Updated May 28, 2020.

COVID-19 Updates and Information

There has been a lot of information going around about COVID-19; what students can do, what resources are available, where to get up to date information, financial support, and more. We wanted to create a space where all of the information can be accessible to you. This page will be updated as more information is received.

DOUGLAS COLLEGE UPDATES

Douglas College has a webpage that is dedicated to posting updates and Frequently Asked Questions. Click here for the link.

On June 2nd, Douglas College made an announcement about Fall 2020 classes.

The college is updating their webpage on a regular basis, so please check back to get the most up to date information. Their page was last updated June 2nd, 2020. 

  • Douglas Students' Union Updates
  • International Students
  • Income Assistance
  • Health & Wellness Resources
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Government Resources
  • Additional Resources
April 15, 2020 – Letter Regarding DSU Fees

To Douglas College Students,

We have received a lot of questions and inquiries about the Students’ Union fees and we want to address your concerns. Although access to the DSU Students’ Union Building is currently unavailable, we want you all to know that we are still here working for you and want to help bring a better understanding of where your fees are going as we have transitioned all of our services online.

Since the Douglas College suspension of on campus classes and face-to-face services in March, we have transitioned our services to alternate delivery and are continuously working on ways to support students. Students expressed their financial concerns to us and we worked with Douglas College to create the Emergent and Emergency Needs Fund so that financial support can be directly given to students in need right away for those in the Winter and Summer 2020 semester.

As we navigate our new reality and our future along with you, we are planning for new ways to deliver services and support students – we will continue this work over the summer and into the fall and take this opportunity to find new and innovative ways to deliver services to you in collaboration with the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS). We are also making plans for campus life initiatives including support for our clubs.

We continue to advocate and lobby on behalf of students. We hear your current concerns and are working everyday to address these issues and bring forward your concerns to the College. We do not have all the answers but we are working to provide updates when information becomes available.

We also continue to work at advocating towards a more accessible post-secondary education system for all. We will continue collaborating with the BCFS on fighting to get more funding to our institutions, reducing financial barriers (such as the BC Access Grant), working with our instructors to get more adoptions of OERs to reduce the costs of academic materials, pushing for the elimination of interest on federal students loans (just like we did for BC student loans) and will be keeping up our work to push for improvements to services that students depend on.

Your Douglas Students’ Union elected representatives have been busy working on the following:

• Re-allocation of funds to contribute $100,000 to the Douglas College Emergent & Emergency Needs Financial Aid to get money directly to students that are in need. To apply, students can contact Douglas College Financial Aid directly at financialaid@douglascollege.ca

• Working with Translink, Douglas College and 9 other post-secondary institutions and their student associations to suspend the U-Pass for the summer semester while on campus courses are suspended. We continue to work on ensuring that students not using their U-Pass in April will receive a refund. Those still requiring transit throughout the summer semester that are also facing financial difficulties can apply for aid through the Emergent and Emergency Needs Fund by discussing their situation with a Student Success Advisor at financialaid@douglascollege.ca

• Ombudsperson Service has transitioned to alternate delivery – available by email, phone and video calls. Students can contact the Ombudsperson directly http://www.thedsu.ca/ourservices/ombudsperson/

• Services to support you while you are off campus: Health & Dental Plan (including Legal Assistance Plan), GOeVisit Healthcare, Deals App, Emergency Food Bank, DS App (Housing Listings) http://www.thedsu.ca/services/

• Other Financial Aid – DSU Mature Students’ Bursary, DSU Domestic Student Award – available through Douglas College Financial Aid – financialaid@douglascollege.ca

• Student Advocacy at the college level – we are communicating with Douglas College every day to relay student concerns and lobbying them for answers

• Student Advocacy at the provincial and federal level (along with the BCFS) – we are communicating with the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Government of BC the needs of students and lobbying them for more financial and mental health support for students

• Information gathering and communicating directly with students through our various channels to answer questions and provide information to navigate our new environment due to COVID-19. Please check our webpage for updates http://www.thedsu.ca/covid-19/

We are listening and will continue to listen to you and your concerns. We know that students are worried and we are doing our best to not only gather information but also advocating for students behind the scenes. We appreciate that students are reaching out, talking to us and sharing with us.

