VICTORIA – B.C. Recovery Benefit is set to roll out later this month.
“As 2020 draws to a close, we look back on a year like no other,” said Premier John Horgan in a news release. “British Columbians came together to face the challenge of COVID-19 with resilience and strength, but the road to recovery is still ahead of us. We have worked hard to get the B.C. Recovery Benefit to people as soon as possible. We are united with the millions of people and families who are wrapping up a difficult year and look forward to a new year with hope and the promise of a continued recovery.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, the B.C. government introduced legislation to secure funding for approximately 3.7 million British Columbians to receive the tax-free B.C. Recovery Benefit. Passage of the bill will ensure British Columbians can apply for the benefit starting Dec. 18:
- $1,000 for families with incomes under $125,000. Families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts.
- $500 for single people earning less than $62,500. Single people earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced benefit amount.
“We know that making ends meet during the holiday season is a concern for many families, even without the added stress of a pandemic. These additional supports will mean B.C. families will have extra dollars to spend when they need it most,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “These benefits will also help stimulate our local economy and support small businesses that are working hard and providing good jobs for people. This is an important part of how we recover.”
British Columbians receiving income assistance and disability assistance will be eligible for the B.C. Recovery Benefit. As well, people on income assistance, disability assistance and low-income seniors receiving the senior’s supplement will receive an additional recovery benefit at $150 per month from January 2021 to March 2021.
“This pandemic has had significant impacts on vulnerable populations so that’s why, unlike with the previous workers’ benefit, people on income or disability assistance will be eligible for the recovery benefit, and they will receive a recovery supplement of $150/month,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Coupled together, the recovery benefit and recovery supplement will provide vulnerable families with up to $1,900 during this difficult winter season.”
The B.C. Recovery Benefit and the additional temporary recovery supplement continue government’s support for people and families during the COVID-19 pandemic and into B.C.’s recovery. Other previous supports include the $300-per-month COVID-19 crisis supplement (April to December 2020), $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, extension of a rent freeze through to July 10, 2021, and the one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit in July 2020, which put up to $174.50 for adults and $51.25 for children.
The Liberals have criticized the benefit, saying the NDP don’t have a long-term economic plan.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on our province and there is no question that government needs to provide families and businesses with relief, however, we need to make sure the right relief is going to those who need it most,” said Bernier, MLA for Peace River South. “Without an economic recovery plan, John Horgan is essentially telling B.C. families that they will have to stretch this one-time payment through to May of next year.”
In addition to the $2 billion supply bill tabled in the legislature, the government is also proposing legislation that would delay the provincial budget to April 30. This means that people and businesses in B.C. will have to wait until May of 2021 for an economic plan and any government supports to come with it, said Bernier.