The resources and benefits listed below are available directly from the federal or provincial governments and organisations. You are eligible to receive or apply for these benefits regardless of if you have Status or not, and whether you live and/or work on or off reserve. The benefits that depend on submitting your 2018 or 2019 personal tax return are identified.

Information retrieved from: First Nations Public Service Secretariat 2020-04-24 FNPSS-info-2

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
WHAT: up to $2,000 a month for up to 4 months if you have lost your job/income
WHO: anyone who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the past 12 months and has lost their job or income due to COVID-19 (e.g. forced to stop working because of the outbreak, those who are sick with COVID-19 and those who are not being paid but still have employment)
WHEN: applications being accepted now (receive payment in 3 to 10 days)
HOW: apply on-line or by phone (1-833-966-2099)
NOTE: you do not need to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) as well as CERB to request this short-term CERB coverage – to help you determine if you should apply for EI or the CERB, visit the CERB webpage – if you would like assistance applying, you can complete an on-line request and a Service Canada employee will contact you within 2 business days

Temporary Rental Supplement
WHAT: temporary rental supplement of $300 to eligible households with no dependents and $500 with dependents, paid to the landlord
WHO: anyone with low to moderate income who has experienced an income loss or reduction as a result of COVID-19 (and is not receiving Income Assistance or Disability Assistance or another form of rent subsidy)
WHEN: applications now open – supplements available for April, May and June
HOW: both the renter and landlord need to apply on-line or by phone (1-877-757-2577)
NOTE: applies on and off reserve, including Nation-owned rental buildings; you must apply in April to receive April payment; annual rent increases are not allowed; and currently, landlords are not allowed to evict tenants for any reason

B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
WHAT: $1,000 one-time payment
WHO: anyone who has lost income because of COVID-19 – various eligibility requirements are applied (residency, CERB recipient, at least 15 years old, agree to file 2019 tax return, not receiving provincial income or disability assistance)
WHEN: applications to open May 1 – payment expected in May
HOW: apply on-line or by phone (starting May 4, the number is not yet released)

Canada Child Benefit (CCB) – 2018 TAX RETURN NEEDED
WHAT: additional $300 per child on your next CCB payment
WHO: if you have a child under your care
WHEN: starting May 2020
HOW: no need to apply if you already receive the CCB – if you do not already receive the CCB, apply on-line or call 1-800-387-1193

Goods and Services Tax (GST) Credit – 2018 TAX RETURN NEEDED
WHAT: one-time special GST credit payment for lower income families (about $400 for individuals or $600 for couples)
WHO: anyone who has a lower or modest income
WHEN: early May
HOW: no need to apply if you already receive the GST credit – if you are eligible to receive the GST credit, it will automatically be applied

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs)
WHAT: required minimum withdrawals have been reduced by 25% for 2020
WHO: for seniors who currently have RRIFs
WHEN: effective immediately
HOW: no need to apply
NOTE: there is a 211 phone line that seniors can call to find help coping with COVID-19 isolation or visit

Climate Action Tax Credit (CATC) – 2019 TAX RETURN NEEDED
WHAT: one-time increase to the CATC of $42 per adult and $13 per child (for a total of up to $218 per adult and $64 per child)
WHO: for moderate to low-income families
WHEN: July 2020
HOW: no need to apply if you already receive the CATC – if you are eligible to receive the CATC, you will automatically receive it when you file your 2019 personal income tax return

Essential Worker Supports
WHAT: Essential Worker Wage Enhancement and Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers
WHO: for those deemed essential workers by the Province
WHEN: Available now
HOW: Essential Worker Wage Enhancement – Details forthcoming; Child Care – Request Temporary Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers

Other Payment Deferrals & Flexibility
If you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to defer and/or have flexibility on some bills and payment:
• Mortgages – contact your bank
BC Hydro – bill credits, flexible payment plans and grants
Fortis BC – bill payment deferrals
ICBC – bill payment deferrals

Student Loans – Defer Payments (federal and provincial)
WHAT: you do not need to pay Canada or BC student loans for 6 months
WHO: anyone who has a Canada or BC student loan
WHEN: March 30 to September 30
HOW: no need to apply as deferral is automatic

Personal Tax Returns
Whether you work on or off reserve, you are encouraged to file your personal income tax returns for 2018 and 2019 to ensure you receive the available benefits and credits. The deadline for filing tax returns has been deferred until June 1, 2020.
Here is a link for assistance: Doing your taxes
Here is a phone number for assistance: 1-800-959-8281 (press 4, then press 3, then stay on-line for agent!)

Supporting Your Wellness
If you need support for your wellness, you can find information at:
Wellness Together Canada – Mental Health and Substance Use Support
• Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 or visit the online chat

Please Note
This is not a comprehensive list of programs, benefits or resources for First Nations in BC, and the information provided is subject to change. New announcements and changes to existing programs are being made almost daily, so please refer to the following websites and links for the most up-to-date information:

If you have any non-health COVID-19-related questions or requests, please email:
Service Canada: Access a dedicated phone line for First Nations at 1-877-631-2657 to learn more about available supports and resources.