RECENTLY ADDED

Ontario Providing Support for Industrial, Commercial and Small Business Electricity Consumers During COVID-19 – Click HERE

May 30th Update

  • The Provincial Government has extended the original emergency order which deferred a portion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers
    • Through the extended emergency order and a related regulatory amendment, this support is now being extended through to the end of June 2020.
  • $8 million in support has also been announced for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) to provide support to businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of the outbreak.
  • The government is providing approximately $5.6 billion in 2020-21 as part of its existing electricity cost relief programs, to help ensure more affordable electricity bills for eligible farm and small business consumers.
  • The government also announced that it will continue the suspension of time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates and, starting on June 1, 2020, customers will be billed based on a new fixed COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour.
    • This fixed rate will apply to TOU customer bills 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • The COVID-19 Recovery Rate will be in place until October 31, 2020, followed by a new customer choice initiative.
    • The government will continue to subsidize electricity bills by 31.8 per cent through the Ontario Electricity Rebate.
    • There are approximately five million residential consumers, farms and some small businesses billed using TOU electricity prices under the RPP

*UPDATE* – Applications Now Open Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) – Click HERE

Ontario Announces First Phase of Research Projects to Fight COVID-19 – Click HERE

  • The Ontario Government is quickly moving forward with innovative research to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19.
  • These projects, part of the government’s $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund, focus on areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences.
  • The Ontario government is funding 15 high-quality and promising proposals that were submitted in response to a recent call for proposals for the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
  • Additionally, Ontario is leading the country with 22 clinical trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
  • 11 of the 22 clinical trials have already secured the necessary approvals by Health Canada to advance potential vaccines and therapeutics.
  • Ontario’s research will expand the global understanding of COVID-19 and further the capacity in the health care, artificial intelligence, and supply chain sectors to assist frontline workers today and in the future.
  • Ontario is also investing in artificial intelligence (AI) research through CIFAR to stop the spread of COVID-19. Throughout 2020, projects will identify early intervention strategies and effective treatments, support public health measures, and help improve our understanding of viral transmission and the mental health and social impacts of the virus.

Ontario Collaborates with Med-Tech Innovation Hub in the Fight Against COVID-19 – Click HERE

  • The Ontario government is working with Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX), Canada’s first industry-led hub for med-tech start-ups, to provide non-medical manufacturing companies free support as they retool to provide essential supplies and equipment to health care facilities during COVID-19.
  • With this new collaboration, the government will drive innovation in the sector, create jobs and build Ontario’s domestic medical supply chain to ensure the province is as self-sufficient as possible and prepared for a future health crisis.
  • Non-medical manufacturing companies that have received funding through the Ontario Together Fund, or a Purchase Order with the Province of Ontario, can access MIX members’ medical advisory services, including assistance navigating regulatory hurdles and increasing efficiencies.

*UPDATE* – Learning During COVID-19 Outbreak – Click HERE

  • The Ontario government is protecting the health and safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak by keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year.
  • The government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.
    • Summer Learning Plan
      • The province unveiled an expanded seven-point summer learning plan for Ontario students to ensure students have every opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months.
      • Summer learning programs are being expanded to reach the most students in Ontario history, to ensure they remain on track to start the 2020-21 school year with the confidence and knowledge required to succeed.
      • In addition to expanding the pre-existing summer school course offerings, summer programs are being designed to help students upgrade their courses and refresh their learning.
      • Non-credit programs will be available to deliver existing or modified programs to support vulnerable students.
        • A new two-week program for students with special education needs and/or mental health needs will focus on closing gaps in skills development and learning, and on establishing routines.
        • To support students with special education needs participate in summer program offerings, the ministry will also be providing a top-up to boards for summer school programs in 2020.
      • Summer Camps and Programs
        • In Ontario, there are over 450 camps which provide both day and overnight camp services, employing thousands of Ontarians, including students.
        • These camps provide families with children, youth, and adults with special needs, with much needed respite, while engaging individuals in meaningful activities.
        • Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, indoor and outdoor summer day camps may be permitted in July and August of this year
        • Overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.
      • Learn at Home Resources
        • A more user-friendly Learn at Home site was also launched today, and an adapted summer learning site will be developed to provide resources to help students refresh their learning in preparation for 2020-21 courses.
        • The site will focus on compulsory, high-demand, and prerequisite secondary courses, such as math, science, English, and French.
        • The resources are available at Ontario.ca/LearnatHome  .
      • Access to Services, Tools, and Technology
        • The government launched the Ontario Together portal to solicit offers and encourage private enterprise and the non-profit sectors to step forward to propose solutions that historically have impeded learning from home.
        • As a result of those submissions, Ontario is moving forward with 34 partnerships with organizations and private businesses, along with school boards, to address key needs among educators, students and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak.
        • Through the government’s Broadband Modernization Program, the province is also working with all school boards to deliver sustainable, modernized networks with improved Internet access at the target speed.
        • As of March 31, 2020, broadband modernization is complete at 1,983 schools and in progress at 2,954 schools.

