The Government of BC has declared property management and real estate services a “non-health related essential service”.  See the full list of essential services HERE

While there is no question this crisis will result in a temporary drop in real estate activity, remarkably the market is still moving.  New listings are being added every day.  Early April will provide us with a clearer picture re the effect COVID-19 had on listings and sales in March.  Until then we will continue to provide you with the latest developments on interest rate cuts and financial support for businesses and families.

Now more than ever … information will be key in helping home buyers and sellers make informed decisions so here is the latest in the Province and across the Nation …

On March 25, the Federal Government issued a news release outlining details of the new “Canada Emergency Response Benefit” (CERB).  The CERB replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

The CERB will provide $2,000 per month for up to four months for Canadians who: have lost their job, are sick, are quarantined, are caring for someone who is sick, is a working parent who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school closures and/or are still employed (have not been laid off), but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation

This benefit will apply to Canadians that are employed, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals that would not otherwise be eligible for EI.

Canadians who are already receiving EI will continue to receive their benefits and should not apply for the CERB. However, if their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB.

A new web portal for accessing the CERB will be available in early April.  The full release is available HERE

Also in national news … 

The major Canadian banks have announced they are offering up to 6 months of mortgage payment deferral.  By taking advantage you will still owe the money down the road but it can take the pressure off if income is an issue in the coming months.

For those eligible, the Canadian Child Benefit will receive a partial boost Payments will increase up to $300 per child, per year with higher payment amounts to commence in May.  No action needed for this, payments will simply be revised.


The Provincial Government has also released details of how they will respond to COVID-19.  Some highlights are as follows:


The BC Government is extending tax filing and payment deadlines until September 30, 2020 – no interest or penalties will accumulate – for the following: Employer health tax, Provincial sales tax (including MRDT), Carbon tax, Motor fuel tax, Tobacco and School tax created for some commercial properties will be reduced by 50% for 2020.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today more help for small and medium-sized businesses to keep employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 crisis, including a 75 per cent wage subsidy and guaranteed interest-free loans.  

“If you’re struggling to get by right now and you have a payment due at the end of the quarter, we’re going to give you more time. It will also allow you to keep the money that you would have sent to the government and use it instead for your immediate needs.”  Details to come on Monday.


The BC Emergency Benefit will provide a one-time payment of $1,000 to those who receive EI or the CERB.  This looks to be a separate application and will be open “soon”.  The payment will be paid in May 2020.

The Province has introduced a BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) of $500 per month which will support renters and will be paid directly to landlords on their behalf.  Applications will be made through the BC Housing website in early April.  There has also been a halt on evictions and rent increases.

The Climate Action Tax Credit which gets paid with the GST credit to low to moderate-income families will be increased for the July payment only.

BC Hydro will be allowing customers to defer bill payments and arrange flexible payment plans without penalty.  They have also provided access to a grant of up to $600 for those who have lost their job, are ill or have lost a family member.  Customers are directed to call 1 800 BCHYDRO.

Lastly, ICBC is allowing customers to defer payments up to 90 days without penalty.  Application for the deferral can be made through the online resource tool HERE .

We hope you find the above a helpful overview.

If you or your family need real estate or financial or social assistance in any way during this crisis please consider us an information resource and call anytime.


Jenn and Colin

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

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