The $1,000 payment for workers affected by COVID-19 won’t come til early May, the B.C. finance ministry confirmed Tuesday.
The money, announced by Finance Minister Carole James Monday, is meant to be a “tax-free emergency payment” for workers struggling to make ends meet as layoffs and shutdowns continue due to the novel coronavirus. The virus has infected at least 472 people in B.C. and killed 13, health officials said Monday morning.
A finance ministry spokesperson said those who get EI, the new federal Emergency Care Benefit or the Emergency Support Benefit – both unveiled by Ottawa last week – will qualify to get the $1,000 payment.
“The $1,000 is not income-tested, so that, in fact, will go to middle-income earners,” James said in a brief debate on the $5 billion pandemic aid package she tabled in the B.C. legislature March 23. “People who are on employment insurance — who are accessing employment insurance, so who have lost their work — will have the ability to access that $1,000 as well. That’s part of the program.”
People who qualify for the money include workers who are sick, quarantined or have been laid off due to COVID-19, parents with sick family members, children or kids who must stay home because schools and daycares are closed, and who are self-employed and losing work or closing up shop due to the virus.
The finance ministry said an online application process is being worked on and information will be “coming soon,” but did not specify when.
The $1,000 is part of a $5 billion economic plan laid out by the B.C. government Monday, of which $2.8 billion will go to people, and $2.2 billion will go to small businesses.
Premier John Horgan said there was help for renters in the $5 billion plan, but the details of that won’t be rolled out till Wednesday.