Thank you for your understanding and patience while we continue to work to support you as best as we can during this crisis and transition.

If you have questions or would like to access our services, please contact info@thedsu.ca

Sincerely,
Douglas Students’ Union Board of Directors


April 3, 2020

We are pleased to announce our gift of $100,000 to the creation of the Emerging and Emergency Needs fund to support students through the COVID-19 crisis. With contributions from the Ministry of Advanced Education , Douglas College Foundation and Alumni Relations, Douglas College International Departments along with donations from many generous partners and donors, over $600,000 will be made available to support our students in this time of uncertainty and need.

Students are experiencing a reduction or loss of employment, changes to housing and healthcare along with the stress of adapting to online course delivery. We have heard from many students the additional anxiety of financial need and have worked on this initiative to be able to give you support immediately.

This fund will be accessible for domestic and international students to help cover basic needs for living and unanticipated costs so you can continue with your studies on this unprecedented situation. This financial aid does not require a GPA minimum and is non-repayable so you don’t have to worry about paying back. Students can expect to receive funding within two weeks after approval.

Students who are experiencing unforeseen hardship as a result of the COVID-19 situation can email Douglas College Financial Aid department – financialaid@douglascollege.ca with a request to access the Emerging and Emergency Needs Fund.


March 19, 2020

At 3pm today, we will be closing our office doors until further notice. We believe that this is a necessary precaution to protect our members, staff, and community.

At this time, we want to reassure our members that we are here for you and will be working to maintain our services in other alternative methods.

Email: Info@thedsu.ca
Phone: 604-527-5110
We will be checking our messages daily and will work to respond within 2 business days.


March 16, 2020

Today at 12:00pm, Douglas College has announced they are shifting to alternative modes of instruction and all in-person instruction is suspended effective immediately for the rest of the Winter semester. For questions about your classes and the transition period, please reach out to your instructors.

The Douglas Students’ Union understands that the evolving situation with COVID-19 is causing stress and anxiety. No instances of COVID-19 have been reported on campus. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the best advice available from provincial health authorities to help reduce the spread of the virus and keep you updated as more information becomes available.

During this time, the Douglas Students’ Union will remain accessible to students who depend on our services until we are advised to do otherwise. We will be taking extra precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our members, staff and elected representatives.

New Westminster: The DSU Lounges on L1 and L3 at the Students’ Union Building will be closed effective 2:00pm today until further notice. All activities and bookings are suspended until further notice. Our front desk will be accessible during regular hours 9:30am-4:30pm and we encourage students to practice social distancing by only having 2 students in the office at a time and to follow proper hygiene practices.

Coquitlam: The DSU Lounge at A1190 will be closed effective 2:00pm today. The DSU Kiosk will be closed effective 4:30pm today until further notice.

If you need to access DSU services but are not able to be on campus, please contact us at info@thedsu.ca.

We encourage students to follow proper hygiene practices and social distancing and stay up to date on COVID-19 from:
BC Centre for Disease Control – http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19
Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html


March 15, 2020

This morning, following recommendations from the local health authority and the provincial and federal government, Douglas College has announced that as of March 20, it will be transitioning away from in-person course delivery for the remainder of the semester. For questions about your classes and the transition period, please reach out to your instructors.

The Douglas Students’ Union understands that the evolving situation with COVID-19 is causing stress and anxiety. The province’s Chief Medical Officer advises that the risk to the College community due to COVID-19 remains low. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the recommendations from our provincial public health officers and keep you updated as more information becomes available.

During this time, the Douglas Students’ Union will stay open and remain accessible to students who depend on our services until we are advised to do otherwise. We will be taking extra precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our members, staff and elected representatives.

New Westminster: The DSU Lounges on L1 and L3 at the Students’ Union Building will be open, however our pool tables, foosball table, table tennis, and air hockey table will be closed until further notice. Our front desk will be accessible and we encourage students to practice social distancing by only having 2 students in the office at a time and to follow proper hygiene practices.

Coquitlam: The DSU Lounge at A1190 will remain open for the time being but as it is a small space, we encourage students to practice social distancing and follow proper hygiene practices. The DSU Kiosk will remain accessible at this time.

As we previously shared, all of our upcoming events are canceled.

If you need to access DSU services but are not able to be on campus, please contact us at info@thedsu.ca.

