British Columbians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will receive $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced today.
“The COVID-19 pandemic challenges our health, our economy and our way of life. People and businesses urgently need support,” says Horgan. “Our action plan focuses on services to protect people’s health and safety, gives immediate relief to people and businesses, and plans for B.C.’s economic recovery over the long term.”
Horgan says the COVID-19 Action Plan is government’s first step to provide relief to people and businesses in British Columbia. The plan dedicates $2.8 billion to help people and fund the services they need to weather the crisis; $2.2 billion will provide relief to businesses and help them recover after the outbreak.
B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan builds on the federal government’s COVID-19 economic plan.
Help for Business in B.C.
The following are measures announced by the B.C. government today to assist businesses in the province:
- Effective immediately, businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020. Businesses with a payroll under this threshold are already exempt from the tax.
- In addition to the employer health tax, the Province is extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax until Sept. 30, 2020. The scheduled April 1 increase to the provincial carbon tax, as well as the new PST registration requirements on e-commerce and the implementation of PST on sweetened carbonated drinks, will be delayed and their timing will be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020.
- Business and light- and major-industry property classes will see their school tax cut in half. This will provide $500 million in immediate relief for business that own their property and allow commercial landlords to immediately pass savings on to their tenants in triple-net leases.
In the longer term, the recovery plan will dedicate funding to particularly hard-hit parts of the economy, such as the tourism, hospitality and culture sectors. The B.C. government is partnering with business and labour leaders to build an economic stimulus plan. The Province has allocated $1.5 billion for economic recovery.