Relief Packages from the Federal and Provincial Governments

Both the federal and provincial governments have introduced a number of supports for Canadians experiencing hardship from COVID-19. We have compiled this list of relief packages that are relevant and/or specific to students and their loved ones. It is up to date as of April 2, 2020, and will be updated as new information and supports are announced.

Both the federal and provincial governments have introduced a number of supports for Canadians experiencing hardship from COVID-19. We have compiled this list of relief packages that are relevant and/or specific to students and their loved ones. It is up to date as of April 2, 2020, and will be updated as new information and supports are announced. 

General Information:

The BC Government has mandated the following social distancing orders to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Gatherings of more than 50 people are banned
  • Persons should maintain 2 metre distance from one another
  • Stay home as much as possible, except for essentials like groceries
    • It’s okay to go outside for fresh air, but maintain the 2m distance from others
  • Self isolate if you are sick, even if it’s not COVID-19

General Financial Assistance


Student Specific

  • Six months of repayment relief on student loans for all borrowers, starting May 30 and going to September 30, 2020.
    •  No payment will be required and interest will not be accumulated during this time.
    • You do not need to apply for this support – it’s automatic.
  • Students can continue to apply for Canada student loans; there is no change to the application process
    • If a borrower wishes to apply for student financial assistance during the pause, they should apply through their province or territory of residence.


  • The tax filing deadline has been extended until June 1. Taxpayers can defer until August 31 income tax that becomes owing before Sept. 21st.
  • The mandatory 1 week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits has been waived, for at least 6 months.
    • If you are sick, quarantined, or have been directed to self-isolate, the Federal Government will also waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • A fund of $305 million has been announced for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support to address urgent needs in the communities of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation peoples. More info here.


Student Specific

3.5 million is being invested in emergency financial assistance for domestic students. 

  • It can be used to help with a broad range of costs, such as living expenses, groceries, and laptops and other supplies for online learning for students who don’t already have them.
  • It will supplement existing supports
  • Is non-repayable
  • To apply, contact your institution’s Financial Aid office. For Okanagan College, that’s


The Provincial Government has announced a number of supports for renters in BC:

  • Eligible tenants will receive up to $500 per month towards rent, for up to four months.
    • This is in addition to other financial supports already announced for British Columbians facing financial hardship.
    • You do not need to apply.
    • Paid directly to your landlord.
  • All evictions are halted, except for in situations where health and safety or undue damage to the property are at risk
  • Enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch are also halted, except for in extreme situations. Court-ordered evictions are up to the courts (which operate independently of the government).
  • Annual rent increases are frozen for as long as BC is in a state of emergency.
  • Landlords will not be able to access rental units without the consent of the tenant, except where health and safety are at risk or to prevent undue damage to the unit.
  • The methods in which renters and landlords communicate are restricted to prevent in-person contact. For example, rent should be paid via e-transfer rather than physically handing your landlord cash or a cheque.
  • Landlords may restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • More info here.

A one-time enhancement to the Climate Action Tax Credit will be made in July 2020 for low and moderate income individuals and families.

  • Adults: $218 (up from $43.50)
  • Children: $64.00 (up from $12.75)
  • You do not need to apply for this tax credit. You will automatically receive it if you are eligible.


  • Customers on a monthly payment plan who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer their payment for up to 90 days with no penalty.
  • Sum of deferred payments must be repaid
  • Apply here.

The government has also temporarily introduced COVID-19 Leave:

  • Unpaid, job-protected leave for employees unable to work due to COVID-19 (similar to a Leave of Absence).
  • Employees may take this leave for as long as they need it.
  • Not required to provide a doctor’s note.
  • More info here.

Job Loss Assistance


The Federal Government is promising $2000 per month for up to 4 months for Canadians who lost income due to COVID-19. 

  • Applications will open in early April, and can be made by phone or online
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • You have had to stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support
    • You are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
    • You are a working parent who must stay home without pay to care for your kids who are sick or need additional care due to school and daycare closures
    • You are still employed, but are not being paid due to there not being enough work and/or your employer has asked you to not come to work.
    • You are self employed, a contract worker, or other wage earner who is not eligible for EI.


The Provincial Government has created the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers:

  • A one-time $1000 tax-free benefit for people who are unable to work or have lost income due to COVID-19
  • BC residents who receive federal EI or the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit are eligible
  • Applications will be open soon
  • Payment will be received in May 2020

If You Have Kids


The Federal Government is boosting Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments for families with children:

  • Extra $300 per child for the 2019-20 year
  • Will be delivered as part of regularly scheduled CCB payments
  • You do not need to apply


Several measures have been announced for the continued care and education of young children and students.

Affordable Child Care Benefit:

  • Parents who choose or need to keep their children at home due to COVID-19 can continue to be paid for up to 2 weeks in 1 month.

Schools and Ongoing Learning:

  • All schools have suspended in-class instruction. Schools are expected to implement measures to ensure education is continued, such as holding classes via video calls.

Final Marks and Graduation:

  • Every student will receive a final mark, and all students on track to graduate to the next grade will do so. 
  • Graduation assessments for grades 10 and 11 students are postponed.
  • The only graduation assessment required for current grade 12 students is the Grade 10 numeracy assessment
    • Grade 12 students who have not completed this assessment but are otherwise eligible to graduate are able to meet this requirement
  • The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, and post-secondary institutions will work together on admissions and ensuring a smooth transition for graduating students.

Low and Middle-Income Students


Top-up payments of the GST credit will be made to low and modest income Canadians.

  • A one-time special payment will be added to the GST tax credit by early May
  • The average additional benefit will be around $400 for individuals, and $600 for couples
  • More info here.

Information for Loved Ones


  • Requirement for medical certificates to access EI sickness benefits is waived.
  • Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) are reduced by 25%.
  • Mortgage payments may be deferred. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis with your bank. Talk to your financial institution for deferral and flexibility payments.
  • $50 million is being put towards women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in their facilities.

If You Have Recently Travelled

  • People who have travelled outside of Canada and returned after March 12, 2020 must self isolate
  • Canadians who are abroad must register with the Government of Canada.
  • Global Affairs Canada is offering emergency loans for Canadians who are abroad and are attempting to return to Canada.
  • The Canada-US border is closed to all non-essential traffic