Minister of Finance Carole James looks on as Premier John Horgan talks about the next steps of the COVID-19 action plan recently put in place by the provincial government during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

A student loan freeze, $1,000 payments: Here’s what B.C.’s COVID-19 plan has for you

Help for renters is coming, Premier John Horgan says

One week after Ottawa unveiled their plan to support Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis, B.C. has unveiled theirs. Here’s what you need to know.

1. $1,000 for those affected by COVID-19

Finance Minister Carole James said people whose ability to work has been affected by the virus will receive a one-time $1,000 payment. The money will be tax-free and go to those who receive federal EI or the new benefits unveiled by Ottawa for those who don’t qualify for EI. In addition to laid-off workers, the sick or quarantined, you also qualify if you have sick kids or relatives to care for and if you must stay home because you can’t get childcare for your kids.

READ MORE: B.C. announces $5 billion financial relief for COVID-19 pandemic

2. Help for renters?

“No one will lose their apartments due to COVID-19,” Premier John Horgan said on Monday, but did not provide any concrete help for renters in today’s announcement. Horgan said an announcement would be made Wednesday – just one week before rent is due on April 1. Homeowners were told they could apply for a six-month mortgage deferral last week.

READ MORE: More than 1,000 B.C. tenants ‘personally at risk’ of eviction due to COVID-19: tenants union

3. Student loan payments to be frozen

The province is freezing payments and interest on all B.C. student loans. With this, all British Columbians with government-issued student loans will not need to pay them till Sept. 30, following the federal announcement of a similar freeze.

4. Tax help for businesses and individuals

All B.C. businesses with a payroll of more than $500,000 can now defer their employer health tax payments till Sept. 30. All smaller businesses were already exempt from the tax, which replaced the Medical Services Plan. Tax filing deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax are also delayed until Sept. 30.

Increases scheduled for April 1 for the provincial carbon tax, new PST registration requirements for e-commerce and the increased tax on sweetened carbonated drinks will be delayed until at least this fall.

The province says most British Columbians could see a boost to their Climate Action Tax Credit in July. A family of four could get up to $564.

Business and light- and major-industry property classes will get their school tax cut in half and, according to James, allow commercial landlords to immediately pass savings on to their tenants in triple-net leases.

Some people may be able to get BC Hydro payments deferred for six months and ICBC Autoplan payments paused for 90 days.

READ MORE: B.C. legislature meets briefly with minimum MLAs to deal with COVID-19

5. $1.5B set aside for economic recovery

The province will set aside money for whenever the economy recovers after the COVID-19 crisis. This dedicated $1.5 billion will go to the hardest-hit parts of the economy, such as hospitality, tourism and culture sectors.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 3 new COVID-19 deaths but 100 people have recovered, Henry says

READ MORE: B.C. screening care home workers as two more test positive for COVID-19

READ MORE: Vancouver businesses not obeying COVID-19 rules to get hit with fines of up to $50K


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read