New Changes in Provincial and Federal Programs
To alleviate some of the immense financial stress on staff and medical staff during COVID-19, here is a list of resources to support your financial stability:
BC RECOVERY BENEFIT
- The BC Recovery Benefit (the benefit) is a one-time direct deposit payment for eligible families, single parents or individuals. Benefit eligibility is based on net income from your 2019 tax return. You must apply to receive the benefit.
- Online applications open on December 18, 2020. Starting December 21, agents will be available by phone to help you. Phone-based support will be available at 1–833-882-0020 toll-free, Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific time).
- The amount you’re eligible for will be automatically calculated based on your income when you apply.
- Families and single parents
- $1,000 for eligible families and single parents with a net income of up to $125,000
- Reduced benefit amount for eligible families and single parents with a net income of up to $175,000
- The benefit defines a family as an individual and their spouse or common-law partner, unless they are separated. Both people must be residents of B.C.
- The benefit defines a single parent as an individual who is the principal caregiver to at least one child.
- $500 for eligible individuals with a net income of up to $62,500
- Reduced benefit amount for eligible individuals with a net income of up to $87,500
- Determine your eligibility
- General eligibility criteria
- Generally, the benefit is available to people:
- Residing in British Columbia on December 18, 2020
- Who are at least 19 years old on December 18, 2020, or meet specific eligibility criteria
- Who filed a 2019 Canadian personal income tax return, or meet specific eligibility criteria
- Who have a valid social insurance number, individual tax number or temporary tax number
If you receive a payment and we later determine that you’re not eligible for it, you will be required to repay it.
Note: If you’re applying for the family benefit, your spouse or common-law partner must also meet the general eligibility criteria.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Provides $2000/month to workers impacted due to COVID-19, including contractors, self-employed people, seasonal workers, those whose EI benefits have recently expired, and workers making less than $1000/month from March 15 – Oct 3. Maximum benefit has been extended to 28 weeks.
The CERB will transition to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program, effective September 27, 2020, to provide income support to those who remain unable to work and are eligible, and introducing a new suite of temporary and taxable recovery benefits to further support workers.
- Reside in Canada
- Be at least 15 years old
- Have stopped working because of COVID-19 (not voluntarily quit)
- Income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of application
- Be, or expect to be, without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period
- For future benefit periods, expect to have no employment income
- Apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Employment Insurance (EI)
- Only 120 hours of work is now required to qualify
- a minimum benefit rate of $400/week has been established
- EI will provide at least 26 weeks of regular benefits
- People who have exhausted their CERB may be eligible for EI. If you filed for CERB via the CRA portal, you will need to apply to the EI program. If you filed for CERB via the Service Canada portal, you will automatically be rolled over into EI when your CERB benefits exhaust
- Click here for more information
B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
- B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers provided a one-time, tax-free payment of $1,000 to B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19.
- Payments started to be issued in May 2020 but continue to be issued. You can apply through October 2020.
- Have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020
- Meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Have been approved for the CERB, even if you haven’t received a federal benefit payment yet
- Be at least 15 years old on the date you apply
- Have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return
- Not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance
- Apply for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
BC Senior's Crisis Supplement
A $300 supplement for April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December 2020 for eligible seniors.
- B.C. seniors who receive the BC Senior's Supplement
- No application required
- See more details about the BC Senior's Supplement
Income & Disability Assistance
If you are not receiving federal Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and are on:
- Income Assistance
- Disability Assistance
- Comforts Allowance
- BC Senior's Supplement
You'll automatically receive a $300 supplement on your cheques issued in April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December. No action is required on your part. If you are receiving federal EI or the CERB and receive: Income Assistance or Disability Assistance — You will not be eligible for the $300 supplement.
One-Time Payment for Persons with Disabilities
A one-time payment of $600 will be automatically issued to eligible persons with disabilities. You do not have to apply to receive this payment
(CEWS) program provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible businesses. This program has been extended to December 19, 2020 with expanded eligibility and additional top-up supports. New: CEWS support is extended for furloughed employees for four weeks.
