The province will provide a $300 supplement each month for some residents who currently receive income and disability assistance.
The crisis supplement will be offered for the next three months, the minister of social development and poverty reduction said.
The $300 a month is for those who are not eligible for emergency federal programs like the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
For those who are eligible for those programs, the province will temporarily exempt federal employment insurance benefits, including the CERB, for the next three months. This is to allow those already getting assistance to benefit from new federal support programs without reductions to their monthly payments, Minister Shane Simpson explained.
The $300 will also be available to low-income seniors who receive the province’s Senior’s Supplement, and those who receive income or disability assistance and live in special care facilities.
The ministry says this supplement will be automatically added to cheques for those who are eligible.
“We are putting in place measures that complement the federal crisis measures to support our most vulnerable populations and ensure they do not fall deeper into poverty as a result of COVID-19,” Simpson said during a news conference Thursday.
“This is a stressful time for everyone, but for those struggling to put food on the table at the best of times, it is important that we ensure there are no additional barriers to get what they need to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy.”
Simpson added that, due to fare suspensions from BC Transit and TransLink, the province will provide anyone who uses the BC Bus Pass Program, and is on some type of assistance, with a $52 transportation supplement for as long as fares aren’t being charged.
The supplement will be part of the next cheque those individuals receive, and will be added on each month going forward.
Those who’ve purchased passes through the program on their Compass Card will not see those passes cancelled, so they don’t need to reapply in the future.
Funding for the initiatives announced Thursday is part of B.C.’s $5-billion COVID-19 action plan, which also includes relief for renters, taxpayers and residents suddenly out of work.