residential FortisBC customers can sign up for the COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund to automatically have their bills deferred from April 1 to June 30, 2020. For small businesses that have been forced to close, FortisBC will issue bill credits to offset any charges while they have been unable to continue operating their business as usual. For details and other payment options, please see FortisBC Billing Support

BC Hydro

  • The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program provides BC Hydro customers the option to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty.
  • If you're a residential customer experiencing a temporary financial crisis, such as a loss of employment or benefit income, unanticipated medical expenses, or a death in the family and you've fallen behind on your BC Hydro bill, you may be eligible for a grant payment to avoid disconnection of your service. Please see BC Hydro Customer Crisis Fund for details.
  • For both residential and small businesses, BC Hydro is also offering three months of free credit for all qualified residential customers and small businesses. Please see BC Hydro COVID-19 Relief Fund for details.

Pacific Northern Gas (PNG)

  • Residential and small business customers impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to apply for bill deferrals for up to 3-months, between April and June 30, 2020, with repayment of the balance by March 31, 2021. Please see COVID-19 Customer Relief Program for details. 

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)

  • Customers can defer monthly payments for up to 90 days. Please see the list of affected ICBC services here.
  • For customers needing more relief than the 90-day payment deferral, ICBC will be waiving the $30 cancellation fee and $18 re-plating fee for those who choose to cancel their insurance during this time. Please see ICBC website for details.        

Health Care & Mental Health Related Support

  • British Columbia seniors, adults, youth and frontline health care workers experiencing anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic can get help through virtual services. Please see BC Mental Health Supports for details.
  • The MSP coverage wait period is now waived and temporary coverage is available. Please MSP COVID-19 Response for details.

Education Related Support

  • Effective March 30, 2020, all British Columbia student loan borrowers will temporarily have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. During this time, no payment will be required, and interest that currently applies to the federal portion of student loans will not accrue. Repayment will be paused automatically, so borrowers do not need to apply to have their repayment suspended. Please see StudentAidBC COVID-19 Information Bulletin and National Student Loans Service Centre for details.

Child Care Related Support

BRITISH COLUMBIA NON-GOVERNMENT RELIEF

Financial Institutions

Major financial institutions have all recently made a commitment to work with both personal and small business banking customers to provide financial relief on a case-by-case basis. Some of the assistance are set out below:

  • CRA Direct Deposit Enrollment: If you have lost income due to COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support. You may sign up for direct deposit from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to receive payments faster.    
  • Payment Deferrals: Deferral payments for clients in need of immediate cash-flow, including deferral for mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, loans, and fee waivers.
  • Hardship Relief: Relief to support clients facing additional pressure from illness, lost employment or unique family circumstances such as childcare disruption. Possible relief measures include reduced credit card interest, refinancing or credit restructuring, and personalized support.
  • Business Support: Relief to support business owners to alleviate financial pressures and disruption. Possible relief measures include extension of the amortization term, temporary increase to operating line limits, converting term debt to interest only, and early withdrawal from funds held in GICs.

Note that the availability and the terms of the above-noted relief measures will differ depending on your particular institution. Further, any of these measures may have substantial implications for your finances. Please refer to your institution’s website for more detailed information:

Food Banks and Other Food Related Resources

Various organizations are assisting British Columbians maintain food security in the wake of COVID-19. These initiatives include food banks, takeout meal delivery services for the elderly and disabled, and an emergency food fund. Details will vary with each resource, so please review the links below to determine eligibility and availability.

Greater Vancouver: 

Greater Victoria: 

Kelowna: 

Nanaimo:  

Kamloops: 

Prince George: 

Other Locations:  

Shelters/Housing

Various organizations are providing temporary shelter and housing to British Columbians during the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives include providing shelter to the homeless and at-risk youth, and childcare services to families that are in need. Details will vary with each resource, so please review the links below to determine eligibility and availability.

Greater Vancouver: 

  • Lookout Housing and Health Society - mixed income affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, temporary shelters
  • Raincity Housing - temporary shelters, transitional housing, long-term housing, LGBTQ2S+ housing for youth, housing for women-led families and outreach based housing programs
  • The Salvation Army Belkin House – emergency shelters and supported housing
  • Atira (women and children) – long-term and short term affordable, supported and transition housing
  • The Bloom Group (women and children) – emergency shelter and second stage housing

Greater Victoria: 

Kelowna: 

Nanaimo: 

Kamloops: 

  • ASK Wellness Society – assistance with securing-term housing and supportive and rehabilitative housing
  • Elizabeth Fry Society (women and youth) – affordable and subsidized housing, second stage housing

Prince George: 

  • Elizabeth Fry Society – affordable housing for low-income families, persons with disabilities, seniors and women leaving unsafe relationships

Mental Health Initiatives

Various organizations are providing mental health services to British Columbians during the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives include treatment service information for people experiencing problems with mental health. Details will vary with each resource, so please review the links below to determine eligibility and availability.

Telephone services across BC:  

Vancouver: 

Victoria: 

Kelowna: 

Nanaimo:  

Kamloops: 

Prince George: 

Children/Young Families Support

The organizations below provide support specifically for young families in British Columbia, including childcare support services, meal support for young children, mental health, and financial support for children and/or young families and parenting skills coaching. These organizations are listed by location. Details vary with each resource, so please review the links below to determine eligibility and availability.

Various Locations: 

Greater Vancouver:  

Greater Victoria: 

Kelowna: 

Nanaimo: 

Kamloops: 

Prince George: 

Support for Women

The organizations below provide support specifically for women, listed by location. These organizations may provide shelter, legal support, childcare, skills training, domestic intervention, and other social services. Details vary with each resource, so please review the links below to determine eligibility and availability.

Vancouver: 

Victoria: 

Kelowna: 

Kamloops: 

Prince George: 

Monthly memberships and subscriptions

Many gyms and other monthly services are offering membership freezes or refunds if the facility is closed. Please contact your particular establishment for details.