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Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen

  • New website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers
  • The Ontario government has announced the retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government’s reopening framework.
  • The workplaces opening as part this stage are well-positioned to put workplace safety measures in place and get more people back to work, while not overburdening public transit and other services.
  • The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16, 2020, in time for the Victoria Day long weekend.
  • The province will be providing an update on school closures and child care early next week.
  • As soon as Saturday, May 16, 2020:
    • Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
    • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
    • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
    • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.
  • Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, Ontario’s first stage of reopening will begin on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 and will include:
    • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
    • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization.
      • This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
    • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments. iv. Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance. v. Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
    • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.
  • The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing.
  • To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers.
    • The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.
  • To ensure that these first actions to reopen the province are a success, the public should continue to adhere to public health measures, including practising physical distancing or wearing a face covering when physical distancing is difficult or not possible, as well as regular handwashing and staying home when ill.
  • If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • Additional Resources

Ontario and Canada Take Steps to Further Protect Farm Workers

  • The Governments of Ontario and Canada are investing up to $2.25 million to help farmers better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of healthy food products for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the federal and provincial governments are launching the second intake of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program to help farmers enhance health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
    • The funding will be used for initiatives like purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and redesigning workstations.
    • Support is also available for farmers who experience unexpected costs for housing and transportation as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak among on-farm employees.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is now accepting applications.
  • Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
  • More information about this targeted intake and other cost-share funding opportunities can be found online at: http://omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/index.htm or by calling 1-877-424-1300.
  • Today’s announcement is in addition to the $2.25 million investment announced last week to help provincially-licensed meat processors implement COVID-19 health and safety measures.
  • The Agri-food Workplace Protection Program builds on previous actions taken by the federal and provincial government to support the agri-food sector.
    • This includes $1 million to help Ontario farmers, food processors and other agri-food supply chain partners address labour shortages, as well as $2.5 million to improve e-business opportunities for Ontario’s agri-food sector.
  • Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed support to approximately 2,500 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.

Ontario Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable During COVID-19 – Click HERE

  • The Ontario Government is making the cost of prescription drugs more affordable.
  • Effective May 13th, people using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments.
  • In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.
  • If a Trillium Drug Program household has experienced an income change in 2019 or 2020 of 10 per cent or more compared to their 2018 income, they can apply to have their deductible recalculated by completing and submitting the Annual Deductible Re-Assessment Form.
  • Eligible households who are not currently enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program and have high prescription costs can also complete and submit an application and re-assessment form by e-mail or fax.

Ontario Further Supports Victims of Gender-Based Violence and Human Trafficking during COVID-19

  • It is crucial that Ontarians who have experienced or are at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence or human trafficking have continued access to counselling and other critical services they need to stay safe, heal and rebuild their lives.
  • To further support those who need and rely on these services, the Ontario Government is investing $1 million to help frontline agencies adapt to remote service delivery and ensure continued operation during COVID-19.
  • This funding will assist counselling service providers like the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, who also work the Seniors Safety Line, which will receive $200,000 to develop text and online chat platforms, set up toll-free lines, provide on-demand interpreter services and hire additional staff to respond to increased call volume.
  • Along with the $40 million relief fund for residential service providers and emergency funding for victim services , this response fund will ensure a range of critical supports remain available at this time.
  • This is in addition to the $148 million in relief funding to ensure municipalities and social service providers can better respond to COVID-19.

