Provincial & federal stimulus packages

The federal government will provide $52 billion in direct assistance to workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced today. The government also committed to ensuring that laid off workers will be able to access the benefits within 10 days of applying.  Workers who have been laid off, those who are sick, caretakers and self-employed workers would be able to receive up to $2,000 a month for four months.

Bill C-13 introducing these and other changes, received Royal Assent during an emergency session today, and included the additional measures:

  • Additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering almost $2 billion in extra support.
  • Additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit, delivering $5.5 billion in support.
  • Introduces a pause on the repayments of Canada Student Loans 
  • Helps businesses keep their workers by providing eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. Eligible employers would include small businesses (including co-operative corporations) eligible for the small business deduction, unincorporated employers, certain partnerships, non-profit organizations and charities.

On March 23, the Province announced a $5 billion package of income supports, tax relief, and funding for businesses and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the package, the Province will increase funding by $1.7 billion for critical services including funding for:

  • social services and vulnerable populations;
  • health care pressures from the pandemic;
  • housing and shelter programs;
  • licensed daycare providers staying open;
  • non-profits and other agencies;
  • First Nations Health Authority

$1.1 billion will be provided in financial assistance and tax relief to British Columbians and businesses including:

  • a new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19;
  • increasing and expanding the B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit in July 2020;
  • halting all evictions at BC Housing funded buildings due to non-payment of rent; and
  • providing $10 million to VanCity to maintain the existing rent bank network.

 Canada's six largest banks are working to freeze mortgage payments for six months for those in need, while BC Hydro and ICBC are implementing measures to defer payments for those facing financial challenges from COVID-19.

For businesses, the following measures have been taken:

  • Business and light and major industry property classes will see their school property tax cut in half for the 2020 tax year, providing $500 million in relief for businesses that own their property and for tenants on triple-net leases;
  • effective immediately, many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to Sept. 30, 2020;
  • businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020 (Businesses with a payroll under this threshold are already exempt);
  • payments for provincial sales tax (PST), employer health tax, municipal and regional district tax on short-term accommodation, carbon tax, motor fuel tax and tobacco tax are also deferred;
  • the scheduled increase to the carbon tax rate, and application of PST to e-commerce transactions and sweetened and carbonated drinks, will be delayed; and
  • Supports the mortgage financing market in Canada by enhancing the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) access to capital.

The Province is also investing $1.5 billion into an economic stimulus plan to support the recovery of BC once the pandemic has passed.  The stimulus plan will be developed in consultation with the business and labour sectors.

Today's enactment follows on a federal government announcement last week an additional $5 billion in support for farmers and agri-business.

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