Students attending British Columbia's 25 public post-secondary institutions, who are experiencing emergency financial pressures, will benefit from a one-time investment of $3.5 million in emergency financial assistance.
"Our government is taking steps to ensure post-secondary students get some emergency support so they can focus on staying healthy, meet their educational goals and finish their semester," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "We heard from students who are facing extremely difficult situations, and we're moving quickly to ensure they have access to immediate financial relief."
The $3.5-million investment will supplement existing student emergency financial assistance. This funding will support domestic B.C. students who are experiencing an unexpected financial emergency that may affect their ability to finish their studies and handle expenses. This non-repayable emergency assistance can be used to help with a broad range of costs, including living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are not already able to study remotely.
Each year, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training invests $100,000 in public post-secondary institutions for student emergency assistance. This investment represents a significant boost to the existing supports to help students who may be experiencing financial hardships.
Students who attend one of B.C.'s 25 public post-secondary institutions can access these funds by contacting their school's financial aid office, which will assist with the application process. Each post-secondary institution will determine the specific amount a student can receive based on their individual needs.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Last week, Merritt City Council passed a resolution to provide support to a grant application for funding to help establish a situation table.
Situation Tables are frontline, multi-sector collaborations that enable public safety, health, and social service agencies to proactively identify and rapidly mitigate the underlying risks associated with criminal offending, victimization, and personal crisis or trauma (e.g., overdose, eviction, etc.) by connecting vulnerable people to the services they need.
Community Policing Coordinator Marlene Jones is taking the lead on the grant application.
Council also expressed full support for the creation of the table during the meeting.
“I’m very pleased to see this moving forward. I think this is the evidence-based wrap-around service that we need in Merritt,” said Coun. Travis Fehr.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea. The situation table, in my opinion, will hopefully help alleviate some of the concerns that our citizens have,” added Coun. Mike Bhangu.
Both motions were passed unanimously.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
- Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"We are announcing 53 new cases, for a total of 1,066 cases in British Columbia.
"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 497 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 367 are in the Fraser Health region, 72 are in the Island Health region, 114 are in the Interior Health region and 16 are in the Northern Health region.
"In the last 24 hours, we must also report one death in the Fraser Health region, for a total of 25 COVID-19 related deaths in British Columbia. Our condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones.
"We continue to see new cases in long-term care and assisted-living facilities. There are now COVID-19 cases in 21 facilities in B.C., all in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions. Public health officials are providing support to implement outbreak protocols at all sites.
"To date, 606 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and no longer have isolation requirements.
"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 142 individuals are currently hospitalized, 67 of those are in intensive care and the remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"This is an incredibly challenging time for all of us. Along with the serious health risks of COVID-19, many are also facing financial hardship and mental health struggles.
"We know, without a doubt, that with all of us working together, we will get through this. Our goal is to have the restrictions and orders in place for as short a time as possible.
Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest figures of COVID-19 in BC.
(Previous numbers in brackets)
New Cases – 53
Total Cases – 1,066 (1,013)
Patients in Hospital – 142 (128)
Patients in ICU –67 (61)
Recovered – 606 (507)
New Deaths – 1
Totals Deaths – 25 (24)
Health region breakdown;
Vancouver Coastal – 497 (476)
Fraser –367 (348)
Island – 72 (67)
Interior – 114 (107)
Northern – 16 (15)
Dr. Henry did not make any new public health orders.
More to come.
The Government of British Columbia and BC Hydro are helping people, small businesses and industries most impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"We are facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. People are out of work, and businesses are facing tough choices about whether they can stay open," said Premier John Horgan. "Giving people relief on their power bills lets them focus on the essentials while helping businesses and encouraging critical industry to keep operating."
BC Hydro will offer new, targeted bill relief to provide immediate help to those most in need.
Residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 will receive a credit to help cover the cost of their electricity bills. The credit will be three times their average monthly bill over the past year at their home and does not have to be repaid.
Small businesses that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 will have their power bills forgiven for three months. BC Hydro is waiving bills for these customers from April to June 2020.
Major industries, like pulp and paper mills and mines, will have the opportunity to defer 50% of their bill payments for three months.
"People who have lost their jobs or are unable to work due to COVID-19 shouldn't have to choose between paying their rent or mortgage and paying their hydro bill," said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. "These measures will also provide relief to small businesses such as restaurants and retail shops who have had to close during COVID-19, and support them in reopening once the pandemic has passed."
In addition to this new targeted bill relief, BC Hydro rates will be reduced by 1% on April 1, 2020, after the B.C. Utilities Commission provided interim approval of the application BC Hydro submitted last August. This is the first rate decrease in decades.
* The average residential customer's bill is $159 per month, so the average credit provided will be $477. Some customers may also be eligible for BC Hydro's existing Customer Crisis Fund, which provides access to grants of up to $600 to pay their bills.
* The average bill savings for small businesses who qualify will be $121 per month, so the average total bill savings will be $363.
Two patients were transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries following a crash on the Coquihalla yesterday.
The accident happened between Hope and Merritt when a truck rolled over. One occupant was able to free themself, the second was extracted by emergency crews.
The cause of the crash is being investigated. Reports from the scene described driving conditions as poor.
The highway has now reopened, expect delays.
Drive BC is reporting that the Coquihalla, HWY 5, is closed in both directions between Merritt and Hope.
Drive BC tweeted the following;
# - Vehicle incident on the # between # and # has traffic stopped in both directions to allow a Medivac heli to land between Exit 238 and Exit 250. Expect delays of up to 1 Hr. Assessment in progress, watch for traffic control and drive carefully.
more to come