Voluntary Redeployment of Education Workers to Fill Staffing – Click HERE

  • The Ontario Government is working together with the province’s education sector to voluntarily place available employees in staffing roles needed at congregate care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • This initiative is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to redeploy broader public sector workers to areas where they are needed most, such as hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, women’s shelters, and homes serving those with developmental disabilities.
  • Eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal and to be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages.
  • Positions available may include custodial, maintenance, food preparation, children and youth service workers, social workers, and educational assistants.
  • Training and appropriate safety equipment will be provided to redeployed staff.
  • Those who are directly involved in the continuity of learning are not eligible for redeployment, such as instructional and special education teachers.
  • Education sector staff will be provided with more information by the school board following local agreements.

COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020 – Conducting business while practicing physical distancing

  • On May 12th, the Ontario Government passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020, which will help people conduct business while practising physical distancing by:
    • Providing authority to address in-person attendance rules for school board trustees’ meetings in regulation. This would provide the flexibility in certain emergency situations to allow trustees to meet virtually during school closures;
    • Enabling corporations to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, and extending the time period in which annual meetings must be held in specific circumstances;
    • Allowing designations of a beneficiary to be provided electronically for Retirement Savings Plans, Retirement Income Funds, Locked-in Retirement Accounts, Life Income Funds and Tax-Free Savings Accounts;
    • Allowing electronic filing of business registration documents, and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of business registration documents and e-signatures;
    • Allowing for regulations to set out the parameters for remotely commissioning or notarizing a document;
    • Extending, on a one-time basis for 2020, the legislated four-year period during which a Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) election is mandated to be held to give more time to support remote voting.

Amendments to Ontario’s Building Code Related to Building Permits and Inspections

  • The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing filed Ontario Regulation 209/20, which made amendments to Ontario’s Building Code related to the delivery of building code services, such as reviewing building permit applications and conducting inspections.
  • The amendment requires that municipal building officials continue to review permit applications and conduct construction inspections by providing that the time periods in the Building Code remain in effect for all construction projects, even when the municipal offices are closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The amendment also establishes that conditional permits can be issued for non-essential construction during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The amendment will remain in effect for as long as municipal building department offices are closed to the public for in-person services due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The regulation is available here: ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20209

Declaration of Emergency Extended While Ontario Gradually Reopens the Economy

  • The Ontario Government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
  • This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely.
  • The Declaration of Emergency has been extended until June 2.
  • The declaration will allow Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people.
  • Since the emergency was first declared on March 17, the government has taken over 150 actions to help protect individuals, families, and businesses from the impacts of COVID-19.
  • The Expenditure Estimates for the 2020-21 fiscal year were also tabled in the Legislature. i. This includes program spending to support the $17 billion announced as part of Ontario’s Action Plan 2020: Responding to COVID-19to ensure the province’s health care system, communities, and economy are better positioned to weather challenges posed by the pandemic.
  • A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations – Click HERE

