It is an overwhelming time. To help workers focus on the public health situation, the BCFED will be updating this post with resources and links to understand your rights, and get the information and supports you need.
- The BC government has announced the BC COVID-19 Action Plan in response to the pandemic
- The provincial health officer has issued a number of industry specific guidance documents to provide clarity on what is expected from employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, documents were issued for the retail food and grocery sector and industrial work camps. You can view all of the documents in one place here
- BC government announces measures to support renters and landlords
- The governments of BC and Canada have compiled information on the publicly available provincial and federal programs for temporary foreign workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
- The provincial government is securing hotels, motels and community centres to house people experiencing homelessness or living in otherwise insecure conditions
- The provincial government is offering child care support, including temporary emergency child care, to essential workers in BC
- The provincial government has established the VictimLinkBC support and shelter program for women and children experiencing violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact VictimLinkBC by phone at 1-800-563-0808 or by email at VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca
- The provincial government is offering monetary support to renters impacted by COVID-19
- Applications for BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will open May 1
BC Emergency Program Act
- BC government increases its powers by invoking the Emergency Program Act
- Vancity Credit Union, the Vancouver Foundation, and the United Way have launched a Community Respond Fund to support non-profits providing services to those most in need.
- ICBC allows payment deferrals during COVID-19 pandemic.
- Vancity Credit Union offers mortgage payment deferrals, payment flexibility, and other supports during COVID-19 pandemic.
- Community Savings Credit Union offers financial support package for workers impacted by COVID-19
- Coastal Community Credit Union offers financial relief program to those impacted by COVID-19
- The BC Centre for Disease Control has established health guidelines for retail food and grocery stores in response to pandemic.
- The Retail Action Network has set up a Worker Solidarity Fund to help BC workers weather the pandemic.
- The BC Government has developed a COVID-19 Temporary Pandemic Pay program for front-line care and support workers.
- BC Hydro Customer Crisis Fund available for anyone struggling to pay utilities bills during this crisis
- Translink has suspended fare collection on buses to support social distancing
Know Your Rights at Work
If you are working, your employer is required to provide you with a safe work environment. Here is some information about workplace health and safety rules as they apply to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Occupational health and safety resource for COVID-19, from the BCFED Health & Safety Centre
- Your rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the Retail Action Network
- WCB Information on COVID-19 and Workers' Rights
- Section G3.12 of the Occupational Health and Safety guidelines guaranteeing the right to refuse unsafe work.
- Moore Edgar Lyster has compiled information to help BC workers navigate layoffs, termination, and serve range pay
For more general information about the COVID-19 outbreak, the government's response, and guidelines for guarding your own health, access one of the resources below, or call the dedicated government hotline.
- BC Government COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information
- BC Government Updates on the Pandemic
- BC Government COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool
- BC Government dedicated non-medical hotline for COVID-19 Information: 1-888-COVID19
- BC Centre for Disease Control - COVID-19 Care
- BC Centre for Disease Control - Common Questions about COVID-19
- First Nations Health Authority - Information on COVID-19
- Vancouver Coastal Health - Information on COVID-19
Employment Insurance, Sick Pay, and Other Benefits
We know that with social distancing and widespread closing of organizations and businesses, thousands of workers are seeing their income vanish. There are some resources available to help you make ends meet.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Provides $2000/month for up to four months to workers who have lost their job, are still employed but not earning income, are sick or quarantined, must care for someone who is sick or quarantined, or must care for a child. Workers whom are employees, the self-employed, and contract workers are all eligible. The CERB does not negate EI benefits. Applications will be open in early April.
- Application for federal Employment Insurance during COVID-19 Outbreak
- Summary of applying for EI process in BC
- An exhaustive list of supports compiled by the Broadbent Institute
- A how-to guide to all of the available government support programs, by Professor Jennifer Robson
Other Federal Supports
- Personal Income Tax filing date extended until June 1, 2020.
- GST tax credit increased for low-and-mid income Canadians with payment date scheduled for May. Average benefit will be $400 for individuals and $600 for couples.
- Six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment of federal student loans.
- Federal government updates on COVID-19 in Canada.
- The Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS) has put together a compact guide to the supports available
- The federal government has established guidelines for employers of Temporary Foreign Workers in the context of COVID-19. You can read them here in English, and here in French.
- The federal government has released more details about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, including application and eligibility information
- Federal government expands the CERB to include part-time and seasonal workers, increases supports for front-line workers
Unions are mobilizing to advocate on behalf of their members, and all workers. We will continue to update this with the latest activities of our affiliates.
- BCGEU is calling for suspension of rent and mortgage payments for workers impacted by the crisis.
- BCGEU has put together a step-by-step guide for applying for EI.
- UFCW is calling for increased health and income protections for the grocery store and pharmacy workers.
- UFCW sent an urgent letter to BC Minister of Labour Bains calling for several emergency actions to protect grocery and pharmacy store workers.
- UNITE HERE Local 40 has compiled information for workers applying for EI.
- HEU is keeping an up-to-date list of essential information for workers in the health care sector.
- HSA has also compiled crucial information for health care sector workers, and has set up a dedicated email address and phone line to answer questions.
- Canadian Labour Congress calls for 14 days of paid and job-protected sick leave for all workers.
- Canadian Labour Congress calls on banks to grant credit relief and lower interest rates on credit cards.
- The Vancouver & District Labour Council has also put together a list of helpful resources
- The Vancouver & District Labour Council calls on government to protect front-line workers