The B.C. government has introduced a $5-billion aid package to support British Columbians and businesses who are suffering due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

The plan includes $2.8 billion is support for individuals and $2.2 billion for businesses.

“This is stressful. People need help now. Businesses need help now,” Horgan said.

“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.”

The response fund includes $1.1 billion to support incomes for workers and families.

Part of this is a one-time $1,000 tax-free benefit for British Columbians unable to work due to crisis.

In order to be eligible for the benefit applicants must be eligible for the federal care benefit and employment insurance.

This includes workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centres and schools are closed, and those caring for sick family members, such as an elderly parent.

The workers can be EI-eligible and non-EI eligible, such as the self-employed. The benefit will be paid to B.C. residents, in addition to their federal income supports and is expected to be available by May.

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