We encourage students to follow proper hygiene practices and social distancing and stay up to date on COVID-19 from:
BC Centre for Disease Control – http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19
Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html


March 13, 2020
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all of our events next week (March 16-20). We are wanting to take precautions with students health and because of this thought it in the students best interest to cancel the Spring Lunch events.
Last night, the BC Government announced that all events for over 250 people are to be cancelled, which confirmed our decision to cancel.
At this time, Douglas College and classes remain open and ongoing, but please keep an eye on their website (https://www.douglascollege.ca/about-douglas/news-and-media/notifications/2020/March/coronavirus) for updates.
And as a reminder, please wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and stay home if you are feeling unwell.
We will continue to update this page and our social media channels as these progress and if anything else is cancelled in the future.
NEW!
  • International students will no longer be limited to 20 hours per week of work during the school semester if they are working in an essential service or function. This temporary change will be in effect until August 31 2020.
Douglas College International

We have been advising all international students to reach out directly to Douglas International with their questions. We are also recommending that international students get in touch with their consulates for support at this time – let us know if we can assist you with reaching them.

Douglas International currently has a lot of students emailing them and it will take a bit of time for them to get back to everyone. To potentially help speed up the process, we recommend that you are sending your specific questions to those that can help you best:

For admissions related question, email: DCIadmissions@douglascollege.ca

For academic advising related questions, email: DCIadvising@douglascollege.ca

For immigration advising related questions, email: DCI.immigration@douglascollege.ca

For all other inquiries, email: dci@douglascollege.ca

Government Supports for International Students

The BC Federation of Students have put together some information specifically for International Students.

  • International students who have been working in Canada and are facing layoffs can apply for EI by following the same requirements and process listed under the Income Assistance tab above. This should be done as soon as possible after stoppage of work to minimize time without income.
  • It has also been announced by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that courses being delivered online because of COVID-19 will not affect eligibility for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program.
  • If you are currently in Canada, but your student visa status is close to expiration, you are encouraged to extend your status online. Until a decision is made on your renewal, you are allowed to stay in the country even if your status has expired. However, you are not to travel to a point of entry to apply directly to a border service officer. That travel is not considered essential.
  • International students who have a study visa for the Spring semester, but have not yet traveled to Canada should check the IRCC website. Travel exemptions for students have been discussed but are not yet implemented. Check this page for more information.
Douglas COVID-19 Emerging and Emergency Needs Fund

The Douglas Students’ Union is pleased to announce our gift of $100,000 to the creation of the Emerging and Emergency Needs fund to support students through the COVID-19 crisis. With contributions from the Ministry of Advanced Education , Douglas College Foundation and Alumni Relations, Douglas College International Departments along with donations from many generous partners and donors, over $600,000 will be made available to support our students in this time of uncertainty and need.

This fund will be accessible for domestic and international students to help cover basic needs for living and unanticipated costs so you can continue with your studies on this unprecedented situation. This financial aid does not require a GPA minimum and is non-repayable so you don’t have to worry about paying back. Students can expect to receive funding within two weeks after approval.

Students who are experiencing unforeseen hardship as a result of the COVID-19 situation can email Douglas College Financial Aid department – financialaid@douglascollege.ca with a request to access the Emerging and Emergency Needs Fund.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

For post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or for Employment Insurance, but who are unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19, the government proposes to introduce the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The CESB would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities. The CESB will be disbursed by the CRA, so please make sure you create an account through them. Apply today at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit/cesb-how-apply.html 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (cerb)

The Federal Government will provide a taxable benefit for $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

  • Workers who had to stop working due to COVID-19 and no don’t have access to paid leave or other income supports;
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone sick with COVID-19;
  • Working parents who now must stay home because of school and daycare closures;
  • Workers who are still employed, but facing shortages of work or reduced hours who do not otherwise qualify for EI;
  • Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for EI;
  • and more. To see see all eligibility for CERB, please visit canada.ca.

This new program applies to all these individuals, whether they qualify for EI or not. This program will be managed through the Canadian Revenue Agency, which is expected to provide a more streamlined application process.

Applications for CERB began today, April 6th. To not overload the website and application process, the government has asked applicants to apply on the day that matches their birth month. Those born in January through March are asked to apply on April 6, the first day the web portal opens. People born in April through June are to apply April 7, those born in July through September on April 8, and Canadians with birth months October through December can sign up on April 9.

