On March 23, 2020, the B.C. Government announced a $5 billion COVID-19 Action Plan investing in the Province’s people and businesses.
The following summary of the B.C. Government’s COVID-19 Action Plan for British Columbians has been created from the following B.C. Government resources:
B.C. takes steps to support people, businesses during COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 Action Plan - Provincial Tax Changes
The B.C. Government is dedicating $1.1 billion in financial support to British Columbians.
The BC Recovery Benefit is a one-time direct deposit payment for eligible families, single parents, and individuals. Benefit eligibility is based on net income from your 2019 tax return. The amount you are eligible for will be automatically calculated based on your income when you apply.
You must apply to receive the benefit and applications open December 18, 2020.
Eligible families and single parents with a net income of up to $125,000 will receive $1,000. A reduced benefit amount is available for eligible families and single parents with a net income of up to $175,000.
The benefit defines a family as an individual and their spouse or common-law partner, unless they are separated. Both people must be residents of B.C.
The benefit defines a single parent as an individual who is the principal caregiver to at least one child.
If you are applying for the family benefit, your spouse or common-law partner must also meet the general eligibility criteria.
Eligible individuals with a net income of up to $62,500 may be eligible for a benefit of $500, and eligible individuals with a net income of up to $87,500 will receive a reduced benefit amount.
Generally, the benefit is available to people:
If you receive a payment and it is later determine that you are not eligible for the benefit, you will be required to repay it.
If you are a shared-custody parent for the Canada Child Benefit or the GST/HST credit, you are not considered the principal caregiver for the child.
If you were required to file a 2019 Canadian personal income tax return, but have not done so yet, you must file a 2019 return before applying for the benefit.
If you were not required to file a 2019 Canadian personal income tax return because you earned less than $12,200 and met other criteria exempting you, you will still need to file a 2019 return before applying for the benefit.
If your spouse or common-law partner on December 18, 2020 was not required to file a 2019 Canadian personal income tax return you can still apply for the family benefit without their return if:
If you are not required to file a 2019 Canadian personal income tax return because you became resident in Canada for tax purposes during 2020, you can still apply for the benefit.
You will be required to include your income from all sources for 2019.
Online applications open December 18, 2020. Support will be available by phone starting December 21, 2020. Residents have until June 30, 2021 to apply for the benefit.
1. Net income from your 2019 tax return
You must provide your net income from your 2019 tax return. This number can be found on Line 23600 of your 2019 income tax return.
If you haven’t already filed your 2019 tax return, you should do so as soon as possible.
There are multiple ways to file, including:
2. Social insurance number
When you apply, you will need to provide your social insurance number, individual tax number, or temporary tax number to verify your eligibility.
3. Driver’s license number
If you have a B.C. driver’s licence, you must provide your driver’s licence number.
4. Direct deposit information
The benefit will only be issued by direct deposit. You must have an account with a Canadian financial institution to receive the benefit.
If you are on income or disability assistance and don’t have a bank account, a modified application will be available in the new year to help you apply for and receive the benefit.
A new B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers provides a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19. The benefit is available for workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centres and schools are closed, and those caring for sick family members, such as an elderly parent. B.C. residents who receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit are eligible, as well as those who have exhausted their Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
The workers can be EI-eligible and non-EI eligible, such as the self-employed. The benefit will be paid to B.C. residents, in addition to their federal income supports. Additionally, the one-week waiting period and medical certificate requirements for Employment Insurance have been removed.
In order to receive the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, you will need to state that you have or will be filing a 2019 B.C. income tax return.
To be eligible for the emergency benefit, you must meet the following requirements:
Example: If you were laid off on March 10, 2020, so that the first day you lost income was March 11, 2020, the 14 consecutive days referred to above would mean March 11 to 24, 2020.
In addition to either option above, you must also:
If you receive a payment and are later determine that you are not eligible for it, you may be required to repay it with penalties and interest.
The original B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers announced on May 1, 2020, followed the same federal eligibility requirements as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is now expanded to include two weeks where the CERB wasn’t available.
If you're eligible for and receive at least one CERB payment and then return to work, you may still be eligible for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, provided you’re not required to repay the CERB. You must still meet all other eligibility criteria in one of the two options above.
1. Social Insurance Number
When you apply, you'll need your Social Insurance Number (SIN), Individual Tax Number (ITN), or Temporary Tax Number (TTN) to verify your eligibility.
