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British Columbians could get COVID-19 relief money by Christmas: premier

Last Updated Nov 18, 2020 at 2:31 pm PDT

File (iStock)

The COVID-19 relief payment promised during the election could be coming to British Columbians soon

Premier John Horgan said Wednesday it can't happen before Dec. 7 when legislature resumes briefly

Depending on annual income, families could get $1,000 and individuals could recieve $500

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The $1,000 COVID-19 relief payment could be in the pockets of British Columbians by Christmas, according to the premier.

During a conference Wednesday, John Horgan said his cabinet will be sworn in next week, followed by a brief session starting Dec. 7 when a Throne Speech will be delivered.

He said the money can’t be directly deposited into bank accounts before that, but the goal is to get families earning less than $125,000, with a sliding scale to $170,000, their payment of $1,000 soon.

“We’re pretty confident, should we get through the legislative session quickly, we’ll be able to get those deposits done shortly thereafter. We’re targeting Christmas, of course. I think British Columbians will just be happy to have access to a thousand bucks for their families or 500 bucks for individuals whether it comes on Dec. 24 or it comes on the 5th of January,” he said.

“We need to appropriate the resources and then, it’s up to the Ministry of Finance to distribute those based on the criteria that were laid out during the campaign and will, of course, be laid out in any legislation that we bring forward. Much of that information is already held by government.”

Individuals earning less than $62,000 a year are entitled to $500, but there’s also a sliding scale for anyone with an income lower than $87,000.

Horgan said mechanisms are already in place to determine who’s entitled to the benefits.

He said he is holding hope the benefits can be delivered by Jan. 5 at the latest.

The one-time pandemic-relief payments were promised by the NDP during the provincial election.

Meanwhile, Horgan said he wants the federal government and provinces to create a unified message for people to avoid all non-essential travel during the pandemic.