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Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett’s regular column for the 100 Mile Free Press

As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, an increasing number of industries, communities, families and individuals are experiencing financial hardship here in Cariboo-Chilcotin. I understand residents are left with many questions over what supports are available to them during this uncertain time.

With information and programs announced by both the provincial and federal governments, it can be difficult to understand what assistance you are eligible for.

The best way to receive up-to-date and reliable answers about the specific supports you need is to visit the federal and provincial websites and COVID-19 support apps.

For those who have lost income due to this pandemic, starting this week you can apply for financial relief through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, as well as the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.

There are supports for individuals available through increased Canada Child Benefit payment, provincial rental subsidy program and deferred GST payments, income tax and student loan payments.

For businesses feeling the impact of lost revenue, there is a federal wage subsidy program, delayed provincial tax increases, and deferred federal taxes and BC Hydro payments to help you get through this.

In addition to government support, do not forget to check with your financial institution, who are also providing flexible options for businesses at this time.

Beyond financial assistance available, you can seek additional help through the support lines: dial 8-1-1 to access health information services and 2-1-1 to connect seniors to community volunteers and government supports.

During this time of crisis, know that provincial and federal governments are working behind the scene and where there are gaps to fill, community members are stepping up. I am heartened by the stories of neighbourly kindness and people going out of their way to ensure everyone gets through this together - I have never been more proud of my constituents.