Dear LEVEL community,

We know this pandemic has been challenging for many as we all come to grips with a new reality. We’ve compiled a list of resources that we hope can help you begin to navigate what’s available to you during this time. This list is not exhaustive and we are aware that there are some people in our communities that are not eligible for some of the resources we’ve included below. We’ll continue to add to this list as we identify more BIPOC specific supports and better understand how the crisis continues to impact different communities.

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GENERAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCES AND SUPPORTS
HOUSING

BC Hydro

  • BC Hydro is halting all service disconnections for non-payment of bills and reducing electricity rates by 1%
  • COVID-19 Relief Fund applies a 3-month credit to your BC Hydro account for eligible customers (avg credit will be $477). Applications will be accepted until June 30. Apply online.
  • COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program offers bill deferral and payment plans for customers struggling due to impacts of COVID-19. Call Customer Assistance at 1-800-BC-HYDRO.
  • Customer Crisis Fund is an existing program that grants of up to $600 off your energy bill. Apply online.

Renters and Landlords

Emergency Housing

  • Existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. New spaces have been secured for those without a safe place to self-isolate. Call 2-1-1 or search online.
INCOME SUPPORTS

Low- and moderate-income households:

  • GST credit will provide an additional one-time boost for eligible individuals in April. Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
  • Climate Action Tax Credit will provide an additional one-time boost of up to $564 for eligible families of 4 and $218 for eligible individuals in an enhanced payment in July. Children under 18 years old must be registered for the CCB to qualify. No other action is needed; benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.

Families with children:

  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB) provides one-time boost of up to $300 per child in May. No action if you are already registered for CCB. Otherwise, apply online.
  • Emergency Child Care Funding provides child care providers with emergency government funding on the condition that they not charge parents fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve spaces for families, starting April. Check with your provider to see if they are in this program.
  • Temporary Emergency Child Care available for essential service workers. Use the child care matching service for kids aged 0-5, otherwise contact your school directly for school aged kids. Call 1-888-338-6622 or register online for kids aged 0-5. Otherwise, contact your school. More info here.

Youth in care:

Post-secondary students:

  • Emergency Assistance available for students at public post-secondary institutions. Non-repayable funds can be used to help with a broad range of costs, including living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are not already able to study remotely. Contact your school’s financial aid office to apply. See backgrounder for contact list.
  • Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund available for Indigenous students at public post-secondary institutions can apply for non-repayable emergency assistance that can be used to help with a broad range of costs, including living expenses, groceries, cell phone bills, childcare, medical, dental, optical, and travel costs for family crisis or community obligations. Contact the Indigenous Student Service Centre on campus. See backgrounder for contact list.
  • BC Student Loans repayments paused for six months without penaltystarting April. No action required.
  • Canada Student Loans repayments paused for six months without penaltystarting April. No action required.
  • Here2Talk provides free, confidential mental-health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students by app, phone, or online chat, 24-7. Call 1-877-857-3397 to speak with a counsellor or get more information online.

People on income assistance or disability assistance:

  • Full exemption of CERB or EI for three months (no clawback).
  • COVID-19 Crisis Supplement of additional $300/month for three months for those who do not qualify for federal emergency supports like CERB or EI. No action required, support boosts will be applied to next payments automatically. More info here.
  • Work search” requirement for those on Income Assistance is suspended for now.
JUSTICE
MENTAL HEALTH
  • Access to free and low-cost virtual mental health services has been expanded across BC for adults, seniors, and youth. Front-line health care workers experiencing distress and mental health concerns in response to COVID-19 now also have access to increased mental health services. Full list of available services here.
  • New BC COVID-19 mental health self-assessment tool is now available.
  • VictimLink BC provides immediate 24/7 crisis support for victims of family or sexual violence is available by phone through VictimLink BC’s 24/7 telephone service. Call 1-800-564-0808 or send an email for more info.
  • Here2Talk provides free, confidential mental-health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students by app, phone, or online chat, 24-7. Call 1-877-857-3397 to speak with a counsellor or get more information online.
PUBLIC TRANSIT
  • TransLink: Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required. July 1 fare increase is deferred indefinitely. Service reductions in effect: check online before you go.
  • BC Transit: Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required.
TAXES
  • Filing due date for Income Tax Return is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31.

TRAVEL
  • Repatriation assistance and Emergency Travel Loan of $5000 available to Canadians who are abroad. Call +1 613-996-8885 or send an email.
  • British Columbians returning home must self-isolate for 14 days. Emergency Management BC and Service BC will provide support to enable compliance. More info here.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTS

Last updated: April 24, 2020