Three days of paid sick leave will soon be added to B.C.’s Employments Standards Act. The intention is to support workers who stay home related to Covid-19 (such as having symptoms, self-isolating, and waiting for a test result) in the first few days before workers become eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). “The Province will reimburse employers without an existing sick leave program up to $200 per day for each worker to cover costs.”
Starting January 1, 2022, the legislation will extend paid sick leave to workers who cannot work due to any illness, with the number of paid sick days to be determined.
With the recent rise of Covid’s third wave in B.C., we wanted to revisit people’s public benefit options and put them all in one place.
If you’re not eligible for EI, consider the following options:
3. The Canada Recover Sickness Benefits (CRSB) provides $500 “to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.”
The Province is offering a new monetary benefit for British Columbia residents called the BC Recovery Benefit – “a one-time, tax-free payment of up to $1,000 for eligible families and single parents and up to $500 for eligible individuals. You have until June 30, 2021 to apply.” The portal to apply online opened today, December 18, 2020.
The benefit amount is determined by your 2019 tax return. Rates:
You must apply to receive the benefit. Applying online is the fastest way to get your payment. However, phone support for applying by phone begins December 21, 2020. People without a computer or internet access can visit a Service BC location near them to use a computer terminal.
On December 7, 2020, in a continued effort to reduce COVID-19 transmission, B.C. Public Health Officer Bonnie Henry released new orders extending the November 19, 2020, ban on all in-person events and social gatherings until midnight on January 8, 2021.
Dear BCRCC Members:
The BC Regional Council of Carpenters (BCRCC), in collaboration with the trustees of the BCRCC Benefit Plan, is pleased to announce that the Member and Family Assistance Program (MFAP), jury duty coverage, and bereavement leave are now accessible to all BCRCC members – not just those covered on the BCRCC Benefit Plan.
The MFAP, provided by Homewood Health, is a counselling, resources, and support service that’s available to all BCRCC members – and their dependents – in person, by phone, by video, or online. It offers a confidential and caring environment and will provide counselling for any challenge, such as:
family – marital – relationships – addictions – anxiety – depression – life transitions/change – grief/bereavement – stress – nutrition – lifestyle changes – weight management – smoking cessation – childcare and parenting – elderly and family care – financial – legal – career planning – workplace issues – pre-retirement – and shift work
The MFAP is free and accessible 24/7. Call 1-844-722-3327 or visit homeweb.ca
As of today, Friday, May 1, 2020, the online portal to apply for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is open. This benefit is a tax-free, one-time $1000 payment “for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.” Find more information here.
The eligibility requirements are similar to those for the Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB). View the eligibility and application requirements here.
Apply online here.
Note: While telephone applications will be accepted starting May 4, due to anticipated high volumes, the Province strongly recommends applying online. To apply by phone: 1-855-955-3545 (within BC only); 1-778-309-4630 (outside B.C.).
Last week, the Federal Government announced some expansions to its Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). While we encourage you to read more about these expansions, we’d particularly like to note that the government will now “Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.”
This means that if you’re currently on the CERB, and you’re offered a dispatch for a position that’s short term, accepting the dispatch may not automatically disqualify you for the CERB.
Please note: According to this Fed Gov page, this $1,000 per month is before taxes. And “per month” means “during an eligibility period,” which are as follows:
We’ve made a fourth version our COVID-19 scenarios grid to help direct BCRCC members to benefits and information depending on their situation.
Most significantly, the portal to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is now active.
Moreover, Employment Insurance (EI) benefits (both regular and sickness EI) and the CERB have been streamlined: Applying for either of these benefits is now done through one and the same portal. Also, per this Fed Gov site, “If you applied for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.”
Please see this latest version of our COVID-19 scenarios grid for BCRCC members. It will help direct members to benefits and information depending on their situation. Here’s what’s changed or been added since the previous version:
We have updated our grid designed to help guide members to benefits and information depending on their situation. This revised version includes information about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit announced by the Federal Government on March 25, which replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Response Benefit. It also includes resources about construction and COVID-19 from WorkSafe BC.
