BC Government Support Programs

Framework from Provincial Government website, updated March 23, 2020; additional comments added from press conference held on March 23 by Premier Horgan and Minister James.

News release from the announcement can be found here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0013-000545

Employee Support

$2.8B of $5B Action Plan is focused on people

Of the $2.8 billion allocated to ensure people have the services and support they need during this difficult time; the B.C. government is dedicating $1.1 billion to boost the income of people affected by COVID-19.

BC Emergency Benefit for Workers

The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income because of COVID-19.

  • B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance, or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit, or the new federal Emergency Support Benefit are eligible
  • Applications will open in April 2020
  • The one-time payment will be paid in May 2020

Climate Action Tax Credit

As many as 86% of British Columbians will see some extra money from this enhancement.

A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families:

  • An adult will receive up to $218.00 (increased from $174.00)
  • A child will receive $64.00 (increased from $51.00)

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.

Comments: Plan still to come. Minister Robinson presenting to cabinet on Wednesday, will have a plan after that meeting. Exploring seniors supplement and other supplements.

BC Student Loans

Starting March 30, 2020, B.C. student loan payments are automatically frozen for six months. 

Monthly Bills

BC Hydro

  • Customers can defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty through the COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program
  • Customers experiencing job loss, illness or lost wages due to COVID-19 can access grants up to $600 to pay their hydro bills through the Customer Crisis Fund


  • Customers on a monthly payment plan who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19 may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty

Health and Social Supports

The $1.7 billion includes investments in housing and shelter supports, income and disability assistance programs and crucial health services, such as funding for the BC Centre for Disease Control hotline, quarantine costs, lab tests and work underway at the First Nations Health Authority and the United Way’s Better at Home program for seniors.

Child Care

To support non-profits, service delivery agencies and childcare providers, the Province will continue to provide funding even if these agencies are closed or their regular operations have been disrupted. Licensed childcare providers staying open will receive enhanced funding to keep operations going. These centres are eligible to receive seven times their average monthly operating funding from government, which is expected to cover approximately 75% of a group facility’s average monthly operating expenses.

Tax Relief for Businesses

$2.2B of $5B Action Plan is focussed on business and recovery

The following provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced:

  • Deferred Tax Payments for Businesses
    • Effective immediately businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer heath tax payments until Sept 30, 2020.
  • Delayed PST Budget 2020 Tax Changes
    • the Province is extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax on short-term accommodation, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax until Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Delayed Carbon Tax Increase
    • The scheduled April 1 increase to the provincial carbon tax, as well as the new PST registration requirements on e-commerce and the implementation of PST on sweetened carbonated drinks, will be delayed and their timing will be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Reduced School Tax for Businesses
    • Business and light- and major-industry property classes will see their school 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.