BC Resources for COVID-19

COVID-19 Support - March 25, 20 - Sajitha Nair

The outbreak of COVID-19 and the illness caused by the novel coronavirus is a significant challenge for the entire world not just posing as a health threat but also a financial one. The Government of Canada is working closely with provinces and territories to ensure that all necessary and appropriate support is available to ensure a comprehensive coordinated response to COVID-19.  

As the outbreak continues to evolve, the HR4 and Minery team have put together the latest communication and highlights announced by the Provincial Government of BC as of March 23rd 

 A new B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers  

This will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak. The benefit will be a one-time payment for British Columbians who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit or Emergency Support Benefit as a result of COVID-19 impacts.  

This includes workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centers and schools are closed, and those caring for sick family members, such as an elderly parent. The workers can be EI-eligible and non-EI eligible, such as the self-employed. The benefit will be paid to B.C. residents, in addition to their federal income supports and is expected to be available by May. 

Employer Health Tax Payments 

Effective immediately, businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020. Businesses with a payroll under this threshold are already exempt from the tax. 

Changes to the Employment Standards Act   

The Province has made two significant changes to the Employment Standards Act to better support workers both during the COVID-19 public health emergency and in the long term: 

  1. Changes will allow workers to immediately take unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to work for reasons relating to COVID-19. This means workers who are ill, need to self-isolate, need to care for their child or other dependent, or whose employer is concerned that the employee may expose others to risk, will be able to take leave without putting their job at risk.  
    • The leave will be retroactive to Jan. 27, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in B.C. During this public health emergency, people can take this job-protected leave for as long as the circumstance that requires them to be away from work applies.   
  2. To better support workers on an ongoing basis, the changes also provide up to three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for people who cannot work due to illness or injury. This is a permanent change to the act that brings B.C. in line with all other provinces in Canada. 

While on job-protected leave related to the COVID-19 crisis, workers may also be eligible for financial support through expanded Employment Insurance benefits through the federal government. 

Increased fines up to $50,000 for Businesses Breaching State of Emergency 

Businesses who violate the city of Vancouver’s State of Emergency bylaw by failing to comply with social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic could be fined as much as $50,000. In an amendment passed unanimously Monday by city council, the fine also included a fine for individuals set at up to $1,000. 

Social Distancing must be maintained with a minimum of 2.0m physical distance between people. Anyone who ignores Vancouver’s state of local emergency declaration and does not honor social distancing requirements to stay at least one meter apart could receive a ticket and stiff fine if city council approves a recommendation supporting enhanced powers to enforce it. 


 With ongoing developments occurringthe HR4 and Minery team will continue our efforts to keep you updated with any latest developments on COVID-19.  

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