March 27, 2020

COVID-19 relief programs for home owners and renters

Updated March 27

The federal and provincial governments are providing emergency aid for individuals to help you weather the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent measures include income relief for people financially impacted by COVID-19, a provincial rental supplement, and different payment deferral options.

Keep in mind that this situation is evolving quickly. We’ll continue to provide the latest information as it becomes available. Here’s the latest summary:

Federal

Canada Emergency Response Benefit - updated March 27

The federal government announced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a $500 weekly payment intended to support workers unable to make a living due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eligible applicants can receive it for up to 16 weeks in lieu of Employment Insurance (EI). 

What makes the CERB unique is that it covers workers not normally covered by EI, including self-employed or contract workers like REALTORS®. 

In order to be eligible for the benefit, you must have: 

  • ceased working for reasons related to COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days with a four-week period; and 
  • made more than $5,000 of total income in 2019. 

To keep receiving the benefit, you can’t receive income from employment or self-employment between March 15 and Oct. 3, 2020. 

CERB applies to anyone who has self-quarantined or closed their businesses, voluntarily or by order of the government or regulatory body. Being declared an essential service won’t impact your eligibility.  

How to apply - application details will be available through My CRA and My Service Canada, beginning the first week of April.   

Individual tax filing and payment deferment  

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is deferring the 2019 tax filing date for both individuals and certain trusts.  

  • For individuals, the return filing due date has been deferred until June 1, 2020.   
  • For trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019, the return filing due date has been deferred until May 1, 2020.  

The CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020, and before September 2020.   

Provincial 

BC emergency benefit  

The BC government announced a one-time, tax-free, $1,000 supplemental benefit for British Columbians who qualify for the federal CERB benefit.   

How to apply - the provincial government is currently setting up the system to provide this benefit and is planning to launch it in May. More information on the application process and eligibility will become available in the coming weeks. 

Provincial rent supplement  

The provincial government is offering a new, temporary $500 per month rental supplement for renters in BC.  

The funds will be available to low-to-moderate income renters who have lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis and will be paid directly to landlords through BC Housing.  

How to apply - the provincial government is currently working on an application process. More details will come soon.   

Bill payment deferment 

The provincial government is working with BC Hydro and ICBC to allow bill payment deferment. ICBC is extending deferrals to up to 90 days.

People dealing with job loss, illness, or loss of wages due to COVID-19 may also qualify for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund grant program for up to $600.   

More information  

BC government’s COVID-19 action plan 
Federal government’s COVID-19 economic response plan  

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