Community Resources

We know many residents are struggling financially and emotionally during this time. Learn how we can help.
  • Updated: September 18, 2020

    UPDATES

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 18, 2020, the Province issued an emergency order allowing changes to tenancy laws to protect tenants from losing their homes as a result of the pandemic, this included a temporary moratorium on evictions. The moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent ended as of August 18, 2020. Some of the important details impacting tenants from the latest provincial COVID-19 and tenancies update (August 14, 2020) are summarized below:

    • As of  August 18, 2020 tenants can be evicted if they have not paid rent that was due before March 18, 2020 or if a tenant fails to pay rent in full the day it is due after August 18, 2020 (for most renters this would be September 1, 2020).
    • Rent or utilities accumulated between March 18- August 17, 2020 is considered “affected rent”. Tenants cannot be evicted for arrears accumulated during this period but the tenant must repay the affected rent by July 10, 2021 through a repayment plan. A repayment plan template can be found here.
    • Tenants can be evicted for failing to pay one or more installments from a valid repayment plan.
    • The repayment plan must be made in writing, must state the amount owing and the amount that must be paid for each installment (for example, $200 each month) and must include four basic terms to be valid:
    • the repayment period start date (ending on July 10, 2020; it cannot end earlier),
    •  the payments must be in equal installments,
    •  each installment must be paid on the same day that rent is due under the tenancy agreement, 
    • the date the first installment is due; this must be at least 30 days after the date the repayment plan is given to the tenant.

    Note: Landlords and tenants can mutually agree to amend these terms to: extend the repayment period beyond July 10, 2020, to allow earlier installments to be a lesser amount than later installments, or to change the date the installments are due.

    The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)  is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020. Applicants can apply no later than December 2, 2020, for payments retroactive to within that period. The Government has announced changes that expand the eligibility requirements for Employment Insurance (EI) program and will transition people who have been receiving the CERB (and who meet the expanded eligibility requirements) to an EI program. More information is available on the Government of Canada website. To accommodate the transition,  three new benefits have been introduced:

    • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are self-employed (such as contract workers, workers in the gig economy etc.,) or who are not eligible for EI, still require income support and who are available and looking for work. This benefit will support Canadians whose income has dropped or not returned due to COVID-19.
    • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
    • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for people who are unable to work because they are caring for either children under 12 or dependents with disabilities who cannot attend care, daycare or school due to closures, or who cannot attend care for medical reasons. More details on how Canadians can get ready to apply will be available in the coming weeks at www.canada.ca/coronavirus.

    There are a number of support options available to tenants facing financial difficulties. For more information, refer to the Key Information and Resources Document for Tenants during COVID-19.

  • Friendly support calls can be made to older adults 60+ and persons with disabilities in New Westminster for social connection, information sharing, and basic wellness checks.

    We can arrange for one staff person or qualified volunteer to call you as needed to: check your safety and health, offer supports or resources, or to socialize (call length may be limited). Time of calls can be scheduled for individual convenience. Support calls will start as soon as possible after registration.

    If you wish to register for this program, please call Century House 604-519-1062, 604-519-1069, or 604-519-1066. A City of New Westminster staff person will take registration Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

    Donate and Volunteer

    Cash donations are essential to enable them to continue to provide a high level of service and care during this very difficult and rapidly changing time.

    Volunteers are fundamental to the success of social service agencies and our local faith and non-profit organizations are in need of additional volunteers to support their efforts. 

    If you wish to volunteer or donate, please call, Century House 604-519-1062, or 604-519-1069, or 604-519-1066. A City of New Westminster staff person will take registration Monday - Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

  • Financial Supports

    We have compiled a list of financial and other supports that may benefit residents and businesses in New Westminster. We have also created a Taxfiling and Financial Frequently Asked Questions sheet to help residents.
  • Mayor's Messages

    Read Mayor Coté's personal messages to the community.
    • Dear New Westminster,

      Last week the premier announced the Restart BC Plan, which was welcomed news after several weeks of positive health numbers related to COVID-19. I think all British Columbians deserve credit for taking COVID-19 seriously and for our collective community response to this crisis. We have been very fortunate to have the excellent leadership and guidance from Dr. Bonnie Henry, whose calm, clear and thoughtful approach has helped and will continue to help our province get through this health crisis. I also commend our provincial leaders for giving Dr. Bonnie Henry the space and opportunity to play the important role that she has played. Giving up space doesn’t always come second nature to elected officials, but it deserves to be recognized when it occurs.

