Find help for your financial, mental health, housing, and other needs during the pandemic.

The UVSS is proud to represent all 19,000 members at UVic, but we recognize that COVID-19 requires additional specialized supports. We’ve compiled them all in one place for you, and will add info as the provincial and federal governments release information and we become aware of great resources for students.

Questions? Or, want us to add any resources? Contact the Director of Campaigns and Community Relations, Emily, at campaigns@uvss.ca.

Note: In order to receive most government financial aid benefits (e.g. CERB), you need to file your 2019 taxes and set up your My Account with Canada Revenue Agency. Due to COVID-19, the Canadian Government has extended the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020, for both domestic and international students. 

UVic-specific Aid

  • UPDATE UVic COVID-19 Support Bursary: Applications for the COVID-19 Support Bursary are due by June 1, 2020 at 4 pm. After this date, support for students impacted by COVID-19 will continue to be provided through UVic’s general bursary program. The application deadline for general bursaries for the Summer Session (May-Aug) has been extended to June 8, 2020.
  • Click here to see UVic Emergency Bursary Funds.[Replace] UVic COVID-19 Support Bursary: To apply, fill out the budget sheet. 

Provincial Aid

  • B.C. Emergency Benefit for workers If you’re eligible for CERB and have filed a 2019 B.C. income tax return, you can apply for a one-time tax-free payment of $1000. 
  • Enhanced Climate Action Tax Credit – No application necessary; benefit will be applied in July 2020 for those who are eligible. 
  • BC Hydro Bill Payment Relief – You can receive three months of credit on your BC Hydro bill if you or your spouse has stopped working due to COVID-19. 
  • Fortis BC bill deferment – Apply for an interest free repayment schedule across 12 months. 
  • ICBCApply to defer your monthly payment plan.
  • Vancouver Island Steps Up: A community relief fund meant to help bridge the gap for residents of VI being left behind by standard government funding in the pandemic.

Federal Aid

Note: Volunteering for some programs may make you eligible for the Canada Student Service Grant!

General Mutual Aid

  • Want to support your community, and get help yourself? See if your community has started a COVID-19 mutual aid Facebook page.  If not, consider starting one yourself! These pages allow students to offer or request goods and services, such as grocery runs and home-made masks. For Victoria locals: check out the Victoria/Lekwungen Territories Mutual Aid Facebook page

Food Support

  • Community Food Initiative, led by UVic students.  Through partnerships with the Food Distribution Warehouse, the UVic Sustainability Project and local grocery stores including Fairway Market and Peppers Foods, this group provides free food hampers for delivery to students and community members in Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories.
    1. Request a food hamper.
    2. Volunteer!
  • The UVSS Food Bank & Free Store – Currently closed. We are exploring ways to safely reopen as soon as possible.
  • The Red Cedar Cafe – Offering free, healthy meals to those in need (such as seniors, folks who are unemployed, those in self-isolation) in the Victoria-area during the pandemic. Delivery and take-out options available!

Online learning can be a daunting challenge for many of us. It takes new ways of working and approaches to staying motivated, but there are also new resources to help support you!

UVic Learning Tools

Quick Articles and Resources for OnlineLearning

Renter’s Rights

Quick Facts:
  1. B.C. has halted all new and active evictions, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns.
  2. A landlord can give a notice for rent increase during the state of emergency, but the rent increase will not come into effect until the state of emergency is over. For instance, if your rent was set to increase on May 1, you should continue to pay your regular, pre-increase rent amount until the state of emergency is declared over.
  3. Applications for a temporary rent supplement are now open on the BC Housing website.
      • Eligible households with dependents can receive up to $500 per month.
      • Eligible households without dependents can receive up to $300 per month.
      • The supplement is paid directly to landlords.
      • If your landlord isn’t respecting the new tenancy regulations, first have an open conversation with them, and try to discuss the changes to tenancy regulations.
      • If they refuse to comply, contact the Residential Tenancy Branch.

Additional Tenant Resources

Monthly Bills:

  • BC Hydro Bill Financial Relief– BC Hydro rates have been reduced by 1%, effective April 1, 2020, for all customers. Unable to work due to COVID-19 and a BC Hydro residential customer? You can apply to receive a non-repayable bill credit of three times your average monthly bill!
  • ICBC monthly payment– If you’re on an ICBC monthly payment plan and experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-19 you can defer your payment for up to 90 days with NO penalty (note: you will still have to pay the deferred amounts).
  • Fortis BC – If you’re a Residential FortisBC customer, you can sign up for the COVID-19 Customer Recovery Fund which will defer your bill from April 1 to June 30, 2020. Additionally, a repayment schedule (zero interest or additional fees) will be created, so that payments can be spread over a full year.
  • Anti-Violence Project (AVP) – Still here to support you, by email (support@antiviolenceproject.org) or phone (778-400-5007) from Monday to Thursday, 11 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm. If you are in need of immediate assistance outside of our listed hours click here for emergency information and crisis lines.
  • VictimLink BC – Call 1.800.563.0808 if you’re a victim of family and sexual violence and need immediate crisis support or referral services. They are here to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This telephone service is toll-free, confidential, multilingual, and available for BC and Yukon residents.
  • Ending Violence Canada – A Canada-wide service hub, which connects you to appropriate support based on your location in Canada.