  • The Federal Government will provide $500 million dollars to Heritage Canada to support artists, creators and rising sports stars, via the new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations.
  • Beginning May 8th, partner organizations will be contacted so that funds can begin to flow to cultural and sport organizations.
  • Canadian Heritage is working closely with its partners – in particular, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canada Media Fund, FACTOR, Musicaction, and Telefilm Canada – to distribute the funds as quickly as possible using existing channels.
  • The distribution of funding will include:
    • Up to $326.8 million to be administrated by Canadian Heritage and divided among select departmental programs and Portfolio agencies as well as key delivery organizations. Specifically:
      • $198.3 million will be provided to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding via existing programs as well as other organizations with demonstrated needs;
      • $72 million will be provided to the sport sector;
      • $53 million will be provided to the heritage sector via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program; and,
    • $55 million to be distributed by the Canada Council for the Arts;
    • $3.5 million will be provided for COVID-related projects under the Digital Citizen Initiative.
    • $115.8 to support the Canadian audiovisual sector, to be distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).
    • The use of the remaining funds will be assessed based on needs.
  • This targeted funding will help organizations maintain operations while continuing to support artists and athletes and retain jobs.
  • Arts, culture and heritage represent more than $53 billion in the Canadian economy and close to 666,500 jobs in sectors such as film and video, broadcasting, music, publishing, archives, performing arts, heritage institutions, festivals and celebrations.
  • In order to accelerate the distribution of funds, a two-phased approach will be followed.
  • More information will be posted on the Department’s website and interested culture, heritage and sport organizations will be able to contact Canadian Heritage.
  • The Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations builds on a number of recently announced actions by the Government of Canada to support these sectors:
    • Funding to help Canadians become more resilient and to think critically about COVID-19 pandemic disinformation.
    • Waiving of regulatory charges for broadcasters by the CRTC, providing more than $30 million of immediate financial relief for the broadcasting industry.
    • Accelerated processing of the Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund 2020-2021 annual contributions.
    • A new Independent Advisory Board on Eligibility for Journalism Tax Measures, and draft legislative proposals that would make adjustments to these tax measures for greater clarity and alignment with their initial objectives.
    • Commitment to continue working with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees and all sport organizations as they support Canadian athletes in their preparation for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
    • Plans for the Canada Council for the Arts to provide approximately $60 million in advance funding, the equivalent of 35% of annual grants held by over 1,100 core funded organizations.

Ontario Eases Restrictions on Professional Sports Training Facilities

  • Beginning May 8th, professional sport training facilities in Ontario will be permitted to reopen, provided their respective sports leagues have established health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.
  • Sport represents a critical sector in Ontario and contributes more than $12.6 billion to the economy and creates thousands of jobs across the province.

Ontario Investing in Innovative Ways to Modernize the Justice System

  • Experience gained during COVID-19 underscores the urgent need to invest in technology, modernize processes and expand access to justice across the province, including in rural and remote regions.
  • The Provincial Government has made the decision not to proceed with the Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse construction project, which was in the procurement phase before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • This investment will be repurposed to transform and update Ontario’s severely antiquated justice system, and address immediate infrastructure needs at the courthouses in Milton and Burlington.
  • Shifting traditional investments toward innovation and new technology will move more services online and position Ontario at the forefront of building the modern justice system of the future.
  • This innovative new approach will allow Ontario to take concrete action for the first time in recent memory to support a truly reimagined justice system.
  • It will move Ontario’s justice system forward by decades and allow it to emerge from this public health crisis more resilient and better positioned to face future challenges.

Ontario Protecting Forestry Jobs & Worker Safety During COVID-19

  • The Ontario government is protecting people and jobs in northern, rural and Indigenous communities, while supporting long-term forest sustainability, by investing in protective measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming tree planting season.
  • The Ontario Government is making $3.5 million available to help put protective measures in place for the workers who plant trees this season.
  • Funds will be used for larger camp facilities and additional kitchens to provide more space, as well as extra personal protective equipment, plastic partitions for transporting workers and more wash stations.
  • Ontario’s forest industry is critical to the provincial economy, generating over $18 billion in revenue and supporting approximately 155,000 direct and indirect jobs.
  • The vital role this industry plays is especially evident during the COVID-19 outbreak, as it provides essential forest products for hygiene, food and medical supplies, as well as packaging and shipping products. Virtual consultations have been launched with leaders from the forestry sector to discuss their interests and concerns as Ontario prepares to reopen the economy during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Ideas from this virtual consultation will be reported into the government’s new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee.
    • Visit ca/reopen to learn how ideas can submitted.

Ontario Releases Plan to Resume Scheduled Surgeries and Procedures

  • The Ontario government has developed a comprehensive framework to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining capacity to respond to COVID-19.
  • The framework contains clear criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries, including ensuring that the hospital and its regions have the following:
    • A stable number of COVID-19 cases;
    • A stable supply of personal protective equipment
    • A stable supply of medications;
    • An adequate capacity of inpatient and intensive care unit beds;
    • An adequate capacity of health human resources; and
    • The availability of post-acute care outside the hospital that would be required to support patients after discharge
  • Timelines will vary from hospital to hospital and be conditional on approval by regional oversight tables involved with planning and coordinating Ontario’s response to COVID-19.

