Navigating through COVID-19
Last update: December 15, 2020
At G&F Financial Group, as a local community-based credit union, we believe our role and responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic 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) - the CERB program has ended. Please 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
- 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 has been extended to March 31, 2021.
In April 2020, the Government of Canada launched the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), intended to assist small business and not-for-profits experiencing economic impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has been expanded and enhanced several times to enable increased support. Qualifying business can now access up to $60,000 in interest free loans to cover Non-Deferrable Expenses and previously approved applicants who have received a $40,000 CEBA loan may now apply for a $20,000 expansion, for a total of $60,000 in interest free CEBA loans.
The loan is interest free until December 31, 2022 and charged 5% per annum interest starting on January 1, 2023. If the outstanding principal, other than the amount of potential debt forgiveness, is re-paid by December 31, 2022, the remaining principal amount will be forgiven, provided no default under the loan has occurred.
Repaying the outstanding balance of the loan (other than the amount available to be forgiven) on or before December 31, 2022 will result in a single tranche of loan forgiveness up to $20,000:
- 25% on the first $40,000; plus
- 50% on amounts above $40,000 and up to $60,000.
If $60,000 is borrowed, no forgiveness is available unless $40,000 is repaid. If $40,000 or less is borrowed and 75% of the borrowed amount is paid the remaining 25% (up to $10,000) is available for forgiveness. For additional information on the CEBA program or CEBA loan forgiveness, please visit ceba-cuec.ca.
Prior to applying for a new CEBA loan at G&F Financial Group visit verify-verifier.ceba-cuec.ca to verify your eligibility and get your 10 digit Pre-screen Number. Please contact one of G&F Financial Group's Business Relationship Managers for assistance in applying for CEBA.
Other support initiatives for businesses
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy - This program replaced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and will provide up to 90% rent support for qualifying businesses. Note: the new program runs until June 2021, but the federal government is only guaranteeing the subsidy rate until December 19, 2020.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - Apply through G&F online banking or through CRA's My Business Account portal. This subsidy has been extended to June 2021. Deadline to apply is January 31, 2021 or 180 days after the end of the claim period, whichever comes later. See more updates on this program here.
- Co-lending program for small and medium-sized businesses
- Work-Sharing Program - COVID-19 - helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. Provides Employment Insurance benefits to eligible employees.
- Loan guarantee for small and medium-sized businesses
- Temporary wage subsidy for employers - No need to apply. Employers are to reduce their payroll remittances of income tax by the amount of the subsidy.
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.
- 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:
- Call our Member Hub at 604-419-8888
- Use Online banking
- Download our mobile app
- Try alternative payment options such as Interac e-Transfer, credit card including Apple Pay, and MemberCard debit card
- Use Deposit Anywhere® to deposit your cheques
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.
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.