Coronavirus 2019 Outbreak

Information about the Coronavirus

The Province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency to support response to COVID-19. This state of emergency has been extended until at least November 10, 2020. See Provincial COVID-19 News for daily updates from Government and the Provincial Health Officer or download the COVID-19 BC Support App for news and alerts. 

BC’s recently announced Restart Plan lays out a series of steps that we will take together to protect people and ensure that our province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.

Province-wide Phone Lines 

HealthLink BC is playing a significant role in supporting the public and has a FAQ about the coronavirus.  If you have questions you can call 811 toll-free in BC, or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.  

Ministry of Health has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, 7:30 am – 8 pm daily.  

  • BC Coronavirus Information Line1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300 

The Public Health Agency of Canada/ Agence de la santé publique du Canada has information for individuals, health professionals, travel advice as well as the current situation in Canada. A new national toll-free information line is providing up-to-date information on COVID-19. Interpretation service is available in multiple languages, 7 am to 12 am daily. 

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Service: 1-833-784-4397 

Testing/Assessment 

BC Ministry of Health also offers the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool which will help determine if you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.  

Testing is recommended for patients with cold, influenza, or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild. Individuals with symptoms can find a collection centre where they can be assessed and tested by using the BC COVID-19 Collection Centre Finder. In addition, primary care doctors may order a test for any patient based on their clinical judgment.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has further information about the virus for individuals as wells as schools. Information is available in Chinese and Punjabi. Patients can also call a new dedicated hotline to receive testing results, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm daily. People are asked to wait at least 72 hours after being tested before calling.  

  • BCCDC Coronavirus Hotline: 1-833-707-2792 

Financial Assistance

The Department of Finance Canada announced new economic measures to support Canadian workers and businesses during this time of uncertainty. 

For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined, or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is: 

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020. 
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI. 

Contact the dedicated toll-free number if in quarantine and seeking to waive the waiting period1-833-381-27251-800-529-3742 (TTY). 

Individuals can also register for EI sickness benefits through the online application.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who: are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19; are self-isolated for reasons relating to COVID-19; or have underlying health conditions, are undergoing treatments, or have contracted sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government, or public authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19. Eligible individuals will need to reapply each week. The two weeks do not need to be taken consecutively. Applications accepted from September 25, 2020 to September 25, 2021 by phone or through MyCRA Account. Call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 between 3 am to 12 midnight PST, Monday to Sunday. Eligible individuals must also: 

  • Reside in Canada 
  • Be at least 15 years old 
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) 
  • Have earned at least $5000 in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply from EI, self-employment income, or maternity and parental benefits from EI 
  • Not be receiving paid leave from their employer 
  • Not also have applied for or receive the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or Employment Insurance (EI) benefits 

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides $500 per week for up to a maximum of 26 weeks per household for workers: unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, daycares, or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19; or because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine, or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19. Eligible individuals will need to reapply each week. Applications accepted from September 25, 2020 to September 25, 2021 by phone or through MyCRA Account. Call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 between 3 am to 12 midnight PST, Monday to Sunday. Eligible individuals must also: 

  • Reside in Canada 
  • Be at least 15 years old 
  • Have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN) 
  • Have earned at least $5000 in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date they applied for EI, self-employment income, or maternity and parental benefits from EI 
  • Be the only person in their household applying for the benefit for the week 
  • Not be receiving paid leave from their employer 
  • Not also have applied for or receive the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or Employment Insurance (EI) benefits 

The Province of BC has also announced several financial supports:  

BC Emergency Benefit for Workers (BCEBW) (apply online May 1, 2020; apply by phone May 4, 2020) will provide a one-time, tax-free $1000 payment to workers who have lost income due to COVID-19. To be eligible, you must:

  • Have been a resident of BC on March 14, 2020
  • Meet eligibility requirements for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
  • Have been approved for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit
  • Be at least 14 years old on the date you apply
  • Have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 BC income tax return
  • Not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance
  • Starting May 1, call 778-309-4630 or 1-855 955-3545 (Toll-free) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday

For people on income or disability assistance:

  • Will be automatically provided a $300 crisis supplement for the months of April to December, 2020. This supplement will also be provided to low-income seniors who receive the BC Senior’s Supplement and recipients who reside in special care facilities. 
  • The province will temporarily exempt federal employment insurance benefits, including the new $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit. These payments will be fully exempted for the next three months so people receiving income assistance and disability assistance will benefit without any reductions to their monthly assistance payments. 

Travel Information

The Government of Canada has issued an Official Global Travel Advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.  All travelers are strongly urged to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, for 14 days after returning to Canada.  If you have even mild symptoms, stay home and call 811.

Effective April 8, 2020, all international travelers returning to BC are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan.

Travel restrictions are in place for Haida Gwaii

Global Affairs Emergency Loan of up to $5,000 can be applied for by Canadians abroad in order to get themselves home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation; for outside of North America, call collect, 24/7, to 1-613-996-8885, or email sos@international.gc.ca.

Looking for other COVID-19 resources?

bc211 is working hard to add and update resources to our online directory as they become available. For services in your area dedicated to COVID-19 response, use the “Service Search” on our website and enter keywords ‘COVID-19,’ ‘COVID,’ or ‘coronavirus,’ along with your location.

 

Updated November 04, 2020 @ 3:00 PM