Ontario Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19

  • The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores.
  • The business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners (see Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines).
    • As early as Friday, May 8, garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.
    • Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as Saturday, May 9.
    • On Monday, May 11, retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.
  • The government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue.
  • This will help clear the way for the housing and jobs our economy will need to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, in partnership with Ontario’s health and safety associations, has released over 60 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services.
  • Business owners should review the guidelines and consult with local public health officials to ensure they have the information they need to protect workers, customers and the general public.
  • Additional Resources

Off-peak Time-Of-Use (TOU) electricity rate for small businesses, and farm customersUPDATE

  • The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • This electricity rate relief, initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, 2020, has been extended by an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
  • The rate relief is intended to be in place for an additional 24 days.
  • Customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.
  • The current off-peak Time of Use electricity rate is 1 cents per kilowatt hour for Regulated Price Plan customers.
  • This discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form.
  • There are approximately five million residential consumers, farms and some small businesses billed using time-of-use (TOU) electricity prices under the Regulated Price Plan.

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19Currently Active

  • The Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020.
  • This extension will help protect the health and well-being of people across the province and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Government of Ontario declared a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
  • This declaration of emergency was last extended on April 14, 2020 and is currently in effect until May 12, 2020.
  • For a full list of the emergency orders which have been extended, please visit:
  • https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/ontario-extends-electricity-rate-relief-during-covid-19.html

Off-peak Time-Of-Use (TOU) electricity rate for families and residential customers

  • The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • This electricity rate relief, initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, 2020, has been extended by an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
  • The rate relief is intended to be in place for an additional 24 days.
  • Customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.
  • The current off-peak Time of Use electricity rate is 1 cents per kilowatt hour for Regulated Price Plan customers.
  • This discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form.
  • There are approximately five million residential consumers, farms and some small businesses billed using time-of-use (TOU) electricity prices under the Regulated Price Plan.

Ontario Expands Virtual Mental Health Services During COVID-19

  • The Ontario government is expanding virtual mental health services to help thousands of Ontarians experiencing anxiety and depression, including frontline health care workers, during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) programs were developed in partnership with MindBeacon and Morneau Shepell and will be provided at no out-of-pocket costs to Ontarians across the province.
  • As part of the government’s $12 million commitment to mental health during COVID-19, the emergency funding is helping mental health agencies hire and train more staff, purchase the necessary equipment and technology they need to help patients, and support the creation and enhancement of virtual and online supports for mental health services including:
    • Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT): Clients can self-refer to programs through the various service providers listed and be guided through their client journey to find the appropriate supports they need.
      • Online iCBT is supported by therapists and available in English and French.
    • Supports for frontline health care workers: Online iCBT is available to frontline health care workers experiencing anxiety, burnout or post-traumatic stress disorder.
      • Those requiring intensive levels of care could be referred to virtual face-to-face care, as well as weekly online peer discussion groups and access to confidential support from a clinician.
    • Virtual mental health support services: These include BounceBack telephone coaching and workbooks, and Kids Help Phone for children and youth.
      • BounceBack: A guided self-help program for adults and youth aged 15 and over using workbooks with online videos and phone coaching support.
      • Additionally, the Province has provided emergency funding to Kids Help Phone, to further support children and youth who are struggling with their mental health.
      • Kids Help Phone: 24/7 virtual support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals as well as volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French at 1-800-668-6868.
    • The province has also established a Mental Health and Addictions COVID-19 Response Table to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on access to public mental health and addictions services.
    • Its members include representatives from across Ontario’s mental health and addictions sector, who are working collaboratively to focus on maintaining services during the outbreak.
    • Ontario also launched a Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System, which provides a clear path forward toward offering Ontarians easier access to standardized, high-quality care and supports in communities across the province.
    • At ca/coronavirus, people can find information about the different virtual mental health and wellness options that meet their unique needs, including online therapy.

