COVID-19

My constituency office is currently closed to the public and my staff will be working remotely, due to current events. My office is still here to help you. Feel free to call us at 604-476-4530 or email us at bob.deith.mla@leg.bc.ca. Currently we are not able to take calls, but if you leave a detailed message my staff will promptly respond to your inquiry; we will promptly reply to calls from 9am-5pm. Messages received after 5pm may not receive a response until the following business day.

My heart goes out to the families of those who we have lost in this crisis, and I wish a speedy recovery to those who are currently affected. If everyone does their part, we can avoid the worst impacts from this crisis.

British Columbia has officially declared a public health emergency.
The Solicitor General & Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth announced a provincial emergency. This is part of an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to stop the pandemic and includes measures to strengthen supply chains, including for food and groceries.

The government of British Columbia has announced a $5 billion aid package to support individuals, families, and businesses who are struggling during this extraordinary time. You can find more information about this plan and other provincial supports here.

We are seeing globally the devastating impacts of sudden upticks in COVID-19 infections, even on the most well-resourced health care systems. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to ‘flatten the curve’ of infections so that our health care system is not overwhelmed. We can do this by practicing social distancing and self-isolation. Below you can find more information on government supports and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is now a dedicated phone number to get essential non-health related information about COVID-19: 1-888-COVID-19. You can also text 604-630-0300. For health related inquiries you can still call 811, and more staff are being added to the phone lines everyday. There is also a self-assessment tool you can use to better understand your health if you are feeling unwell.

You can find daily updates from the BC Centre for Disease Control here

Sincerely,

Bob D’Eith

HOUSING
Support Description How to Access
⚡ BC Hydro Bill deferral, payment plans, as well as crisis funding is available. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO or apply online.
🏦 Freeze on rental rates No rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1. No action needed. Contact RTB with questions.
🏦 Rental supplement Provides up to $500/month towards rent, paid directly to landlords. Check back for application instructions.
🏘️ Mortgages (CMHC-insured) Mortgage payment deferrals available for CMHC-insured loans. 🍁Check with your lender.
🏘️ Mortgages (non-CMHC) Check with your lender about payment deferral options. 🍁Check with your lender.
🛏️ Emergency Housing Existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. Call 2-1-1  or search online.
PERSONAL INCOME – WORKFORCE
Support Description How to Access
💵 Employment Insurance (EI) Existing EI benefit continues to be available. Provides up to $573/week to people who have lost income. 🍁Apply online.
💵 EI Sickness Benefit One-week waiting period has been waived. 🍁Call 1-833-381-2725 or apply online.
💵 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Provides $2000/month to workers who lose income due to COVID-19, including contractors and self-employed people.
(Note: Previous description implied only those who do not qualify for EI are eligible for CERB. However, CERB may actually take the place of EI for new applicants when available. In the meantime, those who qualify for EI should continue to submit for EI, as it is a benefit that lasts up to 45 weeks and can continue after the CERB benefit ends on Oct 3.)
🍁Check back early April for application instructions. More info here.
💵 BC Emergency Benefit One-time additional tax-free payment of $1000 to those on EI or CERB. Check back for application instructions.
INCOME SUPPLEMENTS FOR PEOPLE
Support Description How to Access
💵 GST-credit One-time boost of up to $600 per eligible couple, $400 for eligible individuals in May. 🍁Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
💵 Climate Action Tax Credit One-time boost of up to $564 for eligible families of 4 and $218 for eligible individuals in an enhanced payment in July. Children under 18 years old must be registered for the CCB to qualify. No other action is needed; benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
👪 Canada Child Benefit (CCB) One-time boost of $300 per child in May. 🍁No action if you are already registered for CCB. Otherwise, apply online.
🤸 Youth in Care Youth in care will not age out of services during the pandemic. Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program payments will continue despite school closures and training interruptions.
🧘 Young Adults Program (AYA) Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program payments will continue to former youth-in-care despite school closures and training interruptions.
💵 Income Assistance Existing Income Assistance program continues to be available for those in need with no other resources. Apply online, by phone at 1-866-866-0800, or visit your local office.
♿ People with Disabilities Existing Disability Assistance program continues to be available. See also full list of additional supports here. Apply online, by phone at 1-866-866-0800, or visit your local office.
👵 Seniors Existing programs continue to be available, including:
—–Old Age Security (OAS): $614/mo (max)
—–Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): $916/mo (max)
—–Allowance/Allowance for Survivor: $1389/mo (max)
🍁 Eligible seniors are automatically enrolled, but applications can also be submitted online.
OTHER SUPPORTS FOR PEOPLE
Support Description How to Access
🚘 Hospital parking Parking is free of charge at all health authority owned/operated health care sites.
🚗 ICBC Monthly payment deferral for up to 90 days with no penalty. Call 1-800-665-6442 or apply online.
👪 Emergency Child Care Funding Child care providers receiving emergency government funding cannot charge parent fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve spaces for families, starting April. Check with your provider to see if they are in this program.
🏫 BC Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.
🏫 Canada Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment, starting April. 🍁Repayment will be paused automatically.
🚌 BC Transit & TransLink Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required.
👵 Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020. 🍁Learn more here.
✈️ Emergency Travel Loan Emergency loan of $5000 available to Canadians travelling abroad. 🍁Dial +1 613-996-8885 or send an email.
🧾 Income tax return Filing due date is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. 🍁
BUSINESSES (GENERAL)
Support Description How to Access
BC Hydro Bill deferral and payment plans. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO.
💵 Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Covers up to 75% of wages for businesses, charities, and non-profits that have lost more than 30% of their revenue. Max subsidy of $847 per week per employee, backdated to March 15. 🍁Check back for application instructions.
💵 Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Financing support for small and medium-sized businesses. Available mid-April.
—–Canada Emergency Business Account: Loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses and not-for-profits, interest-free for one year. A portion may be forgivable. Available mid-April.
—– Loan Guarantee: Operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs. Available mid-April.
—–Co-Lending Program: Co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program. Available mid-April.
🍁Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
🧾 Federal income tax Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. 🍁
🧾 BC business taxes Payments for Employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax are deferred until after Sept 30. Scheduled April 1 increases to provincial carbon tax and PST are deferred.
🧾 School Tax Cut of 50% for business and industry property classes, to be passed onto tenants on triple-net leases.
🧾 GST/HST Payments owed deferred to June 30. 🍁
🧾 Customs duties & taxes Payments owed deferred to June 30. 🍁
⚠️ Click here: BC Government Small Business Support List
BUSINESSES (BY SECTOR)
Support Description How to Access
🧸 Child care sector Emergency funding is available for child care providers that stay open and that close. Learn more.
🎭 Arts & Culture sector $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to give operating and eligible project clients a supplement of up to $15,000. Clients will receive a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding. Via BC Arts Council.
📰 Publishing and news sectors Simplified process for Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund. Journalism Tax Measures. 🍁
🎥 Broadcasting sector CRTC Part I licence fees waived. 🍁
🏞️ Tourism businesses in national parks and historic sites Tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas will have payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation deferred without interest until September 1. 🍁Wait to be contacted by Parks Canada.
🐚 Seafood sector Seafood growers, shellfish farmers, and processors, will have access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. 🍁Via FCC.
🚜 Farmers and Agri-Food sector Access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. 🍁Via FCC.
✈️Airports Rents paid on ground leases waived. 🍁
⚠️ See more re: Businesses.
FUNDING BOOSTS TO CHARITIES FOR PROGRAM DELIVERY
Support Description
🥫 Food Banks BC Funding boost to Food Banks British Columbia, who will distribute the money among food banks province wide.
🧒🏼 Kids Help Phone Funding boost to Kids Help Phone, which provides young people with mental health support. 🍁
👵 United Way Canada Funding boost to United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors, such as: Delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports. 🍁

