VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The B.C. government announced on Monday a $5 billion aid package to support people and businesses struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier John Horgan said the plan will fill in some of the gaps from the federal government’s $82 billion financial rescue plan introduced last week.
One of the key pieces of B.C.’s plan is a $1,000 tax-free benefit for people unable to work for reasons related to the novel coronavirus.
You may be wondering how to get one of those cheques as soon as possible. Here’s how:
Do I qualify?
Anyone who qualifies for employment insurance or new emergency benefits from the federal government will also qualify for the $1,000 provincial benefit, B.C.’s finance minister, Carole James, said Monday. That includes people laid off, sick or in quarantine. It also includes parents forced to stay home to take care of kids whose school is closed and people who are taking care of sick relatives.
For more on the qualifications and application process for federal benefits, click here.
How do I apply?
James said the province wants to “simplify” the application process “as much as possible.” British Columbians will first have to apply for the federal benefits, then show the province they’ve done, James said.
The province has not yet said what the process will be for showing you’ve applied for federal help, but James said it “will be very straightforward.”
When will the money come?
James said she hopes to have the money flowing by May.
“It’s got to take a month to be able to get those systems in place,” she said. “But we will, as I said, be working quickly to be able to get those resources to individuals.”
What else is the province doing?
B.C.’s $5 billion “first step” in its plan to ease the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic also includes a funding to boost to “critical services,” a boost to the climate action plan tax credit and deferrals of tax filing and payment deadlines. You can read more about the plan here.