There are two different ways you can apply for CERB; online with CRA My Account or over the phone with an automated phone service.

Apply online here.

Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefit

The Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefit provides up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for the Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefit.

Please note, EI has waived the one-week wait period as well as the medical note in order to apply. More information can be found here.

If you require the one week wait period to be waved, or would like any more information on the EI Sickness Benefit you may contact them via phone.

Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job.

You may be entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits if you:

  • were employed in insurable employment;
  • lost your job through no fault of your own;
  • have been without work and without pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks;
  • have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your last EI claim, whichever is shorter;
  • are ready, willing and capable of working each day;
  • are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).
CAN you apply for BOTH the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and employment insurance?

If you are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits, you can continue to do so and not apply for CERB.

If your EI benefits end before Oct 3, 2020, you can apply for CERB. If you are on CERB and are still unemployed after 4 months, you can receive EI, if eligible.

If you have already applied for EI and are waiting to be processed, you do not need to re-apply.

(source: https://www.wegotchu.ca/incomejobs)

BC Emergency Benefit for Workers

The BC Government has announced an emergency benefit for workers. This Benefit will be a one-time tax-free payment for British Columbians who receive Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This includes workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centres and schools are closed, and those caring for sick family members, such as an elderly parent. Workers who are traditionally not eligible for EI, such as those who are self-employed, are also eligible for this Benefit.

More information about the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers can be found here.

CANADA CHILD BENEFIT INCREASE

The government is providing a one-time boost to the Canada Child Benefit of $300 per child in May. No action is needed if you are already registered for the CCB. If you are not currently registered, please apply.

New online tool to help Canadians find financial help during COVID-19

The Federal Government has launched a new online tool to help Canadians find financial help during COVID-19 and point you to the program details you are inquiring about and that you could qualify for.

Douglas College Wellness activities

Currently, all Douglas College Student Life Wellness Events are postponed. In the meantime, you may be looking for ways to take care of yourself during this time and online activities that you can participate in to support your health as a Douglas student. All resources and activities on the page are free!

https://www.douglascollege.ca/student-life/get-healthy/wellness-events


British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) 
World Health Organization (WHO) 
COVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool
Non-medical COVID-19 Information
  • including social distancing & travel recommendation
  • 1-888-268-4319 or text 604-630-0300
  • 7:30am-8pm, 7 days a week

811 Hotline

Call 811 to find health information and services; or connect you directly with a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, a qualified exercise professional, or a pharmacist.


WAVAW

WAVAW is a feminist, anti-oppressive, decolonizing rape crisis centre operating on unceded Coast Salish Territories. They provide support services to survivors of sexualized violence who have shared experiences of gender marginalization: cis and trans women, Two-Spirit, trans and/or non-binary people. They advocate for social and systemic change through education, outreach and activism.

24 hour Crisis & Info Hotline – 604-255-6344

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS)

While people are encouraged to stay at home, you may feel isolated from your friends and family. Even if you are isolated, try to maintain social connections online or over the phone, if it is safe to do so, and try to stick to your daily routines as much as possible.

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) Crisis line remains open, providing emotional support to women experiencing gender-based domestic violence and/or uncertainty during these difficult times. This may be a time an abusive ex is calling you and trying to convince you to return and may be making you feel vulnerable and using harassment and COVID-19 to make you come back.

Call or text 604-652-1867 or send an email at intake@bwss.org

This is a time of uncertainty, anxiety and stress. The BC Federation of Students have put together some great resources for any needing some mental health support during this time. Here are some services that could help you out if you’re are struggling:

Here2Talk

Here2Talk is a new app created by the BC Government that connects students with mental health support when they need it. Through this program, all students currently registered in a B.C. post-secondary institution have access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone and web.

BC MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT LINE
  • Call 310-Mental Health (310-6789) – no area code needed
  • 24hrs/day, 7 days a week
FOUNDRY BC
MENTAL HEALTH DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC WEBPAGE FROM CAMH

Federal Government – www.canada.ca
Government of Canada Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak Update

New online tool to help Canadians find financial help during COVID-19
The Federal Government has launched a new online tool to help Canadians find financial help during COVID-19 and point you to the program details you are inquiring about and that you could qualify for.