Benefit Plan Changes
In addition, please see the updates to the BCRCC Benefit Plan that provide additional support to members and their families during this challenging period.
Please help keep our jobsites safe by maintaining safe social distances and by washing your hands frequently. Do not go to work if you are ill, whether or not the illness has been confirmed as COVID-19.
BC Ministry of Health Releases Self-Assessment Tool
Anyone who feels ill can use this self-assessment tool that the B.C. Ministry of Health released to help determine the nature of their illness. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.
Changes to EI Sickness Benefits
Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provides up to 15 weeks of income replacement for people who are unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine. Visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply. People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate. The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim. Find more information here.
We understand and share many of the concerns we have been hearing in response to the COVID-19 situation. Our hope is that our members and their families stay healthy during this critical time. The BCRCC is actively monitoring the latest news from the BC Centre for Disease Control, the BC Ministry of Health, as well as the Federal Government, and will help to relay new information.
Canada’s Economic Response Plan
On March 18, the Federal Government announced its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The benefit will provide temporary income support for:
Q&A for Employees and Employers from the BC Building Trades
Find answers to commonly asked questions – including those involving construction work – here.
CLR’s Safety Recommendations
Also, Construction Labour Relations (CLR) has encouraged its signatory contractors that the following precautionary measures be adopted on jobsites:
• Jobsite meetings can still be held, but perhaps in smaller groups which are appropriate for the space available to allow for proper distance between employees.
• Consider staggering lunch breaks so potential exposure in lunch rooms is limited to smaller groups.
• Where possible add additional washing stations and hand sanitizers and ensure the ones you have are available in convenient locations so that access is easier.
• Discourage the shaking of hands. It may feel strange, but elbow bumps or no contact at all is becoming the norm.
• Keep 1—2 meters distance between yourself and anyone you are talking to.
Before getting dispatched to a jobsite, members will be asked: 1. Do you have a fever or are you experiencing any respiratory systems such as coughing, sore throat or shortness of breath; 2. Have you, or a member of your household, travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days; 3. Have you, or a member of your household, been in contact with anyone infected with the COVID -19 Virus in the last 14 days? If the answer is yes, dispatch should be denied until 14 days after the member returned to Canada or was last in contact with an infected person.
To prevent transmission of the virus, the BC Centre for Disease Control asks people to “self-monitor their health and to apply a low threshold when feeling unwell to stay home until they are better.” If someone is showing symptoms, they should contact their doctor or another health authority about potentially getting tested for COVID-19. They can call 811 to speak to a registered nurse. Also, the BC Ministry of Health has released a COVID-19 self-assessment tool.
There is a hotline to provide non-medical information and help people decide if they should seek testing: 1-888-COVID19 or 1-888-268-4319. It will be staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Information is available in more than 110 languages.
Information about COVID-19 from the Federal Government
The Federal Government’s page about EI and COVID-19 is here. The website to apply for EI is here. Service Canada has also set up a toll-free number for those seeking EI for self-isolation: 1‑833-381-2725. Information about eligibility for regular EI is here. Information about medical EI is here.
We will continue to share updates as the situation develops.
Due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 globally, the BCRCC is proactively trying to limit the spread of infection in the workplace. Our shared priority is the health, safety, and welfare of our members and signatory contractors.
Safety Precautions for Individuals
Although the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population, we must all remain vigilant in order to protect public health. Please view this poster for steps on how to protect yourself.
Health Canada recommends the following procedures to increase proper hygiene and reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:
SYMPTOMS: The following are common symptoms of COVID-19:
RISK: You are at a greater risk for COVID-19 If:
If you experience the symptoms above AND/OR you have a higher risk of developing COVID-19, please contact your health care provider. You can also call 811 to speak with a registered nurse.