Living in one of the most expensive cities in North America is certainly no easy feat. Whether you need relief on an energy bill or support while you look for work, there are government benefits in BC that can help alleviate some of your financial stress. And what’s more, a few have been increased for the July 2023 to June 2024 period!

BC Climate Action Tax Credit

This is a tax-free payment made to low-income individuals and families to offset some of their carbon taxes.

From July 2023 until June 2024, the BCCATC will provide a credit of up to $447 per person (up from $193.50 per person in the previous period), $223.50 for a spouse or common-law partner, and $111.50 per child ($223.50 for the first child in a single-parent family).

BC Family Benefit (previously called the BC Child Opportunity Benefit)

This benefit is a tax-free monthly payment to families with children under 18. The provincial amount is combined with the federal Canada Child Benefit (CCB) into a single monthly payment.

From July 2023 to June 2024, those eligible can receive a maximum of the following amounts:

  • $145.83 per month for the first child
  • $41.66 per month for the first child in a single-parent family
  • $91.66 per month for the second child
  • $75 per month for each additional child

Note that for those with an adjusted family net income between $27,354 and $87,533, the benefit is reduced by 4% of the portion of income over $27,354.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate

If you’ve recently purchased, constructed, or renovated a home (including on leased land), you may be eligible for a new housing rebate, which returns some of the GST or the federal part of the HST paid.

Other new provincial new housing rebates may also be available for the provincial part of the HST.

Disability Assistance

From tax credits and reductions to education funding and a pension plan (CPP), there are several federal benefits for People with Disabilities (PWD) and their supporting family members & caregivers. If you face challenges with mobility, you could even receive partial gas refunds. This benefit is for individuals with general assets under $100k, or $200k for couples.

In BC, those on Disability Assistance can also receive a BC Bus Pass at a reduced cost.

Income Assistance in BC 

Those who are approved for income assistance can complete an employment plan each month and receive a monthly rate based on hardship and family unit size. For example, here are the monthly totals for the next payment date of July 19th, 2023:

  • $935 per month for a single person
  • $1,525.00 for a couple on assistance with no children
  • $1,280.00 for a single parent with one child
  • $1,720.00 for a couple on assistance with one child

Those who qualify will also receive free MSP coverage, non-deductible PharmaCare prescription coverage, and potentially other living expenses covered as well.

On a federal level, there are Regular EI benefits for those who lost their job, as well as separate benefits for sickness & injuries, caregiving responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, self-employment, and for Canadians living abroad.

Public Service Health Care Plan

Public service employees living in any province (full or part-time for a minimum of 6 months) are entitled to multiple group insurance benefits, including an optional Public Service Health Care Plan meant to help fill any gaps in existing provincial/territorial health care plans. Select employees and their dependents can receive 80% reimbursement for prescription drugs, life-sustaining drugs, “quit-smoking” aids, vision care, dental treatment, and more.

Benefits for Indigenous Peoples 

There are multiple benefits and programs accessible to Indigenous-identifying individuals across Canada, including tax credits based on income level, house repairs, post-secondary support, assistance for those interested in natural sciences and engineering or the military, and Aboriginal Summer Training and Leadership programs for youth.

To be eligible for tax credits, individuals (and their spouses/common-law partners) must file their income tax on time every year.

The Employment Program of British Columbia (EPBC)

ITA-registered apprentices can receive temporary financial support through a network of WorkBC Apprentice Services while they attend ITA-approved training. Support can include the coverage of basic living expenses, daily commuting, and dependent care.

On a federal level, those who are interested in apprenticeship programs or skilled trades may be able to receive EI benefits while attending full-time technical training, or while unemployed.