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

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

RCMP pursuit in Okanagan Falls leads to arrest of Penticton man

Seamus Kirby of Penticton is facing numerous charges including flight from police

North Okanagan bands together in support against COVID-19

New group launches website with tools to help endure crisis

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen cuts two positions

Management roles cut as a result of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Summerland couple sharing positive messages

Carsten and Val Nielsen are displaying professionally made signs during COVID-19 pandemic

WATCH: Salmon Arm artist hosts virtual art show amid COVID-19

Roxi Hermsen’s show “Into the Cosmos” is a tribute to her father Bill Sim

HERGOTT: COVID-19 and ICBC

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

COVID-19: Armstrong gym fined $345 after failure to close

The fitness centre was issued a ticket a day after province ordered all gyms to close

Bus rider who travelled to Golden tests positive for COVID-19

The passenger travelled from Calgary to Golden on March 15

Armed robbery of legal grow-op in Sicamous ends in arrest near Enderby

Residents alarmed over increased police presence Tuesday morning

Wildfire burns out-of-control on Adams Lake band land in the Shuswap

BC Wildfire Service reports Shuswap two-hectare fire is not threatening structures

COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

Gateway and Our Place shelter sites housed under one roof amid pandemic

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Most Read