Changes by the provincial government mean that beginning this year, any B.C. residents applying for a homeowner grant must apply online through the Province, not their local municipality.
“By administering the grant centrally, we’ll make the process simpler for people and less of a burden for local governments,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “With this change, we can provide all British Columbians a secure online application and access to services, such as phone-based support, while removing the need for them to go to their municipal office.”
The homeowner grant program provides tax relief to B.C. homeowners each year. The change to provincial administration will streamline the process and ensure everyone who is eligible receives a reduction in their annual property taxes.
Prior to this change, local governments administered the program in municipalities and the Province administered the rural grant program. Centralization of the program was announced last year, after discussion with municipalities indicated that administration of the yearly grant program was a burden.
“For decades, the homeowner grant was successfully administered through a partnership between the Province and local government partners, but as the program grew, it became a larger responsibility for our municipal partners,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Streamlining this program will allow municipalities to focus on other critical municipal services that people rely on.”
Annual tax notices will continue to be sent by municipalities. However, they will now include a link to the Province’s online grant application. Homeowners should apply once they receive their property tax notice. If they have not yet applied for their 2020 grant, they can do so retroactively now at https://gov.bc.ca/homeownergrant.
B.C. homeowners can have questions about the program answered, and get help applying, by contacting a call centre agent at 1-888-355-2700 (toll-free) Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding statutory holidays.
For Ashcroft homeowners who need assistance filling in the online provincial form, or who do not have ready access to a computer, the Village of Ashcroft now has a computer set up in the foyer that residents can use. Users can print off relevant forms, and staff will be available to provide assistance.