How to apply for COVID-19 government relief
The federal and provincial governments are providing emergency aid for individuals and small businesses to help them weather the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help members during this crisis, we’ve compiled a list of all the aid available to you with instructions on how to apply. Keep in mind, this situation is evolving quickly. More information on these measures and further economic relief will come soon.
Federal emergency support benefit
The government is offering an emergency support benefit for workers who lose their jobs and don’t qualify for EI.
How to apply: This benefit won’t be available until early April. We’ll provide more details as they become available.
Federal emergency care benefit
This benefit provides $900 bi-weekly flat payment for up to 15 weeks to workers who are:
- quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but don’t qualify for EI;
- taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19 but don’t qualify for EI; or
- parents with children who need supervision due to school or daycare closures and can’t earn employment income.
How to apply: The benefit will be available in April. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you’ll need to re-attest every two weeks to continue receiving the benefit. You can apply by:
- accessing it on your CRA MyAccount portal;
- accessing it from your My Service Canada Account; or
- calling a toll-free number coming in April.
Provincial emergency benefit
The BC government announced a one-time, tax-free, $1,000 supplemental benefit to the above two federal benefits.
How to apply: The government is currently setting up the system to provide this benefit and is planning to launch it in May. More information on the application process and eligibility will become available in the coming weeks.
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) are offering relief measures, including:
- working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible terms and payment postponements for up to six months for qualifying businesses;
- postponement of payments for up to six months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less; and
- reduced rates on new eligible loans.
Additional details about BCAP measures, including industry specific support, will be announced in the coming days.
How to apply: If you’re already a BDC client, contact your account manager. Otherwise, you can call 1-877-232-2269.
Temporary wage subsidy
Employers that are eligible for the small business deduction will also be eligible for a temporary, three-month wage subsidy program. The subsidy will be equal to 10 per cent of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
How to apply: Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration.
Individual tax deferment
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is deferring the 2019 tax filing date for both individuals and certain trusts.
The CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020.
For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.
For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date will be deferred until May 1, 2020.
Business tax deferment
The CRA is deferring the 2019 tax filing date for businesses.
The CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
Provincial tax deferment
Businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020.
As well, payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax, motor fuel tax, carbon tax, and others have been extended until Sept. 30, 2020.
Business school tax cut
Business as well as light- and major-industry property classes will see their school tax cut in half. The government expects that landlords will immediately pass these savings on to their tenants in triple-net leases.
Bill payment deferment
The provincial government is working with BC Hydro and ICBC to allow bill payment deferment. 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.