COVID cases in Lynn Valley care home continue to climb

Dr. Bonnie Henry in the foreground and Health Minister Adrian Dix in the background

"This is not a quick fix but the measures we take now will have an impact on the outcome", added Dix. The moratorium on rent increases, which will include any hikes planned for April 1, is in place for four months.

"This is an wonderful thing", said Teresa Douglas, who was facing a a $50-a-month increase May 1 in the rent for the two-bedroom townhouse she and her husband rent through student housing at the University of British Columbia.

As of March 26, Dix says that the province has 3,903 total beds vacant in the acute care system, with 371 vacant critical care beds.

"People are feeling a lot of fear and anxiety and they need to be able to depend on the comfort and stability of home right now", Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson said.

The payments will be administered through BC Housing and are on top of previously announced aid from the federal and provincial government.

British Columbia is offering tenants some of the strongest protections in Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by freezing rents, prohibiting evictions except in extreme circumstances, and offering subsidies to those in need.

The supplement will be paid directly to landlords. The logistics of the program are still being worked through.

For more on the resources available for tenants and landlords, go here.

There are 500,000 renters in B.C. and all, technically, may want to access the program but Horgan encouraged only those who need it to access it.

While it may appear that the rate of risk to the community isn't growing as quickly as in other countries - Henry said she didn't believe on a track to match the situation in Italy - both Dix and Henry reiterated the need for vigilance in adhering to the current public health restrictions.

"The stress is off the charts right now".

"We are doing everything we can to make sure that if (people) are sick or self-isolating, or if they have had their hours cut back or they were laid off that they would not be fearful of losing their home", Horgan said.

The measures are part of the province's $5 billion COVID-19 response plan - which was announced on Monday - and follow tax and payment deferral options from governments, Crown corporations and banks meant to ease the financial burdens Canadians' may be facing.

Earlier today, the federal government announced a new $2,000 monthly benefit for Canadians, which replaces and expands two previously announced emergency benefits.



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