The COVID-19 pandemic challenges our health, our economy and our way of life. Never before has our community faced a challenge like this one.
I want to thank everyone in Delta for what you have been doing. It’s making a difference.
I also want to remind people in Delta that we must step up to prevent the spread of the virus, and I want to share the ways our provincial government is stepping up to support people, businesses, and workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As Premier John Horgan told British Columbians last week, “these are uncharted territories for all of us, but together we’ll get through this.”
Making sure that people are able to stay safe and stay home during this extraordinary time means making sure people can pay their bills and provide for their families. This is why last week the B.C. Government announced that British Columbians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit from $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services.
For immediate support for British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19, a $1,000 payment is available through the new BC Emergency Benefit for Workers, in addition to the significant supports offered by the federal government, which include up to $2,000 a month for workers who lose their income as a result of COVID-19. Other measures include boosting the B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit, freezing student loan repayments for six months, and allowing payment deferrals for ICBC and BC Hydro customers.
To help people who are struggling to make rent, we are also halting evictions, freezing rent increases, and offering a new rental supplement that will provide those who need it up to $500 a month per household toward rent and ensure landlords continue to receive some rental income.
To protect workers and ensure nobody feels compelled to work while sick, it is now illegal for anyone in B.C. to lose their job for following the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, during the COVID-19 crisis.
We’re also helping businesses stay afloat by allowing them to defer the Employer Health Tax, PST and other tax payments to the province until Sept. 30, 2020, and by reducing other taxes, such as the school tax.
These are just a few highlights of the first steps we are taking to protect and support British Columbians during this pandemic, and to lay the groundwork for B.C.’s longer-term economic recovery. We are continually looking at ways we can do more.
We are asking British Columbians to step up to prevent the spread of this virus. We must each do our part to protect each other from COVID-19, which impacts people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. We know COVID-19 can make many people very sick, and we’re still learning about how early people infected with the virus can become contagious. This is why if we can we must stay home, wash our hands frequently, practice physical distancing, and follow the orders of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry throughout the pandemic.
My Delta North community office is providing services and support to our community via phone and email, and is able to answer questions about how to access the new supports offered by the provincial and federal government. At the bottom of this letter there is a list of key websites and phone numbers for learning more about COVID-19 in B.C., and the supports that are available.
I am incredibly proud of the ways our community has come together during this crisis. People are doing their part by staying home, practicing physical distancing, and supporting their families, neighbours and communities from afar. The coming months will not be easy, but I know people in Delta are up to the challenge. Thank you to every community member, health care worker, grocery store worker, and essential service provider for doing what you can. Whether you are serving the community by working on the front lines, or serving the community by staying home, thank you.
Ravi Kahlon is the MLA for Delta North.
• Take the self-assessment at covid19.thrive.health
• For seniors looking for additional support or for those looking to support seniors, call 211.
• For info about provincial supports for workers, employers and people, visit: gov.bc.ca/covid-19-provincial-support
• For info about federal supports for workers, employers and people, visit canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
• To reach MLA Ravi Kahlon’s Delta North constituency office, call 604-502-5449 or email Ravi.Kahlon.MLA@leg.bc.ca