Find out about resources and programs available to help if you have been laid off or lost your job due to COVID-19.
Coronavirus & Benefits for Workers: The 3-Minute Summary by the People's Law School
A good, quick overview of the different benefit programs and who is eligible. A good starting introduction if your employment has been impacted by COVID-19.
BC Emergency Benefit for Workers (BCEBW)
The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income because of the COVID 19 pandemic. B.C. residents who receive federal Employment Insurance, or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit, or the new federal Emergency Support Benefit are eligible. Applications will open online on May 1, 2020.
To be eligible for the BCEBW, people must:
- have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020
- meet the eligibility requirements for the CERB
- have been approved for the CERB, even if they have not received a benefit yet
- be at least 15 years old on the date of application
- have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return; and
- not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit
Students will be eligible for $1250 a month from May through August, and up to $1,750 if the student is taking care of someone or has a disability. The benefit is available also to students who have jobs but are making less than $1,000 a month. Payments to be made through Canada Revenue Agency.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit
The CERB supports Canadians by providing financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are directly affected by COVID-19. It provides a payment of $2,000 for a 4-week period (the same as $500 a week) for up to 16 weeks. Applications are now open.
Employment Insurance Regular Benefits
Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to a shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a job. Always apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment (ROE). If you delay filing your claim for benefits for more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits.
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $573 a week.
Financial Assistance for Newcomers, Temporary Residents and Refugees
Find information in a number of different languages about resources available to newcomers, temporary residents, and refugees.
SOURCES Newton Resource Centre
#102-13771 72A Ave Surrey BC V3W 9C6
Tel: 604-596-2311 www.askanadvocate.ca
Good contact if you have issues with these assistance programs or with a range of other government services. Offering phone appointments and limited in-person services during COVID-19 but no drop-in service currently. Wide range of supports, information and advocacy for income assistance, disability, housing and federal income assistance programs. Also can help if you are being evicted (must have received notice) or with more immediate housing crisis. Offers community voicemail, pro bono access & free income tax service. Housing resources also available including lists of low cost rentals, phone for housing search as well as computers. Can help with loans to help with rent from the SOURCES Rent bank. Also offer more specific advocacy programs outlined below, plus others:
Disability Advocacy Program
This program provides information, referral, and advocacy with applying for, or appealing disability benefits through the Ministry of Social Development. Some help for medical and dental benefits, allowances, and other disability related benefits.
Mental Health Consumer Advocacy Program
Wide range of supports, information and advocacy. Help in dealing with income assistance, housing and federal programs like CPP.
Homeless Prevention Program
This program provides information, support, and advocacy for homeless individuals. Help available at the Newton Resource Centre and partner sites: The Front Room, Surrey Women’s Centre, Salvation Army Gateway of Hope, and Elizabeth Fry Society.
Poverty Law Program
Provides reliable poverty law services in English & Punjabi. Helps with fair access to income support programs and services through information, support and one-on-one advocacy. Help with income assistance and disability issues, tenant rights and mediation with landlords, EI and CPP issues and federal income related programs.
Tel: 1-800-367-5693 (Employers)
Tel: 1-800-206-7218 (Employees)
Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020.
These are local hubs for job seekers. They provide help and advice in your job search or career development. Currently, their offices are open but providing service through phone, email or online platforms only.