COVID-19 Info & Resources

COVID-19 Info & Resources for Members

HEALTH INFORMATION

COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool

The BC Ministry of Health has developed a self-assessment tool to determine if you might need further assessment or testing. Link to Self Assessment Tool

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 please call 811

Prevention
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – if soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your hand and face
Avoid close contact with others – social distancing –
Stay home if you are sick

New COVID-19 Hotline 1-888-COVID19

The Province of BC has created a new COVID-19 information hotline which is dedicated to nonmedical questions about EI such as travel recommendations social distancing, support and assistance from government agencies.

1-888-268-4139 (7:30 am to 8:00 pm).

You can also text a new helpline for assistance 604-630-0300.

FINANCIAL SUPPORTS

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit for COVID-19 Illness or Quarantine

If you qualify for EI Sickness Benefit and are unable to work due to illness or quarantine, the federal government has made changes in response to COVID-19.

Waiving of the one week waiting period
Under normal circumstances, if a worker qualifies for EI Sickness benefits, they have a one week waiting period (unpaid) before their payments begin. The federal government has waived the waiting period for people who are quarantined due to COVID-19. This gives eligible employees the ability to receive EI benefits from the entire 14-day quarantine period.

Waiving of the requirement to provide a medical certificate
You qualify for EI Sickness benefits for COVID-19 quarantine if you:

  • are employed and pay EI premiums
  • have lost at least 40% of your usual weekly pay
  • have worked a minimum of 600 hours in the year before the claim or since your last claim, and
  • cannot work due to COVID-19 illness or quarantine imposed by law or by a public health official, or
    your employer asks you to self-isolate when public health officials recommend it

Contact the dedicated toll-free number for questions about the waiving of the one week waiting period for EI. 1-833-381-2725.

Visit the Employment and Social Development Website for info and to apply.

Emergency Support Benefit
For workers who lose their jobs or face reduced hours and are not eligible for EI Regular Benefits, starting in April 2020 they will be able to apply for an Emergency Support Benefit.

Emergency Care Benefit
Workers who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but don’t qualify for EI Sickness Benefits and don’t have access to paid sick leave will receive up to $900 biweekly for 15 weeks starting in April 2020. This includes those who are sick themselves, quarantined, or are forced to stay home to look after others who are sick or children who are not in school.

One Time Special GST Credit Payment effectively doubling the maximum annual GST for the 2019/2020 benefit year (implemented by early May 2020).

Increase to the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts by $300 per child for the 2019/2020 benefit year (implemented by early May 2020).

Community Savings Credit Union – Line of Credit
Community Savings Credit Union is offering a special Line of Credit for workers facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They are offering members who have been laid off or who are facing reduced hours, access to an interest free line of credit (for six months). This is available to current and new members of Community Savings Credit Union and the application process can be done
online. This would offer some financial relief to members who need financial support during the difficult weeks ahead.

For more information please call 604-654-2000 or toll free 1-888-653-2000.

For more information visit the Community Savings Credit Union website.

Mortgage Payment Deferrals
Canada’s major banks (RBC, BMO, National Bank, Scotiabank, TD & CIBC) announced that they are allowing mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months for to help individuals who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Please contact your bank for further details.

INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS ON THE JOBSITE

WorkSafe BC occupational health and safety regulations require workplaces to have either fixed or portable washroom facilities that include provisions for hand-washing, and that these must be kept in clean and sanitary condition. Similar provisions apply to where workers consume food (lunchrooms).

You have the right in B.C. to refuse unsafe work if you believe these conditions are not being met and present an undue hazard.

If you are being asked to work unsafely:
1. Call Darrell Hawk 604-788-2902 and email the BC Building Trades at info@bcbuildingtrades.org They are compiling information to advocate on behalf of all construction workers AND
2. Call WorkSafe BC to at 604-276-3100 (Lower Mainland) or 1-888-621-7233 (toll free).

Andrew Mercier, the Executive Director of the BC Building Trades spoke about this on CKNW Radio.
Go to https://globalnews.ca/pages/audio-vault-cknw/ and listen to the audio between 7:35am and 8:00
am on March 19, 2020.

Are you allowed to refuse work if you are worried about COVID-19 at the workplace?
Under BC’s Occupational Health and Safety laws, you can refuse unsafe work if you have reasonable cause to believe that performing the work will cause undue harm to your health and safety, or that of another person (Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Part 3).

You should report any unsafe condition to your employer and the employer is obligated to investigate and address the situation. The
employer must take all reasonable preventative measures to protect workers from work-related hazards, including any infectious disease that may be found in the workplace which may pose a risk to workers.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for our members on the jobsite

OTHER GOVERNMENT SUPPORT & MEASURES

Personal income tax filing deadline extended to June 1

Ability to defer any taxes owing until August 31 for any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020. This applies to tax balances due, as well as instalments, No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

Pausing payments and interest accumulation on Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying student loans. This will take effect March 30 and will last until September 30.