To Jane’s RMT Community in BC:
This list offers a quick set of 3 forms of governmental relief available to RMTs due to COVID-19.
Please note: We will update this page with new content whenever possible.
April 6 - Canada CERB Portal
The portal for accessing the CERB is at Canada.ca where Canadians can apply, enter direct deposit information, and start receiving $2,000 per month for 4 months within 10 days.
New aid coming for contract workers
April 1 Update - BC Hydro Relief
- BC Hydro offers 3-month payment relief if your business has to close because of COVID-19.
Top 3 Tips for Income Relief from BC
1. Get $1,000 from B.C.’s Emergency Benefit
Of the $2.8 billion allocated to ensure people have the services and support they need during COVID-19, the B.C. government is dedicating $1.1 billion to boost the income of people affected.
A new B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak. The benefit will be a one-time payment for those who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit or Emergency Support Benefit as a result of COVID-19 impacts.
Employees: To qualify and apply, you’ll need to follow the Regular EI Process if you are an employee.
Self Employed: You will be able to apply for the Emergency Care or Emergency Support Benefit in April. When that happens, Canadians will be able to apply for them through CRA MyAccount or My Service Canada Account or by calling a toll-free number that has not yet been made public. If you do not yet have an online account, the sign up process can take a few days, so you could start the process by opening your CRA MyAccount now.
This benefit will include workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centres and schools are closed, and those caring for sick family members, such as an elderly parent. The workers can be EI-eligible and non-EI eligible, such as the self-employed.
The benefit will be paid to B.C. residents, in addition to their federal income supports.
2. BC Climate Action Tax Credit
The COVID-19 Action Plan takes further steps to boost income supports by increasing and expanding the B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit in July 2020.
The Climate Action Tax Credit is available to those who earn below a certain threshold and you automatically apply when you file your taxes. You don’t have to do anything special to apply other than to file your taxes Learn more about the Climate Action Tax Credit here.
As many as 86% of British Columbians will see some extra money from this enhancement. Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment. This boosts the regular climate action tax credit payment of up to $112.50 per family of four and up to $43.50 per adult.
3. The BC government announced a 50% in tax reductions for 2020 commercial property taxes
Business and light- and major-industry property classes will see their school (property) tax cut in half. This will provide $500 million in immediate relief for business that own their property and allow commercial landlords to immediately pass savings on to their tenants in triple-net leases.
RMT’s can review their lease agreements on their commercial properties and if they are in a triple net lease (which are the most common form of commercial leases), can pass this knowledge on to landlords as they negotiate rental payments during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those in a triple net lease are responsible for paying the real cost of property taxes and therefore should see a 50% reduction in the property tax portion of their payment, or even a credit from their January and February payments.
Landlords might find it helpful to read BC’s plan for School Tax Reduction by 50%.
More Information on BC Options
Payment Deferral Programs
British Columbians needing more time to pay their bills can also apply to existing payment deferral programs.
ICBC is extending deferrals to up to 90 days.
People dealing with job loss, illness or loss of wages due to COVID-19 may also qualify for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund grant program for up to $600.
April 1 Update: if your business closes due to COVID-19, BC Hydro is offering 3 months of payment relief. More information at BC Hydro.
- The big 6 banks in Canada are also offering mortgage deferral programs - each bank has it’s own process and you need to contact them directly to learn more and to apply.
Tax Filing Deadlines Extended
In addition to the employer health tax, the Province is extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax until Sept. 30, 2020.
- The one-week waiting period to apply for EI has been waived if you are under quarantine (effective as of March 15).
- The requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI has been waived if you qualify for the EI Sickness Benefit.
- The government will also be freezing any loan payments for students as another form of relief and support.
Tax Filing Flexibility
The deadline to file has been extended to June 1, 2020 - but be sure to file now if you are expecting a tax return and to take advantage of the tax credits mentioned in this article.
More info at: Canada Federal Tax Flexibility
Federal Programs Available in BC
A 75% wage subsidy will be available to qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales and will be shared before the end of the month.
For those companies experiencing a decrease in revenues of at least 30 per cent, the government will cover up to 75 per cent of a salary on the first $58,700, which could mean payments of up to $847 a week. The prime minister also encouraged businesses to top up their employees wages with the remaining 25 per cent of their salaries.
Federal CERB: Canadian Emergency Response Benefit
CERB is a taxable benefit that gives $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to workers who lose their income because of COVID-19. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April, and Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application.
More details on federal wage subsidy and CERB can be found at our Canadian Clinic Small Business Response Plan.