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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 42 provides update on continued learning plan

Superintendent Sylvia Russell says staff will be in touch with Ridge Meadows students and families

LETTER: Upset by province’s stance against Lower Mainland hospice

Vocal Maple Ridge anti-MAiDs advocate opposes cancelling of contract with Delta facility

LETTER: Pandemic a little surreal for this guy

One day soon, COVID-19 will simply be a footnote: one Maple Ridge reader

GUEST VIEW: Media importance never more apparent than with COVID-19

In swan-song column, reporter Phil Melnychuk suggests more concerted PR early on might have helped

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare announces $3 million in provincial funding for Arts and Culture

Eligible clients will receive supplement of up to $15,000 in early April to help pay bills

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Most Read