Questions? For items marked “🍁”, contact your local MP. Otherwise, contact your local MLA.

Social Distancing – These are mandatory orders. 

❌ Gatherings larger than 50 people are banned.!!
🧍↔️🧍 Maintain 2m distance from others.!!
🏠 Stay home as much as possible, do not visit with friends (call them instead).!!
😷 Self-isolate if you are sick, even if it is not COVID-19.!!

Health care

⛔️ All scheduled elective surgeries and procedures will be postponed.
🏥 All long-term care facilities will be restricting visitors to essential visits only.
🩺 Physicians will be compensated for virtual health care services, to increase access to care while reducing transmission of disease.
💊 Physician notes will NOT be required for prescription refills by pharmacists. Employers are asked to forgo sick notes from doctors during this time for people to stay home.

Children & Families
🏫 In-class instruction is suspended at all K-12 schools.
👶 All parents who can, should care for their children at home. This makes it easier for providers to follow enhanced preventative health measures.

🧸Enhanced government funding is available for child care providers that stay open and that close.

👪 Providers receiving enhanced government funding (above) cannot charge parent fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve space for families.

ℹ️ Read More: BC Government COVID-19 child care supports

Public Facilities & Services

🏊 Many public recreational facilities may be closed. Check local government websites for details.
🏫 All K-12 schools must immediately suspend in-class instruction.
🏞️ Parks Canada visitor services at all national parks and historic sites are closed. BC Ferries passengers will be able to stay inside their vehicles the entire trip.

🤾‍♂️ The BC Summer Games have been cancelled.
ℹ️ Read more: In-province travel restrictions

⛺ All campgrounds are closed

🏫 Service BC remains open, early hours dedicated to the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Transportation

⛴️ BC Ferries: Passengers may stay inside their vehicles the entire trip; on board food service is minimal.
🚌 BC TransitTransLink: Rear door, fare-free boarding on all buses. Those with accessibility needs can still load at front.

Businesses

🎰 All casinos are closed until further notice.
🍻 All bars and clubs must close.

🥡Restaurants may now sell liquor products with meals for pick-up/delivery using staff who hold the Serving-It-Right certification.

🍸Liqour distilleries are now permitted to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizer
🏪 All businesses must adjust their operations to meet social distancing orders and should implement enhanced cleaning, or close.!!

Do Your Part: The Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has   mentioned that the next 7-10 days are critical for stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

👏 Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. Sneeze/cough into your elbow
🚫 Avoid touching your face
🧍↔️🧍 Maintain 2m distance from others
😷 STAY HOME if you are sick, even if it is not COVID-19

❓ Do I need testing?
Please use the online BC COVID-19 Self Assessment tool: covid19.thrive.health

❓ Do I need to stockpile food and supplies?
Our retail supply-chain providers have assured us they have an abundance of supply and are restocking regularly. There is no need to stockpile.

Official Information Sources

This is a regularly evolving situation, with changes on a day-by-day and even hour-by-hour basis. Thus, please take note of the following links so that you can stay up to date:

Official Health Information on COVID-19
Be cautious of information you read about the virus online. Stick with reputable sites such as:

Travel Advisories & Border Control
Travel advisories and border control directives are issued by the Government of Canada. Visit Travel Advisories to see the latest advice on travel.

Emergency and Urgent Care Facility Wait Times
Medical facilities may be under increased burden during these times. Visit ED Wait Times to see the wait times for emergency and urgent facilities in Vancouver, Richmond, and North Shore.