      Restarting the province and our city is going to take some time and will happen in phases in the months to come. The city is currently working on and refining our plans to resume city amenities that have been affected. First and foremost this work will be guided by ensuring we are protecting the health of our residents and employees. Secondly, we need to ensure the resumption of services is done in a financially sustainable way. Our city has been hit financially by the crisis and we need to take a measured approach to our spending this year. I know some residents will be frustrated by this process, but we are committed to working hard to get back to providing the important amenities our community cares about.

      I know there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future which can create fear and anxiety in the community. I think these are natural feelings, as none of us can predict what is going to happen over the next year. Still it is important that we don’t let fear and anxiety guide us out of this crisis. Instead we need to focus on hope and community to help us build a stronger city. There are going to be many residents and businesses that are going to struggle during this time and we need to step up as a community to provide support in whatever way we can. We also can’t be afraid to try and do things differently. Sometimes a crisis can lead to an opportunity and I am hopeful we can take this time to envision a gentler, kinder and more sustainable city that we can all work towards building together.  

      Love,

      Jonathan Cote

    • Dear New Westminster,

      This week I am going to take a different approach in my letter, as I wanted to spend some time providing people with an update on the financial situation of both the city and TransLink. In the first few weeks of the crisis these organizations were heavily focused on adjusting services during the pandemic and ensuring that the organizations could operate in a safe way for both employees and residents. By the end of March it was becoming clear that both of these organizations would be faced with significant financial challenges because of the crisis. Responding to the emerging needs of the crisis has still been important and I am grateful for our strong staff team and my colleagues on council who have been able to focus on this work. This has allowed me some time to focus more of my attention to working on the financial sustainability of both the city and TransLink.

      I am going to start with the good news. Over the past few weeks the city has been working on developing a plan to address our anticipated revenue shortfalls. We are not out of the woods yet, but I am feeling more comfortable that the plan that is being worked on will help guide our city through this crisis. Since the crisis, the city has lost recreation, casino, parking and conference revenues to name a few. Although we expect some of the lost revenues to eventually be recovered there is a significant portion that will just be lost. If you regularly follow our City Council, you will likely know we are not a fiscally conservative bunch, still I have been impressed on how the council team has understood the severity of the crisis and has been dedicated to work through these financial challenges. The result will be that many important projects will be put on pause and some service levels in the community will be temporarily reduced. Work on issues like climate change, affordable housing, sustainable transportation and reconciliation may be slowing down, but I know council will be eager to advance that work at the appropriate time. How we address those issues may be different post COVID-19, but I believe they will still be very important and relevant to our community. As we move out of the health crisis and start to think about recovery I think cities will also play a vital role to stimulate the economy. It is premature to be working on this now, but there will be a time when upper levels of government will be in a position to jump start stalled capital plans and partner with cities to build needed infrastructure.

      As folks have likely heard, the financial situation at TransLink is very serious. The operation of our transit system is very much dependent on transit fares and the gas tax. Both of these revenue sources have declined significantly during the crisis and TransLink is now losing $75 million a month. Although transit ridership is down, our transit system is still playing an important role providing transportation options to those delivering and in need of essential services. To address the financial shortfalls TransLink has had to make the difficult decision to reduce transit service. Even with these significant cuts, the agency will still see revenue shortfalls in excess of $40 million a month. Partnerships are going to be needed with the provincial and federal government to ensure our public transit systems can survive and be a part of the recovery from this crisis.  

      I know many people have been interested and worried about the financial challenges faced by cities and transit. I hope that this information gives some insight into the challenges and work that is being done to get through this. I am confident that both the city and TransLink will develop sustainable plans to work through the crisis, but it is not going to be easy. The services provided by local government are important to communities and it will be important that society advocates and continues to support the work local governments do in their communities.