The Federal Government has recommended that everyone create an account on CRA website (https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency.html) Select direct deposit to get your money quicker when the funds start to be disburse.

Provincial Government
Government of British Columbia – COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information

 

Douglas College Library updates

Douglas College library and learning centre have gone mainly all online, but there are still some on campus services available for you.

  • If you require access to a computer for your academic studies, please visit a CEIT Computer Lab.
  • If you need to print, go to Room N6212 at the New Westminster campus or Room A2030 at the Coquitlam campus.

For more details from the library, head to https://guides.douglascollege.ca/covid-19/home

Food banks 

If at this time you are in need of food support, there are local food banks available. The Douglas Students’ Union offers a food bank. To access the DSU Food bank, please contact – info@thedsu.ca. There are also local food banks available.

Rent banks 

Rent banks are a homelessness prevention tool that is focused on providing housing stability for low- to moderate-income renters. Rent banks provide financial assistance in the form of repayable loans, to households at risk of eviction for reasons such as non-payment of rent or utilities.

Tri-Cities Rent Bank
The Tri-Cities SHARE Rent Bank program makes loans available to Tri-Cities residents who have short term financial issues that are putting their tenancy in jeopardy. The Rent Bank program works to provide interest free loans to market renters, to help them maintain their tenancy through help with their rent payment, or a hydro/natural gas payment or security deposit. Loans are to be repaid over 18-24 months.

BC Housing/RENT ASSISTANCE

To support people and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Province is introducing a new temporary rental supplement package.  The Renter Supplement Package includes:

  • halting new and active evictions, except for exceptional circumstances, so no one is evicted because of COVID-19
  • providing $500 per month for four months to help renters make rent payments; this supplement will get paid directly to landlords after the renter applies.
  • Freezing annual rent increases as of April 1

BC-Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) Program application is now open and is available for domestic and international students. Apply online here.

ICBC insurance deferrals

Customers on a monthly Autoplan payment plan, who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, can defer their insurance payments for up to 90 days with no penalty.

BC Hydro

BC Hydro is offering targeted bill relief to residential customers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work as a result of COVID-19. Customers 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. The average residential customer’s bill is $159 per month, so BC Hydro claims the average credit provided will be $477. Learn more about the COVID-19 Relief Fund here.

Additionally, some customers may be eligible for BC Hydro’s existing Customer Crisis Fund, which provides access to grants of up to $600 to pay their bills. Learn more about the Customer Crisis Fund here.

Canada Student Loans 

The Federal government has put a moratorium on student loan payments. Beginning March 30, 2020 the Government of Canada has paused the repayment of Canada Student Loans until September 30, 2020, with no accrual of interest.

BC Student Loans 

The Provincial government announced B.C. student loan payments will be frozen for six months until September 30, 2020.

U-PASS BC upassbc@douglascollege.ca

Post-secondary institutions and student associations (Douglas Students’ Union included) have worked with TransLink to temporarily suspend the U-Pass BC program as of May 1, 2020. By now, the UPASS fee should be removed from your tuition.

The U-Pass BC program is offered to students under agreements in place between TransLink, participating colleges and universities, and their associated student societies. Students pay for this pass through mandatory student fees. If you have already paid for the summer semester, please make sure your address is up to date with your Douglas account, and you will be issued a refund through the College.

TransLink is continuing discussions with post-secondary schools and student association representatives about potential refunds for students not using their April passes. Students not needing their April U-Pass are encouraged not to use it and to check their school, student association, or our U-Pass BC website for further updates.

The Douglas Students’ Union is continuing to work with Douglas College and TransLink on how the refund will happen and will share those details when we have that information. Stay tuned and thank you for your patience!

APRIL UPASS UPDATE! –
Students who paid for and did not use their April U-Pass, or used it minimally, can expect a refund, or partial refund, of those fees. The College is working on issuing those refunds, so please make sure your address and accounts are up-to-date!

We gotchu 

wegotchu.ca is a website created by Simon Fraser University. The website contains a lot of helpful information for students in regards to the ongoing pandemic.

BC Federation of Students

The BC Federation of Students have put together a webpage with resources for students. We have taken some information from them and have added it to our page here, but for more information please visit their website.