There are several supports in place for employees who find themselves unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before registering for any benefit program, it’s strongly recommended to review or set up your online CRA account and direct deposit to expedite payments.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week ($2000/month) for up to 16 weeks. Applicants with direct deposit are expected to receive the first payment within three to five days. Those who use mail should receive the first payment within 10 days.
If you have already applied for EI since March 17th 2020, you don’t need to worry about applying again to CERB – you’ll be automatically enrolled.
CERB is available to full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees who had an income of at least $5000 in the past year, who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits, and are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.
B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19. Note: B.C. residents who already receive federal Employment Insurance, or the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit mentioned above are eligible. Applications for the one-time payment will open soon.
Application: Opening Soon
Climate Action Tax Credit
A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families. Adults will receive up to $218.00 (increased from $43.50), while children will receive $64.00 (increased from $12.75).
Application: All British Colombians will receive this automatically.
Renters, Homeowners and People Experiencing Homelessness
Funding for housing supports are increased to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss. A temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month paid directly to landlords. Applications for the supplement will open soon on the BC Housing website.