The BC Pharmacy Association has put together a summary of additional economic measures to help Canadians affected by the naval coronavirus pandemic. This is not a complete list as this page only includes economic measures that pharmacy students, pharmacists and pharmacies may benefit.
Relief for Pharmacy Students or Recent Grads
- Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment of Canada Student Loans and BC Student Loans.
- If you are able to work, you must be actively looking for work to be eligible to receive the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). If you still cannot find work due to COVID-19, you can apply for each CESB eligibility period that you are eligible for.
Relief for Pharmacists, Staff and Individuals
- Income tax return filing due date is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31.
Individuals who lost their jobs income (including Employment Insurance)
- One-week waiting period for Employment Insurance Sickness benefits has been waived. Call 1-833-381-2725.
- BC Emergency Benefit provides an additional tax-free $1,000 payment to those on EI or CERB.
Low Income and No Income
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $2000/month to workers who have lost their income and do not qualify for EI. This replaces the Emergency Support Benefit and Emergency Care Benefit. This has now been expanded to include people making up to $1,000 a month, seasonal workers and people whose EI has run out. (Updated April 16, 2020)
- Boost to GST credit to low-income individuals and families. (Starting May 2020)
- Boost to BC Climate Action Tax Credit. (Starting July 2020)
- Workers may take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19. This payment is retroactive to January 27, 2020.
- Workers now have three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury.
Families with children
- Boost to Canada Child Benefit payments to low-income families. (Starting May 2020)
- Temporary Emergency child care is available for essential workers aged infant to 5 years. (Updated April 15, 2020)
Home owners and renters
- BC Hydro bill deferral & payment plans available. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO.
- New rental supplement to provide up to $500/month towards rent, paid directly to landlords.
- Freeze on rental rates. No rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1.
- Immediate halt on all evictions, except for extreme case involving safety concerns and court-ordered evictions.
- Mortgage payment deferrals available for CMHC-insured loans. Many lenders also offer payment deferrals.
- Check with your lender about payment deferral options if you do not have a CMHC-insured loan.
- $5000 emergency loan available to Canadians travelling abroad through Global Affairs Canada. Call 1-613-996-8885 or email email@example.com.
Car Owners and ICBC Customers (Source)
- If your insurance is due to expire, please call your Autoplan broker. Many insurance transactions can now be done through phone and email.
- ICBC is offering payment deferral for up to 90 days with no penalties for ICBC customers who are on a monthly payment plan and are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19. This request can be done online.
Translink (Metro Vancouver) and BC Transit
- Rear door, fare-free boarding on all buses. (Translink, BC Transit)
Relief for Pharmacies (SMEs)
Subsidy, Credits and Loans
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Wage subsidy for small businesses, non-profit organizations, and charities to prevent worker lay-offs. On March 27, Trudeau increased payroll subsidy from 10 percent to up to 75 percent to encourage small- and medium-sized businesses to keep their staff employed—and rehire those who have already been laid off.
- Canada Emergency Bank Account. Banks will soon offer $40,000 loans, which will be interest free for the first year, to businesses who need additional funding. The funds are guaranteed by the federal government. If businesses meet certain conditions, $10,000 of the loan will be forgivable.
- Federal income tax payments owed are deferred until after August 31.
- Trudeau also announced that Ottawa will defer GST and HST payments for small- to medium-sized businesses, as well as duties and taxes on import until June.
- The Province is providing enhanced relief for businesses by reducing most commercial property tax bills by an average of 25%, along with new measures to support local governments facing temporary revenue shortfalls as a result of COVID-19.
- BC business tax payments are deferred until after September 30: Employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, carbon tax.
- 50% cut to the school tax for business and industry property classes. Landlords should pass the savings to tenants on triple-net leases.
- Scheduled April 1 increases to provincial carbon tax and PST are delayed.
Federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance relief for small businesses applications open to property owners
The Canadian government is opening applications for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) relief program for commercial property owners who offer to reduce rent by 75 per cent for small business tenants in the months of April, May and June 2020.
For tenants whose landlords have opted in for this relief program, you may be asked to provide an attestation and must have already paid the April, May and June rent. You will then be given the choice of:
- reimbursement for rent paid in excess of 25 per cent
- credit for future rental payments
More information on the process is available on the Canadian government's CECRA page.