      Love

      Jonathan Cote

    • Dear New Westminster,

      During the crisis I have tried to be more active on social media and stay connected with people. It has been a useful medium to share information and try to instill hope and a sense of community which is even more important these days. However, the crisis has highlighted one of the short comings of social media as it often projects an unrealistic glossier image of people’s lives. This can be particularly debilitating for those who are not weathering the COVID-19 storm as well as others. It is because of this, that I wanted to spend some time sharing some honest personal stories in the hopes we can normalize and accept the pain many of us our going through right now.

      For those that know me well 2020 was already a tough year before the crisis began. A terrible accident in early February left a close family member in hospital for most of the month and ultimately her passing. At the onset of this crisis, our family was still very much grieving. At times, the crisis has helped my family become closer and it has been a needed distraction. At other times, it feels like we are being kicked while we are already down. The reality is we didn’t all start this crisis with a blank slate, for many the crisis has layered new stresses and challenges on top of already difficult situations.

      Our lives are now being lived out in very different ways. How we work (or don’t work), socialize and connect with family has been turned upside down. In our home we have three daughters, a dog, and a cat. My wife and I are mainly working from home. My wife has claimed the dining room and me the bedroom. The kids are rotating on the family computer to work with online learning. Although my social media posts might give the impression of a highly organized household full of structure, joy and love, the reality is much more chaotic. Our kids are going stir crazy and they dearly miss their friends. Nothing seems normal anymore.

      This has also not been an easy time at work. My job has never been a 9-5 job but that has only been exacerbated by the crisis. Some parts of the job (community meetings and events) have disappeared, but the challenges that arise every day because of the crisis require immediate solutions and decisions. As someone who prides himself at taking the time to make methodical collaborative decisions, this new environment is requiring me to work differently. Knowing that so many people are struggling but not having the tools available to help everyone is also difficult. Managing organizations that are under significant pressure, while still trying to deliver services that people need and expect is also proving to be a daunting task. Like most work places there is a lot more stress and anxiety about the future. We know the difficult decisions we are being faced with are more than just numbers on a spreadsheet, they are about and affect real people.

      Although our family is facing its struggles, we know it pales in comparison to how many others are suffering. I hope this honest letter is received the way it was intended and lets us all be aware and accept that not everything is okay. In these difficult times, it is okay to not be at your best, it is okay to cry, it is okay to eat that entire jumbo bag of potato chips, it is okay to stay up late binge watching the “Tiger King”, and it is okay to laugh at silly memes. I can admit I have done all of those things. We don’t need to pretend that things are normal or demonstrate that the crisis is really just a big personal growth opportunity. I know we will find hope and I know our community will come together and become stronger, but we also need to be honest about the difficulties we are facing together.

      Love,

      Jonathan Cote

    • Dear New Westminster,

      During this difficult time I hope everyone is taking care and staying safe. In response to the crisis the City of New Westminster has focused our efforts towards helping to support the community. A lot of this work is not our normal state of business and we have had to adjust to accommodate the new and diverse needs in the community. I wanted to take an opportunity this week to let residents know about some of the work we have been taking on. This is by no means an exhaustive list or complete, but it does give people a good sense of all of the efforts the City is undertaking.

      • Expanded Rent Bank supports, with loans available to those struggling to pay rent
      • Electrical utility relief plan targeted at residents and businesses most affected by the crisis
      • Food services, including daily bag lunch distribution and a food calendar with daily updates on where to access meal services for vulnerable populations
      • Portable toilets with hand sanitizer installed in various neighbourhoods
      • Working with provincial partners to identify possible locations for temporary shelters
      • Our Friendly Caller program is up and running, with staff and volunteers making phone calls to community members age 60+ and those with disabilities
      • Take-away lunch services for purchase at Century House, Mon - Fri, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (closed Good Friday, April 10) – for ages 50+
      • Developed a Support Local campaign to encourage residents to continue supporting New West businesses
      • Planning for post-pandemic business re-entry
      • Phone and email set up for community members to report compliance issues and concerns
      • City staff provide proactive, positive education in parks and other public spaces, reminding residents of physical distancing
      • Working with provincial and education partners to identify available childcare spaces in New West for essential workers

      I hope members of the community can appreciate all of the hard work that City staff are putting into responding to these actions to help the community while still deliver essential services. It has been a stressful time at the city and I hope we can all give a big thank you to the dedicated team here who care deeply about their community and are working hard to serve. As this crisis continues we know more and more residents are going to struggle and we are going to our best as a local government to help support a community in need.

