Temporary relief is on the way for British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19.

Applications for the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers (BCEBW) is opening on May 1st.

“This benefit is further help for British Columbians who are worried about paying their bills and making ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Minister of Finance Carole James. “During these uncertain times, we want to get through this together by helping displaced workers support themselves and their families.”

The BCEBW is a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment.

Most people who are eligible for the new federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are also eligible for the BCEBW, including those who have run out of employment insurance (EI) benefits.

To be eligible for the BCEBW, you must:

  • have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15th, 2020
  • meet the eligibility requirements for the CERB
  • have been approved for the CERB, even if you have not received a benefit yet
  • be at least 15 years old on the date of application
  • have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return
  • not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance

Starting May 1st, applications can be submitted through this website.

You’ll also be able to call (778) 309-4630 or toll-free within B.C. at 1 (855) 955-3545, Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm for general support or questions.

Applications over the phone will begin on May 4th.

Payments will start to go out within days of application.

While there may be minor delays during the initial surge, government staff will be working to quickly process payments.

The benefit is part of the province’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people and businesses.