New recovery benefits
As the CERB begins to wind down, the Government plans to introduce a suite of 3 new recovery benefits to provide needed support to Canadians who continue to face financial hardship even as the economy starts to re-open. The 3 new benefits are:
Canada Recovery Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Benefit would be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly the self-employed and including those working in the gig economy. These individuals may still require income support if they continue to be unable to return to work due to COVID-19 or had their income reduced relative to pre-COVID-19 pandemic (attestation-based). The benefit would be available to residents in Canada who:
- are at least 15 years old and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- have stopped working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are available and looking for work; or are working and have had a reduction in their employment/self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19 are not eligible for EI had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020 and
- have not quit their job voluntarily.
Workers would apply after every 2 week period for which they are seeking income support and attest that they continue to meet the requirements. In order to continue to be eligible for the benefit the claimant wound need to look for and accept work when it is reasonable to do so. The benefit is taxable.
To encourage claimants to return to work, they would be able to earn income from employment and/or self-employment while receiving the benefit, as long as they continue to meet the other requirements. However, to ensure that the benefit targets those who need it most, claimants would need to repay some or all of the benefit through their income tax return if their annual net income, excluding the Canada Recovery Benefit payment, is over $38,000. In other words, claimants would need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for each dollar of their annual net income above $38,000 in the calendar year to a maximum of the amount of benefit they received.
This means that for a worker who received 10 weeks of the Canada Recovery Benefit in 2020 for a total of $4000, they would have to repay all of the benefit if their net income exceeded the threshold by $8000 (twice the benefit payment amount). In this example, the worker would have to repay the full benefit amount if their net income was greater than $46,000 (not including the Canada Recovery Benefit) in 2020.
The Government of Canada intends to introduce legislation to support the delivery of the new recovery benefits.
Scenario for the Canada Recovery Benefit: Self-employed worker whose business is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Ibrahim is a self-employed bookkeeper in Toronto, ON
- He earned $34,000 in 2019 but his business has slowed due to COVID-19
- Ibrahim applied for and received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) but his benefits will run out in September
- While his business has begun to rebound, it is still not business as usual and he is only back to working at 40% capacity
What could Ibrahim qualify for:
- With the Canada Recovery Benefit, he could receive $400 per week for up to 26 weeks. If his annual net income for 2020 is above $38,000 (excluding the Canada Recovery Benefit payments), he would need to repay some or all of the benefit when he files his annual income tax return for 2020
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
Note: This is a federal program not a PHC program.
The new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit would provide $500 per week, for up to 2 weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for 1 year, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. This new benefit would fulfil the Government of Canada’s commitment as part of the Safe Restart Agreement with provinces and territories to provide up to 2 weeks of sick leave to all Canadians in the context of COVID-19.
The benefit would be available to:
- residents in Canada who are at least 15 years of age and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- workers employed or self-employed at the time of the application and
- workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020
- Workers would not be required to have a medical certificate to qualify for the benefit. Workers could not claim the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and receive other paid sick leave for the same benefit period. Workers would need to have missed a minimum of 60% of their scheduled work in the week for which they claim the benefit.
- Workers would apply after the one-week period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. The benefit would taxable.
Scenario for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: Two weeks of paid leave if a minimum wage worker needs to self-isolate due to COVID-19
- Anita is working in a small grocery store in Saskatoon, SK and earns about $35,000 a year
- She has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
- She just found out she must self-isolate for 14 days as a family member has tested positive for COVID-19
- What could Anita qualify for:
- With the new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, Anita may be eligible to receive $500 per week, for up to two weeks provided that she is not in receipt of paid leave from her employer
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit, would be effective from September 27, 2020 for 1 year, and provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians.
The closure of schools and other daycare and day program facilities to prevent the spread of COVID 19 has meant that many Canadians have been unable to work because they needed to provide care to children or support to other dependents who had to stay home. While it is anticipated that facilities will gradually re-open as the economy restarts, the Government of Canada recognizes that access may vary over time and across communities. The Government is committed to ensuring that parents and others with dependents do not need to choose between caring for them and paying the bills.