2. Direct Deposit Information
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will only be issued by direct deposit, ensuring you receive the benefit as soon as possible.
If you don't use cheques, contact your financial institution to get the numbers. It's important to enter your bank account information correctly.
The $1,000 payment will be made by direct deposit to your personal bank account within 10 business days.
3. An Approved Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
If you haven’t applied for the CERB yet, you must apply for it now as this is one of the eligibility requirements for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.
1. Online Applications
You can apply online. Applying online is safe, secure and only takes minutes. You have until December 2, 2020 to apply.
Documentation isn't required when you apply. However, all applications will be verified and the BC Government may ask you for proof of your eligibility at a later date.
2. Telephone Applications
You can apply by telephone with the help of an agent starting May 4, 2020. This option is for people who don’t have internet access.
High call volumes are anticipated and it’s strongly recommended to apply online if you can.
In order to receive the climate action tax credit you will need to file income taxes in B.C..
In response to the pandemic and resulting financial stress, B.C. has increased funding for housing supports and is working to ensure people can maintain their housing in the event of job or income loss.
Find current supports available to B.C. residents here.
Due to COVID-19, new emergency measures are in place to ensure that people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors, do not encounter additional barriers.
If you are not receiving federal Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and are on:
You will automatically receive a $300 supplement on your cheques issued in April, May, and June. No action is required on your part.
If you are receiving federal EI or the CERB and receiving:
You will not be eligible for the $300 supplement.
CERB and EI are temporarily exempt, meaning they will have no effect on your regular Income Assistance or Disability Assistance.
If you are on Disability Assistance and receiving the BC Bus Pass:
Direct Deposit is a safe and dependable way to receive payments. Money is deposited directly to your Bank or Credit Union account. You have immediate access to your money.
Sign up for Direct Deposit.
If you have documents to submit, you can mail them or place them in the drop box at any office or phone 1-866-866-0800 to discuss options.
To avoid coming into an office, access services by phone or via My Self Serve.
Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) is also available:
BounceBack™ provides free access to online, video, and phone-based coaching and skills-building program. Seniors, adults and youth who are experiencing low mood, mild to moderate depression, anxiety, stress, or worry, can receive care.
Virtual community counselling for individuals or groups at low or no cost.
Free access to Living Life to the Full peer support and practical skills courses for coping with stress, problem solving, and boosting mood. The eight-week course is led by a trained facilitator.
A set of mental health screening self-tests alongside the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.
Free psychological first aid is available to all B.C. residents (19+) who are experiencing stress, anxiety, or uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the phone.
In addition to supporting workers on the frontlines of the Overdose Public Health Emergency, the MRT will also support the mental well-being and psychological safety of frontline health care workers who are experiencing exponential distress and mental health concerns in response to COVID-19. To access, call, or email the Provincial Health Services Authority.
This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
New online supports for frontline health care workers and the public to help them cope with any psychological effects they may be experiencing.
Available April 20, 2020, an expanded resources hub will include information to improve psychological and social supports. It provides strategies to help frontline workers take care of their mental health and well-being.
Available May 2020, a phone and text-based peer support service, staffed by former long-term care and home support workers. It provides confidential emotional support to current workers. Peers can also help guide callers to other services and supports if needed.
Nine existing virtual Foundry centres are now accepting virtual walk-in counselling.
Young people 12 to 24 years of age and their families can access youth-focused virtual clinics offering counselling, peer support, primary care and family support through voice calls, video and chat.
Young people 13 to 30 years of age can sign up for six to seven week long programs online for free. The YMCA of British Columbia’s Y Mind program helps young people cope with stress, worry and anxiety.
Intake services and mental health counselling from the Ministry of Children and Family Development for children and youth across B.C. Virtual care by phone and online is available.
All registered post-secondary students can get confidential, free counselling, and referral services through Here2Talk by app, phone, or online chat. Here2Talk is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Free online resource for students, parents, and educators to support social and emotional well-being as they navigate the new world of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
EASE at Home offers helpful tips for parents, like how to teach children calming breathing techniques or use structured games like scavenger hunts to build routine in a way that’s fun.
The Province has expanded funding for bc211, a province-wide information and referral service. It matches volunteers to seniors whose support network has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The service takes calls from people who would like to volunteer to help seniors in their community with basic needs, including grocery shopping and pharmacy drop-offs and check-ins.
Immediate 24/7 crisis support for victims of family or sexual violence is available by phone through VictimLink BC’s 24/7 telephone service. This service also provides information and referrals for all victims of crime.
