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Cost-of-living credits will help people, businesses

November 18, 2022 at 12:15 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

With global inflation still driving costs up, families and small businesses in B.C. will get a one-time cost-of-living credit on their BC Hydro bill this fall, and a new BC Affordability Credit in January.

“People and small businesses across B.C. are feeling the squeeze of global inflation,” said Premier David Eby. “It’s a time when people need their government to continue to be there for them. That’s why we’re focused on helping people most impacted by the rising costs we’re seeing around the world – giving people a bit of extra credit, especially at a time of year when expenses can be quick to add up.”

A BC Hydro bill credit will be provided to all eligible residential and commercial electricity customers, including those who receive their electricity service from FortisBC or a municipal utility.

The one-time $100 cost-of-living credit amounts to approximately one month of electricity for a family living in a detached home, or more than two months of electricity for a family living in an apartment.

Commercial ratepayers, including small and medium businesses, such as restaurants and tourism operators, will receive a one-time bill credit for an average of $500.The precise amount is based on their prior year electricity consumption.

The cost-of-living credit will help offset household expenses during the months ahead when bills generally start to increase due to higher energy use due to cooler weather.

BC Hydro is able to provide a cost-of-living credit due to market conditions that resulted in increased trade and domestic revenues. It will apply automatically to electricity bills.

BC Hydro customers will have the credit applied in early December. Customers of FortisBC and municipal utilities are likely to see their bill credits applied early in the new year.

Eligible individuals and families will automatically receive the new BC Affordability Credit through the Canada Revenue Agency, the same way the enhanced Climate Action Tax Credit was received in October. An eligible person with an income of up to $36,901 will receive the maximum BC Affordability Credit with the credit fully phasing out at $79,376. An eligible family of four with a household income of $43,051 will get the maximum amount, with the credit fully phasing out at $150,051.

This additional support means a family of four can receive as much as $410 in early January 2023 to help offset added costs.

“Look for B.C.’s new Affordability Credit in your bank account in January 2023,” said Eby. “We know it won’t cover all the bills, but we hope the little bit extra helps folks out this winter.”

Quotes:

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation –

“Many people are struggling to manage expenses in the face of rising prices for food, fuel and other goods and services they rely upon. This BC Hydro cost-of-living credit will help offset energy bills for B.C. households and businesses.”

Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance –

“These credits are the next steps in a series of targeted cost-of-living measures we’re using to get money into the pockets of people who need it most right now. We’ll continue to invest in ways to reduce costs for people, strengthen services folks count on, and build a stronger B.C. for everyone.”

Diana Gibson, executive director, Community Social Planning Council —

“We know that not everyone is being affected by these cost-of-living pressures in the same way. A new BC Cost of Living Credit for middle- and lower-income people and families who are being hit the hardest by inflation here at home is the right way to go.”

Pierre Angelblazer, student, University of Victoria —

“Friends and classmates are really feeling the hit at the grocery store lately, and it’s added a lot of stress while we’re all trying to navigate school, studying, work and planning for the week ahead. It’s a huge relief to get a little extra money coming our way. We’ll be able to focus on studying instead of being stressed about finding enough money for the next grocery trip.”

Quick Facts:

  • BC Hydro rates decreased by 1.4% on April 1, 2022.
  • Other temporary cost-of-living supports introduced this year include:
    • an ICBC rebate in the summer;
    • helping families in need with back-to-school expenses;
    • an enhanced Climate Action Tax Credit in October that provided as much as an additional $410 for a family with two children;
    • increased BC Family Benefit payments in January, February and March 2023 with the family benefit increasing as much as $58.33 per child for each month, meaning a family with two children will receive as much as $350 from this top-up; and
    • capping rent increases below inflation at 2% for 2023.
  • Starting in December 2022, parents in British Columbia will save as much as an additional $550 per month for each child they have in participating licensed child care centres.

Learn More:

For information about new and existing support measures for B.C. residents, visit: 
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/affordability/family-benefit

Learn about enhancements to the BC Family Benefit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/affordability/family-benefit#:~:text=For%20the%20July%202022%20to,month%20for%20each%20additional%20child

Read about the BC Affordability Credit and the Climate Action Tax Credit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/income-taxes/personal/credits/climate-action

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