Ontario Continues to Support Mental Health Needs During COVID-19  

  • The Government of Ontario recognizes many Ontarians are experiencing increased anxiety because of COVID-19 and are worried about their health, the health of their family and friends, and the future of their livelihoods and are feeling anxious in physical isolation.
  • To support Ontarians, the Provincial Government announced up to $12 million in emergency funding to immediately expand online and virtual mental health supports.
  • This brings additional access to care for people across the province and specific services to frontline heroes.
  • Additionally, the Province recently expanded programs, such as BounceBack, and has provided emergency funding to Kids Help Phone, to further support children and youth who are struggling with their mental health.
    • BounceBack: A guided self-help program for adults and youth aged 15 and over using workbooks with online videos and phone coaching support.
    • Kids Help Phone: 24/7 virtual support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals as well as volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French at 1-800-668-6868.
  • Ontario also launched a Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System, which provides a clear path forward toward offering Ontarians easier access to standardized, high-quality care and supports in communities across the province.

Ontario Significantly Increases Daily Lab Testing

  • Ontario has significantly increased testing and contact tracing capacity, allowing health experts to identify cases of COVID-19 and support efforts to stop the spread of the virus in the community, long-term care homes, and other congregate settings.
  • In partnership with Ontario Health, Public Health Ontario, local public health units, and hospital and community laboratories, the Ontario Government has developed an integrated laboratory system which has established the Province as a national leader in daily testing volumes per capita.
  • The Province is now exceeding 16,000 tests a day, with many of those tests aimed at protecting long-term care residents and staff.
    • On April 10, 2020, the province had committed to expanding its testing capacity by doubling the number of tests processed each day to 8,000 by April 15, 2020 and 14,000 by April 29, 2020.
  • Testing is being carried out in hospitals, long-term care homes, group homes, shelters, emergency child care centres, and other congregate settings.
  • Labs are providing test results generally within 24 to 48 hours.
  • To date, Ontario has conducted over 342,000 tests, with testing results being made available to patients through the user-friendly online portal.
  • The province wide testing network consists of more than 20 organizations and is coordinating and leveraging the diverse expertise located throughout the province.
  • Ontario has also helped expand the capacity of public health units to conduct contact tracing and case management.
    • Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 provided $100 million in additional investments for public health units to support COVID-19 monitoring and testing. This funding has also enabled public health units to hire more personnel.
    • Ontario previously issued an emergency order to provide public health units the authority and flexibility they need to make staffing decisions that support their ongoing efforts to contain the virus.
      • Public health units have been able to expand their capacity to conduct case and contact management with the help of volunteers.
      • These include the thousands of retired nurses and medical students who have signed up through the Province’s website.

Launch of the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website – Click HERE

  • New Website Accepting Proposals for Temporarily Changing Rules and Regulations
  • The Ontario Government has launched the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic.
  • Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website.
  • The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain.
  • In order to help Ontario businesses focus on overcoming today’s challenges, the province is also pausing or extending any existing public consultations, delaying non-urgent related consultations while the emergency situation remains in place, and considering extending deadlines for reports and audits.
  • The website builds on steps the government has already taken to help businesses respond to COVID-19, including:
    • Providing $10 billion in provincial tax deferrals, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium deferrals, and other business supports;
    • Providing more than $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through a new program, the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA);
    • Providing $50 million to help businesses such as manufacturers and distilleries retool so they can produce health-related products and supplies, such as ventilators, gowns, face masks and hand sanitizer;
    • Permitting 24-hour construction for critical infrastructure; v. Permitting 24-hour deliveries in every municipality across the province to help grocery stores and pharmacies keep their shelves stocked; and
    • Allowing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout or delivery orders.

Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province

  • The Ontario Government has released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.
  • The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.
  • To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe.
  • The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely.
    • Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.
    • Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.
    • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
    • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
  • Supporting the next phases of Ontario’s Action Plan, the new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, will be consulting with key sectors in all regions to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward.
    • The Government and Members of Provincial Parliament will lead discussions with business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others.
  • The work of the committee will build on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 , the first phase of the government’s $17 billion response, that is delivering targeted relief for businesses and families across Ontario.
  • For more information please visit: A Framework for Reopening our Province

Building Code Amendment – Construction and conversion of buildings, intended for temporary use as health and sheltering facilities – Click HERE

  • On April 9, 2020 the Building Code was amended to exempt construction and conversion of buildings, intended for temporary use as health and sheltering facilities during the period of the COVID-19 Emergency Order, from the Building Code Act and the Building Code.
  • Exempting these temporary projects will make it easier for municipalities and hospitals to respond to the increased demands for healthcare services and assist in ensuring that health care resources are not overwhelmed by the demand created by the COVID-19 outbreak.