Many phone and online counselling, support programs, and treatment and healing centres are available virtually for Indigenous people across B.C.
Effective immediately, many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to September, 30 2020.
See Notice 2020-002, Covid-19 Sales Tax Changes for the most recent information on the province’s tax updates.
The scheduled increase to the carbon tax rate, and the application of PST to e-commerce transactions and sweetened carbonated drinks, are delayed until further notice.
Carbon tax rates will remain at their current levels until March 31, 2021. The tax measure announced in Budget 2020 aligning the carbon tax rates with the federal carbon pricing backstop is postponed until April 1, 2021.
The B.C. PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment is a temporary provincial sales tax (PST) program to help corporations recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19.
The program acts like a refund but is separate from the existing PST Refund process. Under this temporary program, corporations can apply to receive an amount equal to the PST they paid between September 17, 2020 and September 30, 2021 on qualifying machinery and equipment.
All incorporated businesses except the following are eligible to apply:
Unincorporated entities, such as sole proprietors, cannot apply. However, they can choose to incorporate to take advantage of this program. Only machinery and equipment obtained after incorporation are eligible.
For simplicity, Income Tax Act (Canada) capital cost allowance (CCA) class definitions already familiar to incorporated businesses will be used to establish which types of capital assets qualify for the rebate program.
To be eligible for the rebate, eligible property must be:
Additionally, software and goods, other than goods obtained by lease, must be capital assets for the rebate to apply.
Detailed rules can be found in the Technical Backgrounder: B.C. PST Rebate on Select Machinery and Equipment.
You will be able to apply online starting April 1, 2021.
To prepare for the application process, be sure to keep all receipts and invoices with proof of the payment of PST on qualifying machinery and equipment. If your business is unincorporated, you may choose to incorporate to be eligible for the program.
Check this page for updates or subscribe to be notified of all B.C. Sales Tax updates.
School tax rates for commercial properties (Classes 4, 5 and 6) will be reduced by 50% for the 2020 tax year.
On April 16, 2020, the school property tax was lowered again and classes 7 and 8 are now included. Overall, the commercial property tax bill for most businesses are reduced by 25% on average.
Rural property tax due dates have not changed.
For rural area properties, late payment penalties for classes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are postponed to November 3, 2020. Learn more about important property tax dates for rural area properties.
For municipal property tax due dates and penalty dates, please contact your municipality or review your tax notice.
The B.C. Increased Employment Incentive is a refundable tax credit for employers which encourages the creation of new jobs for B.C. workers or increases in payroll for existing low- or medium-income employees.
The tax credit is calculated at 15% of the amount that the employer’s qualifying B.C. remuneration exceeds the employer’s base B.C. remuneration.
All private sector B.C. employers, including most charities and non-profits, who increase their B.C. remuneration by creating new jobs or increasing the pay of their existing low- or medium-income employees over the last quarter (October to December) of 2020 are eligible.
Public institutions are not eligible for the tax credit, and include:
Charities and non-profit organizations that are not public institutions may be eligible for the B.C. Increased Employment Incentive.
The qualifying B.C. remuneration is the total B.C. remuneration paid to eligible employees for the quarter ending December 31, 2020, with a maximum weekly B.C. remuneration for each eligible employee of $1,129.33. Partial weeks are prorated.
The base B.C. remuneration is the total B.C. remuneration paid to eligible employees for the quarter ending September 30, 2020, with a maximum weekly B.C. remuneration for each eligible employee of $1,129.33. Partial weeks are prorated.
If you qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy as well as the B.C. Increased Employment Incentive, you may receive assistance from both programs. Your tax credit will not be reduced if you also receive a subsidy from the federal program.
You will be able to apply online starting in March 2021.
More information about the application process will be added to this page as it becomes available.
The Province is providing an additional $1.7 billion in funding to critical services:
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the BC Arts Council recognize the immense and unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having, and will likely continue to have, on the B.C. arts and culture sector, including impacts on our funded projects and organizations.
To help address these impacts, they’ve made significant updates to their policies and programs and have created an FAQ for grant recipients and applicants.
In making these changes, they have been guided by four key objectives, to:
The most up-to-date information will always be posted on the FAQ page and also be available on individual program web pages. Updates will also be announced on the BC Arts Council Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
Access COVID-19 FAQs for Arts and Culture Grant Recipients & Applicants