In order to be eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, individuals would need to:
- reside in Canada
- be at least 15 years of age on the first day of the period for which they apply for the benefit
- have a valid Social Insurance Number
- be employed or self-employed on the day immediately preceding the period for which the application is made
- have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in 2020
- have been unable to work for at least 60% of their normally scheduled work within a given week because of one of the following conditions:
- they must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed:
- because their school or daycare is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- who cannot attend school or daycare under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19, or
- because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, or
- they must provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent:
- because their day program or care facility is closed or operates under an alternative schedule for reasons related to COVID-19
- who cannot attend their day program or care facility under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19, or
- because the caregiver who usually provides care is not available for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- they must take care of a child who is under 12 years of age on the first day of the period for which the benefit is claimed:
- not be in receipt of paid leave from an employer in respect of the same week, and
- not be in receipt of the CERB, the EI Emergency Response Benefit (ERB), the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or any EI benefits or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits in respect of the same week
Workers would apply after the period in which they are seeking income support and attest that they meet the requirements. Two members residing in the same household could not be in receipt of the benefit for the same period. The benefit is taxable.
Scenario for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit: Single father with 1 child (employed and earns $48000/year) whose school has closed
- Steve is a single father in Cranbrook, BC with a daughter aged 8
- He earns $48,000 per year
- His daughter’s school had to close for four weeks beginning October 25th due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Steve arranged with his employer to take unpaid leave from work as he doesn’t have anyone else who can take care of his child
What could Steve qualify for:
- Steve could apply for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit after each week of leave he takes to provide care for his daughter
- He could receive $500 per week, in total $2000 for the period that the school is closed
Edited from this link: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/08/supporting-canadians-through-the-next-phase-of-the-economy-re-opening-increased-access-to-ei-and-recovery-benefits.html
Federal Government announcement: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2020/08/government-of-canada-announces-plan-to-help-support-canadians-through-the-next-phase-of-the-recovery.html
Details on the new repayment framework for renters with outstanding rent from April to August 2020 are available on the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) website, with the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent ending ahead of Sept. 1.
As announced on July 16, renters will be expected to pay rent in full on Sept. 1, 2020, as the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent will end on Aug. 18. Renters in arrears from rent due during the specified period of March 18 to Aug. 17 will have until at least July 2021 to pay back any rent they owe, with the first repayments not starting until October at the earliest.
The rental framework will protect renters by ensuring they cannot be evicted for a missed or late rent payment from March 18 to Aug. 17, unless a renter defaults on their repayment plan.
The terms of the repayment plan must include:
- amount of outstanding rent;
- start date of the repayment plan;
- amount of each instalment; and
- dates for each instalment.
The repayment instalments must begin at least 30 days after the date the plan is given by the landlord to the renter. It also must give renters until July 2021 for the final repayments to be made, unless the landlord and renter agree to a longer period. Similarly, while it will be paid in equal instalments, renters and landlords have the option of agreeing to smaller amounts being paid each month in the beginning of the repayment process.
Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due. For example, if a repayment plan is delivered to the renter on Aug. 29 and rent is due on the first of each month, the first instalment is due Oct. 1, 2020.
To further support renters at this time, the Province is continuing to temporarily prohibit landlords from charging rent increases until December 2020. A renter who has been issued a notice of rent increase for an earlier date should not pay the increase and continue to pay their current amount until then.
The Temporary Rental Supplement also remains available to people until Aug. 31, 2020. To date, the supplement has assisted more than 86,000 households with paying their rent during the pandemic.
Renters who are still experiencing a loss of income may also be eligible for either the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) or the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) programs, which provide ongoing rental subsidies for low- and moderate-income families and seniors. Details on these programs are available through BC Housing at 604 433-2218 or toll-free from anywhere in B.C. at 1 800 257-7756.
- Information about changes to B.C.’s tenancy laws during COVID-19 can be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/covid-19
- Download the repayment plan template: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/housing-and-tenancy/residential-tenancies/forms/rtb14.pdf
- For information about RAP and SAFER, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance-financial-aid-for-home-modifications
If you need help navigating any of these resources for your particular circumstances, please send an email to COVIDWellness&Support@providencehealth.bc.ca or contact the Support Line @ 604-806-9925 (local x69925) and you will be connected to someone for help (note: you’ll leave a message and someone will get back to you).
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