School Closures Extended to Keep Students, Staff and Families Safe

  • All publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020, as part of an effort to keep students, staff and families safe from COVID-19
  • The extension was based on expert advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health officials on the COVID-19 Command Table and is part of the government’s ongoing effort to stop the spread of the virus.
  • The Ontario government is taking steps to ensure learning can continue.
    • In March the province unveiled its Learn at Home portal.
    • It offers all students high-quality resources, featuring made-in-Ontario math and literacy resources, created by Ontario-certified educators, in both English and French.
    • At the end of March the Ministry of Education unveiled the second phase of Learn at Home to ensure the continuity of learning for students.
    • This included providing clarity for parents, enhancing education supports and creating opportunities for educators to connect with students.
    • The Government has also partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • iPads are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data. vii. To date, over 20,000 iPads have been sent to targeted families in need. The free Rogers wireless data will be available until the end of June.

Ontario Parks to Remain Closed until May 31, 2020

  • Provincial parks and conservation reserves will continue to remain fully closed to all recreational activities.
  • Extending the closure of Provincial parks and conservation areas is required to keep people safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Reservations for arrivals up to, and including, any further closure extension date will be automatically cancelled and reservation holders will receive a full refund with no penalty.
  • Penalty-free refunds will be issued to reservation holders who wish to change or cancel their 2020 camping reservation, regardless of arrival date.
  • Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information.

Ontario Supporting Frontline Heroes of COVID-19 with Pandemic Pay – Click HERE

  • In recognition of the dedication, long hours and increased risk of working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario Government is providing frontline staff with a temporary pandemic payment.
    • This increase will provide four dollars per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employee’s hourly wage.
    • In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months.
    • This means that eligible employees working an average of 40 hours per week would receive $3,560 in additional compensation.
  • Those eligible to receive the payment will be staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals. Staff providing frontline clinical services, along with those providing support services, such as cleaning and meal preparation, will be eligible to receive the pandemic payment.
  • The additional compensation is temporary and would begin flowing immediately.
  • The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020, and is expected to support over 350,000 frontline workers.
  • The pandemic pay is designed to support employees on the frontlines of COVID-19 and does not apply to management.
  • These measures build on steps the government has already taken to support frontline workers, including providing free emergency child care and securing necessary medical equipment and supplies.
  • For additional information and details regarding eligibility, please visit: Pandemic Pay Provides Support for Frontline Workers Fighting COVID-19

Ensuring food security for individuals and families during the pandemic

  • The Government is amending an emergency order to help ensure food security for some individuals and families during the pandemic.
  • The amendment will permit the use of allotment gardens and community gardens across the province.
  • These gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity.
  • Local medical officers of health will provide advice, recommendation and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate, such as physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly used equipment and surfaces.

Redeployment of Staff to Better Care for Vulnerable People During COVID-19

  • The Ontario government is introducing new and amending some emergency orders to better support Ontario’s long-term care homes and deafblind community.
  • The orders would allow for the redeployment of staff to ensure they can work where they are needed most during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes outlines the steps that the government is taking to protect residents and staff in long-term care homes.
  • For public inquiries, call ServiceOntario at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free in Ontario only).
  • The new and amended emergency orders being introduced will:
    • Allow health service providers, including hospitals, to temporarily reassign frontline staff to provide services and supports in long-term care homes.
      • This will help to quickly provide much-needed staffing support to long-term care homes while they continue to fight outbreaks.
    • Provide staffing flexibility to service providers and employers in the intervenor services sector, which helps people who have a combined loss of hearing and vision.
      • This will give employers the temporary authority to redirect staff to carry out essential tasks to support and protect people who are deafblind.
      • It will also ensure staffing measures are in place to allow for physical distancing.

