Navigating through COVID-19 

Last update: November 23, 2020

Across the world, nations, communities and individuals are grappling with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Our hearts and thoughts go out to those who have been affected by the outbreak.  

At G&F Financial Group, as a local community-based credit union, we believe our role and responsibility during these uncertain and ever-changing times is the well-being of our employees, members and our communities. This is instilled in our values and rooted in our credit union principles. As we are guided by this, we will also be guided by, and support local health officials, experts and government leaders as they work to prevent the spread of the virus.

We are here for you.

We understand this is a tough time for many and we are working to support our members. Any member who feels they need assistance can call our Member Hub at 604-419-8888

Should I make any changes to my investment portfolio?

If there are no changes to your financial goals, we do not recommend making any changes to your investment portfolio. Corrections are a natural part of the investment cycle and, over the long term, investors who stay invested and do not try to “time the market” are usually better off. Markets typically recover quickly, and if you miss the big positive days, it can negatively affect your long-term returns. If your financial goals have changed, it is important to let your G&F advisor know so we can review your portfolio to make sure it is right for you. 

Read our latest article: Tips for Staying Invested during Volatile Markets

Watch our Q&A videos: Financial planning advice in turbulent markets

Government support for individuals

See the following websites for information on accessing government support:

  • BC Emergency Benefit for Workers - a $1,000 tax-free, one-time benefit for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.
  • BC Hydro - Note that BC Hydro's COVID-19 Relief Fund was closed on June 30.
  • Canada Child Tax Benefit - one-time increase by up to $300 per child as part of the May payment
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) - provides $2,000/month for up to four months. The program has ended but CRA is continuing to accept and process retroactive applications until December 2, 2020. Following that date, see this page to determine whether you qualify for Employment Insurance or other recovery benefits.
  • Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) -  income support for employed and self-employed people who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. Receive $450 for each 1-week period that you apply for.
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) - income support for employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. Receive $450 for each 1-week period that you apply for.
  • Employment Insurance Benefits - note: you may apply for CERB or EI, not both
  • Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits - Employment Insurance sickness benefits can provide you with up to 15 weeks of financial assistance if you cannot work for medical reasons. You need 120 insured hours to qualify for the benefits.
  • ICBC - option to defer payment for up to 90 days with no penalty
  • Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
  • National Student Loan Service Centre - payments are paused from March 30 to September 30, 2020 with no accrual of interest
  • New Horizons for Seniors Program - apply for grants and funding for projects that make a difference in the lives of seniors
  • RRIFs - the minimum withdrawal rate was reduced by 25% for 2020

Government support for businesses

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The application deadline for CEBA was extended to December 31, 2020.

To ensure small businesses have the capital they need to see them through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada launched the Canada Emergency Business Account. The program has been implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC). CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, intended to cover operating expenses during a period where revenues have been temporarily impacted by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). Any balance remaining after this time will be charged at 5% per annum. 

Contact one of G&F Financial Group's Business Relationship Managers for assistance in applying for CEBA. For more information, please see www.CEBA-CUEC.ca.

To be eligible for CEBA, per the Government of Canada’s requirements, your organization must meet certain criteria, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Your organization was registered and operational on or before March 1, 2020.
  • Your organization’s 2019 salary payroll expenses (Box 14) was between $20,000 and $1,500,000, or
  • Your organization can demonstrate having eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1,500,000 in 2020.

Other support initiatives for businesses

BC Government support for small businesses, non-profits, contract workers and self-employed individuals

The provincial government has outlined a number of services to assist small businesses, non-profits, contract workers and self-employed individuals. Please see their website for more information: covid.smallbusinessbc.ca.

How is G&F helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

  • Ongoing and regular monitoring
  • Promoting healthy habits
  • Providing enhanced safety protocols at branches
  • Providing online and telephone banking services

Changes to branch operations

In addition to the measures and protocols already in place, we are also making changes to our branch operations. The reasons for this include: 

  • Our responsibility to the well-being of our employees, members and healthy communities
  • Supporting the decisions and advice by the Canadian government and health care officials to implement physical distancing to support containment of the virus
  • Supporting our employees as they manage work and homelife during these changing times

Branches following enhanced safety protocols

In order to comply with the government's COVID-19 phase 3 guidelines, we have established enhanced safety protocols in our branches. This means that a limited number of members will be allowed into a branch at a time. We thank you for your patience during this time and thank you for doing your part to prevent the spread of the virus.

Refer to our WorkSafeBC Safety Plan for an overview of the safety measures we have implemented.

Branch hours

  • Monday to Friday: 9:30am to 5pm
  • Saturdays:  9:30am to 4pm  

There is no need to book an appointment to come to a branch. However, if you have something you need that you think will take longer than a standard transaction, you have the option to call our Member Hub to book an appointment: 604-419-8888.

Member Hub hours

  • Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
  • Saturdays: 8am to 4pm

Masks in branches

All visitors are required to wear a face mask inside a G&F branch. A limited supply of masks are available at each location. 

Physical distancing in branches

To protect the wellbeing of our members and employees, we are taking the following steps to support physical distancing in our branches:

  • Due to public health orders issued Nov. 7, 2020, we are allowing a limited number of members into a branch at a time
  • Members are pre-screened at the branch door to confirm they meet safety standards set out by WorkSafeBC for public interactions
  • Members are offered a way to wash or sanitize their hands while in the branch
  • Members are required to wear face masks and keep a distance of 2 metres from others
  • Markers have been placed on the floor to where to stand to maintain a safe distance while conducting transactions
  • Branch furniture is being sanitized after members have left 
  • Virtual meetings are encouraged in place of face-to-face meetings

WorkSafeBC Safety plan for offices

G&F's Member Hub, partner teams and the Executive Team are located at the G&F Hub at 401 - 7300 Edmonds Street, Burnaby. See this link for a copy of the WorkSafeBC Safety Plan applicable to the G&F Hub.


How to do your banking without leaving your house

While we are currently maintaining regular branch operations, this could change based on direction from health and government officials. As a member, you have many alternative ways to ensure there is no interruption to your financial needs: 

Please see this page for more information on doing your banking from your home.

Be cautious of fraud

We would like to remind you to protect yourself from fraud, and in particular, be wary of phishing emails. Avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown senders. Take time to review your bank statements on a regular basis.

Never give out personal information to someone who calls you on the phone. G&F Financial Group will never call you to ask you for your personal information. It is only when you call us that we will ask you to verify your identity.

Resources

G&F Financial Group follows the guidelines set by our local health officials, experts and government leaders as they work to contain the virus. You can learn more about COVID-19 guidelines and protocols at the following websites:

Thank you for your trust.

We want to thank our members for your trust in G&F Financial Group. Our intent is to remain transparent and provide regular updates on social media and here on our website.