      Love,

      Jonathan Cote


    • Dear New Westminster,

      As we all adjust to our new normal in responding to the Covid-19 crisis, I want thank all of our residents for the efforts they are taking. I receive daily briefings from our education and enforcement team and they report back that the vast majority of our residents and businesses are taking this situation very seriously. It is all of our efforts that are going to keep our community safe and it is so important that we don’t let up during this crucial period.

      At 6:57 pm every evening my kids rush to the kitchen to gather up pot and pans to join thousands of New Westminster residents to thank our health care professionals. We have one of the largest hospitals in British Columbia and RCH is on the front lines of this health care struggle. I have heard from our RCH community that they hear our 7pm cheers and that it is helping to keep them going during this difficult time.

      It has also become clear that there are many other unsung heroes working hard to continue to provide important services our community depends on. These workers have traditionally not received the recognition they deserve and I hope in the present and into the future we can find ways to thank and recognize their important work.

      In these difficult times, I worry about our community at every moment of every day. We have a close knit community and I know people are pulling together. Take time to find comfort in some of the simple joys that life still presents and show love and support to those you can. Together we can do this, together we will get through this.

      Love,

      Jonathan Cote

       

    • Dear New Westminster,

      This past week has been one of the most trying weeks this community has ever faced. The COVID-19 crisis has affected people in many different ways, but it has affected us all. I have received countless emails, social media messages and phone calls since the crisis began and I have and will continue to read them all. This is the only way, during this period of physical distancing that I can stay in close connection with our community and truly understand the myriad of impacts the crisis is having. Please be patient and kind as I work to connect with all of you individually, but please continue to connect.

      During this past week the entire city operation has shifted towards maintaining essential services and responding to the COVID-19 crisis. We have and will continue to take our direction from the provincial health officer. It is not our job as a city to be the provincial health officer, but it is our job to educate the community and help enforce the directives that come from Dr. Bonnie Henry. Staff from police, fire, bylaws, parking, communications and parks will be working hard to ensure our community is educated, understands and is following the orders from the provincial health officer.

      Our focus right now has to be the health crisis and we are going to need everyone’s help. I need everyone to stay home as much as possible and limit trips out to only essential trips for work and shopping. Getting some fresh air for a walk in the neighbourhood is still important for our mental and physical health, but please practice safe social distancing and avoid busy locations and coming together in groups.

      I know there are some expectations in the community for me to puff out my chest and act like “Super Man”, but that is not my leadership style. My goal and intention is to bring out the best in our council, city staff and community. We have so many diverse skills in our community and we are going to need to tap into all of them to get us through this. I want our city's response to this crisis to be thoughtful, compassionate, and effective. Together we can do this. Together we will get through this.

      Love,

      Jonathan Cote

    • Dear New Westminster,

      I wanted to take an opportunity to connect with the community during these difficult times. I know there is a lot of anxiety and situations are changing daily. As a City, we are working hard to continue to provide essential services and support those most in need, with our focus on seniors and vulnerable populations. The majority of our community is at low risk, but the danger lies in how the virus spreads and how it can affect seniors and some of our more vulnerable populations. This is who we need to protect.

      A few months ago, very few of us knew terms such as “social distancing”, “self isolation”, and “flattening the curve”. Now these need to become a part of our daily lives. Each of us have a role to play in supporting the community to get through this, each one of us needs to do our part.

      This is difficult for me to say, but I do not have all of the answers and I don’t know exactly where this is going to go. I have been inspired by signs of support and the generosity that I am seeing in our community. These many acts are filling me with pride and hope. Our current focus needs to be on the immediate health crisis, but we know there are going to be longer term consequences.

      I am concerned about the local businesses in our community. I encourage people, while practicing social distancing, to find ways to continue to support our local businesses. This will be even more important when we move out of this crisis. 

      All levels of government will be releasing information to the public on a regular basis. Stay informed, as things are changing very quickly. Please take care of yourselves, stay vigilant, and strictly follow the guidance from health officials. Show love and support to those around you. If we can do this, I know our community can get through this, together.

      Love,

      Mayor Jonathan Coté