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Coronavirus: Applications to open for B.C. employment relief on May 1

Finance Minister Carole James speaks at a press conference at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito.

More than a month after announcing an employment benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C. government is set to open applications on May 1.

The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment for people who have been unable to work as a result of the crisis.

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“This benefit is further help for British Columbians who are worried about paying their bills and making ends meet,” said Finance Minister Carole James in a news release.

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“During these uncertain times, we want to get through this together by helping displaced workers support themselves and their families.”

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Most people who are eligible for the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit, also known as CERB, are also eligible for the B.C. benefit, including those who have run out of employment insurance benefits and subsequently qualify for the CERB.

To qualify, you must have been a B.C. resident as of March 15, 2020, and meet the same eligibility requirements as the federal benefit.

Applicants must be at least 15 years old on the date of application and have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return. Those on provincial income assistance or disability assistance are not eligible.

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Starting May 1, applicants can submit information on the website or call 778 309-4630 or toll-free within B.C. at 1 855 955-3545.

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Payments will start to go out within days of application approval. There may be minor delays during the initial surge.

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