The BC government has announced a $5 billion economic plan aimed at supporting people and businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
Dubbed the "COVID-19 Action Plan", the package includes $2.8 billion for residents and services, with $2.2 billion for businesses.
Outlined in the plan is a new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers that will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to residents whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak.
Premier John Horgan and Minister of Finance Carole James announce BC's COVID-19 Action Plan to provide relief to people and businesses in BC.#COVID19 @CDCofBC https://t.co/dt8VQCCIR0 #COVIDbc https://t.co/XIuem3W2t4— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) March 23, 2020
Also included is a $1.7 billion investment in housing and shelter supports, income and disability assistance programs and crucial health services, such as the BC Centre for Disease Control hotline.
BC will also be freezing student loan payments for six months, starting March 30, 2020. Federal student loan payments are being frozen as well.
ICBC is extending deferrals to up to 90 days and people dealing with job loss or illness due to COVID-19 will also qualify for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund grant program for up to $600.
Businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020.
According to Horgan, the long term recovery plan will dedicate funding to particularly hard-hit parts of the economy, such as the tourism, hospitality and culture sectors.
NowMedia will update this story as more information becomes available.