B.C. Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James in the legislature, Oct. 16, 2018. (Hansard TV)

B.C. announces $5 billion financial relief for COVID-19 pandemic

Renters, small business to get assistance quickly, John Horgan says

The B.C. government has announced a $5 billion aid package for individuals and businesses affected by the economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, Premier John Horgan says.

Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James announced their package March 23, saying $2.8 billion will go to people, and $2.2 billion will go to small businesses, with payments flowing even as the details of the programs are worked out.

It includes aid for renters so no one will be evicted due to the coronavirus measures that have shut down much of the economy, Horgan said. It also includes $1.7 billion for additional health care to deal with the illnesses as a result of the virus.

James said the B.C. benefit will include a one-time $1,000 tax-free benefit to people who are unable to work, including those who are eligible for Employment Insurance and other federal aid. Application will be simple, with everyone who qualifies for expanded EI payments also eligible for the B.C. payments, which are targeted to begin in May.

“We know that there are people now who are unable to work and pay their rent and bills,” James said.

Horgan said renter evictions that were already in progress will continue, but “no one will lose their apartment because of COVID-19.” B.C. Housing has suspended evictions from its provincially subsidized housing.

RELATED: B.C. screening care home workers daily after outbreaks

RELATED: B.C. reports three more deaths, but 100 people recovered

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. is allowing for monthly vehicle insurance payments to be deferred up to 90 days, and B.C. Hydro is making available payment deferrals and access to its emergency fund that pays eligible customers up to $600 to keep their power on.

A range of provincial tax payments are being delayed until Sept. 30 for businesses who collect them, including sales tax, fuel and tobacco tax revenue. B.C.’s next carbon tax increase, set for April 1, is also delayed until next September.

James said $500 million has also been earmarked to cover urban commercial property taxes to help businesses recover and get through the year as their business recovers. The finance ministry has allotted $1.5 billion to help businesses recover once the pandemic subsides.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

75-year-old woman rescued from near-drowning in Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

Paramedics called to Oak Bay golf course as man crashes bike into sand trap

Oak Bay police respond to social distance concerns

Island liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

Friends, family suprise Current Swell singer and new wife with socially distant wedding

‘We just thought we were going over there to have a glass of champagne and do some paperwork’

Man charged after Langford shooting last year sentenced to 4.5 years

Justin Lemmen found guilty of firearms offenses

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

Saanich moves forward with summer camp registration despite COVID-19

District to give full refunds if camps are cancelled

Vancouver Island teen earns $100,000 commerce scholarship to the University of Calgary

Matias Totz is graduating from St. Michaels University School

COVID-19: Vancouver Island man forges hearts for his community

Dave Kasprick has already given out approximately 400, plans to make it 600

After 37 years, Campbell River Arts Council annual members’ show goes online

38th Annual Members Show shifted from physical gallery to website

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Most Read