Social distancing protocols have many Canadians remaining at home and no longer commuting to work. Meanwhile, trying to save money to contend with a loss of income is a common experience for many right now.
While bills for auto insurance, cell phone plans and home internet service continue to come in, many providers are offering some flexibility or discounts depending on a customer’s needs. With so much time being spent indoors, entertainment platforms are also offering extended free trials or discounts to their services for the time being.
Here are just some of the discounted or temporarily free services you can access during the COVID-19 pandemic to help with your monthly bills or to help keep you connected and busy.
Shudder: The horror streaming service that is available in Canada is offering an extended 30-day trial with the code SHUTIN. After 30 days, the service costs around US$4.75 a month.
Sundance Now: The streaming platform that hosts independent movies has extended its seven-day free trial to 30 days. It costs US$4.99 a month after the trial ends.
Acorn TV: The British streaming service that offers U.K. comedy, drama and mystery content has extended its seven-day free trial to 30 days. After the trial ends, the service costs $7.49.
Shaw Media: Shaw Media customers are being given free access to some children’s channels while schools are closed. Previews for Treehouse, the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon began on April 23 and will continue until June 30.
NFL Game Pass: The NFL is providing free access to its Game Pass platform for 30 days. Full-game replays from 2009 until now are available along with access to original content.
NBA League Pass: The NBA is offering a free preview of its content, which includes access to previous games and original content.
NHL Live: The services that allows customers to stream all games so far from the 2019-2020 season is currently available for free to all Canadians.
Books and music
Scribd: The publishing platform is offering a 30-day free trial to all its content including books, sheet music, and magazines.
SirusXM Radio: SirusXM is allowing customers to stream their content for free until May 31.
University libraries and publications: Multiple universities, colleges and publications around the world are making some of their online content free to access for a limited time. This includes the American Institute of Physics content, Cambridge University textbooks and the National Emergency Library which contains various texts available during COVID-19.
Mobile service providers
Rogers: Until June 30, Rogers is waving long-distance calling for wireless, wireless home phone and for small businesses. Data overages for home internet in residences will be waived starting March 14 until June 30. See a full list of changes to services here.
Bell: Bell has waived extra usage fees for all residential internet customers. All pay-per-use roaming fees for all destinations have also been halted for now. See here for a full list of changes to services.
Telus: Telus is offering flexible payment options for all customers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. See here for a full list of changes to service.
Freedom: Flexible payments are available for those who are having trouble paying their bills.
Koodo: Flexible payment options are available for those facing financial challenges. Disconnection dates for postpaid customers are being delayed until further notice.
Virgin: Extra usage fees are being waived until June 30.
Fido: Long distance charges for calls within Canada are being waived for Fido wireless and home phone customers until June 30. Data overage fees are also being waived for home internet customers until May 31. For wireless and internet customers, accounts will not be suspended or disconnected and flexible payment options are being offered.
AllState Canada: AllState has created a one-time, “Stay at Home Payment” for customers with an active automobile policy as of April 8, 2020. Customers who qualify will receive a payment that’s approximately 25 per cent of their monthly premium.
The Canadian Auto Association: The CAA is offering a 10 per cent rate decrease for those who are new or returning policyholders and the discount will apply over a 12-month policy term.
Desjardins insurance: Refunds are available for those who have seen their driving habits reduced significantly due to COVID-19. Distance travelled will be calculated over a three month period to determine the amount of the refund. Customers need to apply by May 31 to qualify.
Economical Insurance: Economical is also offering refunds if there’s proof you’ve been driving less. You could be eligible for a 15 per cent reduction based on how many kilometres you’ve driven until June 30. Coverage suspension is also an option for customers who aren’t driving at all.
Aviva: Through their #StayatHome discount, Aviva is offering reductions of up to 15 per cent if you are driving less. To qualify for the savings, customers need to contact their broker or agent.
Wawanesca: The insurance broker is cancelling non-sufficient funds fees until May 25 and is offering options to reduce coverage if you are driving less so savings can apply.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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