Updates:

  • All transit is free until June 1.  Fare collection will resume on June 1, 2020.
  • Standard entrance through the front bus doors will resume on June 1.
  • Summer Bus Pass: Staying in Victoria over the summer? Grab a summer bus pass for as little as $81! Go to our U-Pass page to see if you’re eligible.

Ridership Etiquette:

Current Services & Ridership Etiquette:

  • Enter the bus through the rear doors, to help keep bus drivers safe. The front door is still available for those requiring accessibility infrastructure, such as the ramp.  Standard entrance through the front bus doors will resume on June 1.
  • Leave plenty of time for your transit journey to practice proper physical distancing. 
  • Stand behind the red line to give your driver space.
  • Avoid transit and stay home if you feel unwell.

Local Health Resources

  • UVic Health Services – Please do not come in person to make appointments; instead, call (250-721-8492) to book an in-person appointment. The Health Services phone line will be answered from 8:30 am-4:00 pm (doors are locked and phones are off from 12-1 pm).
  • On-campus Pharmacy – Check their website for updated hours of service and delivery options.
  • Victoria Cool Aid Society – Their Health Centre and pharmacy is open 9-4:30 Monday to Thursday and Fridays from  9-3 until further notice. Call 250-385-1466 to address your medical concern.

Finding Work

  • Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) – If you provide community service (specifications to be announced) this summer (May-August), you could receive up to $5000 for your education in the fall, depending on the number of hours you work per week. Application details to come on the “I Want to Help” platform soon.
  • Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program – This federal youth job placement program was recently expanded by $153.7 million, generating over 6,000 additional job placements in high-demand sectors (e.g. agriculture, technology, health and essential services).
  • Student Work Placement program – The funding for this program was recently increased by $80 million to provide post-secondary students with summer jobs relevant to their area of study.

Safely Re-entering the Work Force

BC Government’s guide to safely Re-entering the Work Force. 

Your main resource to ensure your safety at work is WorkSafeBC (visit their website or or call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 1-888-621-7233) and the BC Provincial Employment Standards website. 

  • According to BC provincial law, employers will be required to:

UVic Support

  • UVic Health– UVic Health is open and offering services mainly by phone/video. Please make all appointments by phone (250-721-8492). In-person appointments are available when necessary. The Health phone line will be answered from 8:30 am-4:00 pm (doors are locked and phones are off from 12-1 pm).
  • UVic Counselling– Offering pre-booked and same-day appointments by phone. Please call to book an appointment (250-721-8341). Same day sessions are available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the morning and afternoon, and in the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Self-help Resources – Includes free meditation apps and services.
  • UVic Multifaith– The Multifaith Centre is closed to visitors. Multifaith is offering virtual events such as “learning to meditate,” as well as weekly live stream service offerings.

Off-Campus Support

Virtual Mental Health Services
  • COVID-19 Psychological Support Service – Offers free psychological first aid via phone for all B.C. residents aged 19 and over who are experiencing stress, anxiety, or uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Fill out a form online through the BC Psychological Association. If you don’t have internet access, call 1-604-827-0847.
Virtual Mental Health Supports for Indigenous Peoples

General

  • UVic’s International Student Services (ISS) has posted a helpful resource page. You also can get fast, direct help from the ISS by email issinfo@uvic.ca or phoning 250-721-6361. 

Social

Travel

Employment

  • Until August 31, 2020, the restriction that prevents international students from working over 20 hours per week has been lifted for those in essential service roles (e.g. health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods). Click here for more info. 

Financial Aid

Child Care

  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB) – If you received CCB benefits in April 2020, you will receive an automatic, one-time top-up of up to $300/per child for May 2020 as part of your regular scheduled CCB payments. If you are not already signed up for CCB, you can find more information to apply by clicking HERE
  • Request Emergency Temporary Child Care (BC residents) – This service is for essential service workers who are in need of child care for children aged infant to 5 years. Child care services for school aged children (5-12 years old) can be obtained through their school directly. Complete the request form here.
  • Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents – For parents with children who require care/supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, regardless of whether you qualify for EI or not. To apply for this benefit, select one of two channels:
      • CRA MyAccount secure portal
      • My Service Canada Account

Elder Care

  • The United Way website – Great hub for resources and options supporting the delivery of items and personal outreach.
  • New Horizons for Seniors Program – Opportunities for community-based grants and other volunteer aid during COVID times. Volunteers and funding are available to help seniors with essential tasks, such as the delivery of food, visits to the doctor, and tech-support to stay connected with their community.
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) – Reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020.