Message from MLA Sheila Malcomson
A Message from Sheila:
Thank you to all Nanaimo’s frontline groups for partnering with the Province to better support our community’s most vulnerable. Our government is here to support the valuable work non-profits do to make sure our community is a safe and welcoming place for everyone.
Our $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan outlines BC's first steps to deliver the urgent support people and organizations need. It includes:
Support for small businesses is support for non-profit organizations
Provincial relief for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic also applies to non-profit organizations. Many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines have been delayed to September 30. We’ve also further reduced the school property tax rate for commercial properties to achieve an average of 25% reduction in the total property tax bill for most non-profits. Our government has partnered with the federal government to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, to lower rent on eligible commercial properties by 75% (it launches in mid-May. The commercial tenant would be responsible for covering 25%, the property owner 25%, while the federal and provincial governments share the remaining 50%. This 50% is a forgivable loan for eligible non-profit tenants for April, May and June).
Support for seniors
Thank you to the United Way for partnering with us to better support seniors. To help seniors with the simple day-to-day tasks we are providing $50 million to help bolster the United Way’s Better at Home program, so they continue living independently while remaining connected to their communities. We are also expanding the 2-1-1 call centre, a province-wide information and referral service, to help seniors whose support network has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This service will help keep seniors safe in their homes by matching them with volunteers in their community that can assist with basic needs including grocery shopping, pharmacy drop-offs and check-ins.
Supports for people with developmental disabilities
For people with developmental disabilities and their families during this difficult time, we’re funding $35.6 million over three months through Community Living BC to support service providers delivering residential services, including group homes, home-sharing and supported independent living that adults with developmental disabilities count on. Families are now eligible for emergency relief funding for children and youth with special needs, and there are flexible guidelines and payment plans for existing services. Families with children with disabilities will also receive an extra $225 a month for April, May and June.
Mental Health supports
Here2Talk provides free 24/7 mental health counselling for post-secondary students.
Access to free and low-cost mental health services has been expanded, especially for frontline workers.
KidsHelpPhone.ca mental health support got extra BC funding.
Supports for vulnerable people
To ensure B.C.’s most vulnerable – including people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors – do not encounter additional barriers, our government has implemented a series of temporary supports and supplements during the COVID19 crisis, like:
- VictimLink provides 24/7 crisis support for victims of family or sexual violence 800-564-0808.
- People on Income/Disability Assistance now get full exemption of CERB or EI (no clawback), and if they don’t qualify for EI/CERB, get a BC $300 bump-up for 3 months (low-income seniors get this too).
- Youth in care won’t age out during the pandemic, and payments continue despite school and training closures.
- School meals continue (75K meals/week).
- For renters: evictions ban, freeze on rental rates, and rental support up to $500/month.
- Changes to utility and ICBC payments and free transit and hospital parking will all help affordability.
- $3 million emergency grant to food banks help British Columbians get the food they need.
- Our government is working hard to secure spaces at hotels, motels and community centres for vulnerable people to self-isolate including those experiencing homelessness, people without safe spaces to self-isolate, and youth. Thanks to all the local groups part of that vital support effort.
Our government is working hard to make sure people are supported during this uncertain time. What’s above is not an exhaustive list: To access all provincial information and supports go to www.gov.bc.ca/covid19 and please let me know about gaps you find.
We’re taking real first steps to help people during this unprecedented time, but there is much more to do. Thank you for your community work, and for doing your part to stop the spread of the virus. Together we will beat COVID-19.
My constituency office remains open: please reach us at 236-362-0012 and Sheila.Malcolmson.firstname.lastname@example.org.