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

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

Fibre installation for South Hazelton begins

Citywest says it will install cable in the summer and home installations in the fall

Annual bird count thrills organizer

Count took place over 48 hours

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Major paving projects announced

Extends west of Smithers to east of Houston

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Most Read