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

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

Nuxalk Nation receives over $4 million in funding for Big House

The funding is joint federal, provincial and municipal and will support 24 infrastructure projects

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read