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BC Federation of Retired Union

BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Summer, 2020


BC leads in supporting people

The federal government has provided major economic supports to help people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In what Maclean’s Magazine called “a particular win for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh” it expanded the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to cover more workers and implemented the NDP’s proposal for a 75 percent wage subsidy to help protect jobs.

Ottawa also added a one time payment of $300 to Old Age Security recipients and $200 to Guaranteed Income Supplement recipients.

Provincial governments have also stepped up – some more than others – to fill gaps in the federal initiatives.

“Across the board, B.C. is leading the nation with its economic response to Covid-19,” says an analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

British Columbia has tackled the pandemic with a remarkable level of tri-partisan support. Here are some of the highlights of actions taken up to our deadline:

• A one time $1,000 top-up to people who qualify for the CERB.

• An extra $300 a month, for three months, for seniors who receive the Seniors’ Supplement.

• An increase in the Climate Action Tax Credit, automatically paid out with an increased GST credit in July. About 86 percent of British Columbians will benefit.

• A freeze on new and existing evictions, except in extraordinary circumstances, up to $500 a month for renters, and a freeze on all new rent increases during the state of emergency.

• A 1% reduction in electricity rates, and for people who are not working due to Covid-19, a nonrepayable credit equal to three times the average monthly bill. BC Hydro’s customer crisis fund may also grant up to $600.

• ICBC has waived fees for cancelling your car insurance, and permitted people who pay their insurance on a monthly basis to defer payments for up to 90 days with no penalty.

• Emergency funding of $225 a month for three months to support children with special needs.

• Additional funding to support food banks, community services and caregivers.

• An increase of $300 a month for three months for people with disabilities and those who are on income assistance.

• Suspended fare collection on TransLink and BC Transit buses until June 1, when new safety measures were to be implemented.

• Nearly 2,000 spaces secured throughout B.C. to help the homeless, youth, and others without safe places to self-isolate.

• Amended the Employment Standards Act so workers can take unpaid, job-protected leave.

• Greatly increased support to child care providers.

• Cut school taxes in half for commercial properties.

This is a partial list. For a complete list and the latest updates, please visit


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