Today the BC Government announced that renters who have lost income because of COVID-19 may qualify for up to $500 in rent relief. Some people have been arguing that this is not enough to live on in Vancouver (where rents can be $1500-2000+). It’s worth mentioning that people on disability have to make due with much less than that all the time. Of course all of us who have had our employment disrupted by COVID-19 are uneasy.
I’m a little concerned that when asked, the minister presenting the $500 renters relief package could not confirm if it was up to $500 per person, or up to $500 per place being rented. That detail alone could make a large difference, and we all desperately hope it’s the former. Another big change announced at the same time is that there will be a freeze on evictions. Two exceptions for this were mentioned. One where it comes to issues of safety, or two, in situations where the case is already before the courts, the courts retain the power to decide the outcome.
We’ve also been told that landlords may no longer force their way into rented spaces, without regard for social distancing. This means they can not require that tenants let them in to show the space, due to safety concerns. I’m sure this information will come as a relief to some! More information about the rent relief program can be found here.
The Federal Government also announced a huge benefit package called the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit, or CERB. It will offer $2000 a month of taxable funds to Canadians out of work due to COVID-19. It will be available for up to 16 weeks, retroactive to March 15th, and available up until October 3rd. More information can be found here.
The above relief package will be in addition to the $1000 non-taxable benefit being offered by BC’s Provincial Government. More info can be found here.
On a personal note, I’m starting to get a bit more concerned about finances, and am hoping to sign up for some of the mentioned financial relief. My main issue however is that I need my 2018 tax assessment in order to sign up for any of it, even just to sign up for CRA service, and that just happens to be the one year’s records I can’t find. I’ve been trying to reach the person I pay to do my taxes for me, but haven’t had any luck so far. If I really need to I can call in to the CRA for support, but their lines are probably super busy with everything going on right now.
Tomorrow is my girlfriend’s birthday, and I won’t be able to celebrate with her in person.