If your ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19, you may be eligible for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers. We’re sharing information from the Government of BC about the Benefit, eligibility and how to apply, below.    

What support is provided and for how long?   

The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers is a tax-free, one-time $1,000 payment for BC residents whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19. 

Eligibility:   

You must fulfill all of the following to qualify for the Benefit: 

  • You must have been a resident of BC on March 15th, 2020 
  • You must meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (check out our blog post on the CERB for more info) 
  • You must have been approved for the CERB  
    • You do not need to have received the payment at the time of your application to qualify 
  • You must be at least 15 years old on the date you apply 
  • You must have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 BC income tax return 
  • You must not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance 

An important note on eligibility:  

You don’t need to have all of the required eligibility documentation handy when you apply (you’ll simply be asked eligibility questions); however, all applications will eventually be verified, and at that point you may be asked to provide proof of eligibility.  

Know that if you receive a payment and you’re later determined to be ineligible, you may be required to repay it with additional penalties and interest. 

How and when to apply:    

Online applications are now open.  

  • There is no wait time to access the online application (which is likely to be quicker than calling in) and the application process only takes a few minutes. 

If you don’t have Internet access, you can apply by telephone starting May 4th. 

  • Toll free within BC at 1-855-955-3545 (Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm) 
  • Lines will be open for questions on May 1st, but you won’t be able to apply over the phone until May 4th. 

You have until December 2, 2020 to apply.  

When you’re ready to apply, you’ll need all of the following: 

  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) 
  • Your direct deposit information: 
    • Branch (Transit) Number 
    • Institution Number 
    • Account Number 
  • An approved Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 
    • If you haven’t applied for CERB, you must do so (ensuring eligibility) to qualify for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers 

How long is the wait? 

  • You can expect to receive payment within ten business days after your application is approved. 
    • You’ll be notified by email once your payment has been processed 

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 Look through all of our COVID-19 related information on our website.     

This is an evolving situation and information is changing all the time, so go to the source for updated information.   

Where do we fit in? Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.   

About Consumer Protection BC: We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.