B.C. Premier John Horgan announces B.C. is working on its own economic aid package, B.C. legislature, March 17, 2020. (B.C. government)

EI expansion answers B.C.’s request for Ottawa coronavirus assistance

Justin Trudeau says $27B fund targets shut-down workers, businesses

B.C.’s small businesses and workers who don’t usually qualify for Employment Insurance will receive payments soon to make up for income lost to COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.

Trudeau announced Wednesday that “exceptional measures” are in the works to help people affected by the shutdown of large parts of the economy. The aid comes from a $27 billion fund to aid businesses and employees who can’t work due to public health restrictions.

“We really wanted to target people who are specifically losing their income,” said Trudeau, adding that payments should be flowing “within the next few weeks.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James called for that measure Tuesday, as officials announced the indefinite closure of schools, bars, some restaurants, dental offices and other functions.

“As we know, more and more people are working contract-to-contract or are self employed in the gig economy,” Horgan said after his government started reviewing the federal package. “These workers also deserve direct support as they self-isolate or care for a family member or children. Therefore, I am pleased to see that federal government responded to our request for additional benefits for those who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance.”

James said she will prepare B.C.’s own aid package to deal with COVID-19 once the details of Ottawa’s program are known. Businesses have asked for relief from provincial sales tax and employer health tax among other measures, and James said she is preparing to take the province into deficit to get through the crisis.

RELATED: Canadian banks to allow deferred mortgage payments

RELATED: Canada-U.S. border closed to all non-essential travel

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the “emergency care benefit” will provide contractors, freelancers, part-time and “gig economy” workers up to $900 every two weeks, for 15 weeks starting in early April.

Morneau also announced a wage top-up of up to $25,000 over three months for employers to help them make payroll, effective immediately.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toquaht Nation on Vancouver Island gives $500 emergency benefit to all adult citizens

“One of the things the government wants to do is ensure the needs of the people are met.”

ICET emergency business relief coming for regional tourism businesses

Two programs will be offered for businesses starting in April

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District adopts 2020 budget in closed-door meeting

The plan shows an overall tax increase of 6.64 percent, applied differently in each electoral area

Timeline pushed back for Tofino-Ucluelet highway construction project

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel said the ministry’s announcement came as “no surprise.”

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read