One-bedroom rates in Victoria are on the up

If you’re like many British Columbians, you may be facing loss of income as well as uncertainty surrounding employment and return to work as the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect the economy.

In light of the pandemic, the provincial government and several businesses have offered aid for anyone currently struggling financially through measures like bill deferrals, supplements and even pauses on loan payments.

The B.C. government specifically announced a $5 billion action plan to help British Columbians during these uncertain times, which is a part of Canada’s $82 billion in federal aid that is being offered.

There are many different supports being offered provincially and federally during the ongoing pandemic, most with quick and easy online application processes.

Here are 6 resources available for household financial support:

Rental supplements

Anyone currently renting and experiencing loss of income can now apply for the new temporary rental supplement for the months of April, May, and June.

Households with no dependents are eligible for a rent rebate of $300 per month, and households with dependents can claim $500 per month.

For units with roommates, each tenant will be able to apply for the supplement.

You can apply here.

Mortgage deferrals

Canada’s six largest banks including RBC, TD, BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC and National Bank are offering mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months to those experiencing the economic downfall of COVID-19.

Vancity is also deferring payments of mortgages and other loans for six months on a case-by-case basis.

Individuals or business owners facing hardship are urged to contact their bank directly to discuss options that may be available.

BC Hydro

BC Hydro has introduced a COVID-19 customer assistance program to defer bill payments or arrange for flexible payment plans with no penalty.

Residential customers who have lost jobs or had wages reduced as a result of COVID-19 will receive a credit worth three times their average monthly bill which will not have to be paid back. You can apply here and applications are open until June 30th.

Small businesses forced to close as a result of COVID-19 will have their April to June 2020 bills forgiven and can apply beginning April 14th.

You can also call BC Hydro’s customer team at 1-800-224-9376 to discuss bill payment options.

ICBC

ICBC has offered bill deferrals for up to 90 days, and you can apply for this payment date change online.

FortisBC

FortisBC announced their COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund, which will allow residential customers to defer their bill payments from April 1st to June 30th.

Repayment schedules can be set up to allow bills to be paid over a full year after June 30th, and you can apply here.

Telus Internet

TELUS has recently announced they are expanding their support for low income families amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, by automatically waiving the fees for their ‘Internet for Good’ program for two months.

Customers enrolled in the program will receive access to the provider’s home internet services – at no cost for 60 days.

For information on how to apply for TELUS Internet for Good, you can visit the TELUS website.

Additional supports

Telus, Rogers, Shaw, Koodo and Freedom Mobile are also all saying they will offer flexible payment plans to customers facing financial hardship.

Rogers and Fido have gone a step further, pledging not to disconnect any customer in financial trouble in the next 90 days.

Rogers is also waiving long-distance fees. You can contact your cellphone provider specifically to see if you’re eligible for any of the above payment plans.

Federally, Canada has also announced the Canada Emergency Response benefit, a new fund created to aid those facing unemployment or lost income by providing eligible applicants with $2000/month.

Canadians can apply through their CRA My Account or by calling 1-800-959-2019.

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