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COVID-19 Updates

  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) Applications Open Friday May 15

    May 13, 2020

    The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. This benefit is for students who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). From May to August 2020, the CESB provides a payment to eligible students of either $1,250 for each 4-week period, or $2,000 for each 4-week period if you have dependents or a disability. Applicants must have a CRA account. The federal government is accepting applications beginning 6am EST on May 15, 2020.  Applications to the CRA can be submitted online or by phone.

    See the Government of Canada website for further CESB details

  • Seniors to receive up to $500 one-time COVID-19 payment

    May 12, 2020

    Seniors Minister Deb Schulte said today that seniors who qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) will be eligible for a one-time, tax-free payment of $300, and those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get an extra $200.

    Those eligible for both will receive $500.


  • BC premier Horgan answers questions about B.C.'s restart plan

    May 9, 2020

    VANCOUVER - Two days after unveiling a first look at the province's restart plan, the premier answered frequently asked questions about what's next for B.C.

    John Horgan spoke during a digital "town hall," hosted on Facebook Friday afternoon. In the brief period since the plan was announced, MLA and moderator Bowinn Ma said, the province has received "about 900 questions."

    • Is it safe to reopen at this time?
    • Will the ban on rent increases continue?
    • What will the long-term impact of COVID-19 be?
    • How will physical distancing be enforced when kids go back to school?
    • Is it safe to take public transit?
    • What will the province do to guarantee sick pay?
    • What's next for our borders?

  • Premier Horgan Announces BC Restart Plan

    May 7, 2020

    On May 6, Premier John Horgan announced BC’s restart plan to provide British Columbians with the guidance needed to get through the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The goal of the plan is to increase social contacts by 60% without causing any spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province. People are still required to stay home if sick, keep physical distance when outside their homes and are not to hug people outside their family. Small groups of 2-6 people are allowed.

    If by mid-May cases remain low, the province will enter phase 2 of its restart plan. This includes restoration of health and medical services, opening up of the retail sector and personal service establishments, and in-restaurant dining, among many other things. In total, there are 4 phases of the plan. Visit the Government of BC’s Restart Plan for full details, or download the BC Restart Plan PDF.



  • Government creates COVID-19 temporary layoff period

    May 4, 2020

    Temporary layoffs can be extended to a maximum of 16 weeks rather than 13 weeks, if the employee agrees.

  • B.C. extending state of emergency to continue COVID-19 response

    April 30, 2020

    The state of emergency has been extended until May 12, 2020.

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is open as of April 27.

    April 27, 2020

    Employers may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 75% employees hourly wages for up to 12 weeks. Click the link for eligibility requirements, to learn how to apply, and for more program details.

  • B.C. enacts order to move tent city residents into hotels

    April 25, 2020

    On April 25, 2020, it was announced that Vancouver's Oppenheimer Park, Victoria's Topaz Park, and Pandora corridor will be dismantled and residents will be moved into hotels and other sites until more permanent housing is made available. The deadline for the transition is May 9.

    According to Minister Mike Farnworth, the plan to dismantle the camps is a public safety order and not a health order which gives authority to police and other compliance officials to enforce violations.


  • Federal rent relief of 75% for small businesses affected by Coronavirus

    April 24, 2020

    Excerpt from Global News:

    The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June.

    The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

  • COVID-19: Applications for $1,000 B.C. emergency benefit open May 1

    April 23, 2020

    Excerpt from The Vancouver Sun:

    The B.C. emergency benefit is only available for those who are B.C. residents, have met the eligibility requirements for the CERB, and have been approved for the CERB, even if they have not received a benefit yet.

    They must also be at least 15 years old, agree to file a 2019 B.C. income tax return, and not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance.

    Starting May 1, applications can be made online at