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

North Island College going digital for spring, summer terms

Students won’t need to be on campus for coursework, labs or exams

Campbell River elementary school wins Follett Challenge award

Willow Point School earned $5,000 US in Follett products and software

Sayward Clean Up Days postponed in April

July event to go as scheduled until further notice

RCMP looking for missing Campbell River man

Bernard Eberlein was last seen in Campbell River on March 27

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Most Read