Governments Invest $2.5 Million to Grow Agri-food e-Business During COVID-19Currently Accepting Applications – Click HERE

  • The Governments of Ontario and Canada are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
  • The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.
  • This targeted application intake features two funding streams:
    • Bring Your Business Online. Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under immediate solutions.
    • Develop Online Business Opportunities. Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will immediately accept applications and expedite the approval process to help businesses and organizations develop, expand and enhance their current online presence.
  • More information about this targeted intake and the program guidelines can be found online at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/index.htm or by calling: 1-877-424-1300.

Ontario Provides Urgent Relief for Small Businesses and LandlordsIt is expected that the program will be operational by mid-May.

  • The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA).
  • The total amount of provincial-federal relief that would be provided is more than $900 million, helping to ensure small businesses are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.
  • The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
  • It is expected that the program will be operational by mid-May.
  • The forgivable loans would be disbursed directly to the mortgage lender of the commercial property in question.
  • As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the Government has implemented a series of cash flow supports amounting to $10 billion to help support jobs and the economy
  • How does the program work?
    • The program has been developed to share the cost between small business tenants and landlords.
    • Small business tenants and landlords would each be asked to pay 25 per cent of the before profit costs and the provincial and federal government would cost share the remaining 50 per cent.
    • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.
    • For example, a monthly rent for a small business is $10,000. In this example, assume the landlord doesn’t make a profit. The landlord forgoes $2,500 (25 per cent of rent). The small business would be responsible for paying $2,500 (25 per cent of rent). The government would cover the remaining $5,000, with $3,750 from the federal government (37.5 per cent of rent) and $1,250 (12.5 per cent of rent) from the provincial government.
  • How long would a commercial property owner have to apply for OCECRA?
    • The OCECRA would be administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and would be available until September 30, 2020.
    • Support would be retroactive to April 1, covering April, May and June 2020.
  • What are the eligibility requirements for small businesses?
    • An eligible small business tenant is one that:
    • Pays monthly rent not exceeding $50,000 in gross rent payments; and is,
    • A non-essential small business that has temporarily closed, or who is experiencing a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues (determined by comparing revenues in April, May or June to the same month in 2019 or alternatively compared to average revenues for January and February 2020).
  • Are there any eligibility requirements for commercial property owners?
    • The OCECRA would apply to commercial properties with small business tenants.
    • Commercial properties with a residential component, and residential mixed-use properties with a 30 per cent commercial component, would be equally eligible for support with respect to their commercial tenants.
    • If a property owner does not have a mortgage secured by a commercial rental property, the property owner should contact Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to discuss program options, which may include applying funds against other forms of debt facilities or fixed cost payment obligations (e.g. utilities).
  • For additional details and information regarding eligibility, please visit HERE

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19

  • New order issued to support people with mental health and addictions issues
  • The Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 6, 2020.
  • This extension will help protect the health and well-being of people across the province and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • In addition, the government has introduced a new measure to allow mental health and addictions agencies to redeploy staff within different locations or between programs, and employ extra part-time staff, temporary staff or contractors in order to ensure people continue receiving the high-quality care they expect and deserve during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Agencies would be required to provide appropriate training and education to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.
  • For a full list of the emergency orders which have been extended, please visit HERE

Action Plan to Increase Protection for Vulnerable People and Those Who Care for Them

  • Ontario is delivering a new COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People to better protect vulnerable populations during the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • This plan builds on the government’s previous actions to protect people living in high-risk settings, including homes serving those with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking, children’s residential settings, and those residential settings supporting vulnerable Indigenous individuals and families both on and off reserve.
  • The Government is expanding the list of eligible expenses under Special Services at Home and for Passport funding. The Government will also continue to assist families and provide greater clarity about what expenses are eligible under the Ontario Autism program, including Childhood Budgets and Interim one-time funding, for the duration of theCOVID-19 outbreak.
    • Passport is a program that helps adults 18 years or older with a developmental disability to participate in their communities. It also helps caregivers of an adult with a developmental disability take a break from their care giving responsibilities.
      • The Special Services at Home program helps families who are caring for a child with a developmental and/or physical disability.
    • The COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People focuses on three specific areas:
      • Enhanced Screening and Reduced Exposure to Prevent Spread
        • Enhancing screening of visitors, staff, and residents on sites, as well as restricting non-essential visitors.
        • Providing masks to staff working in congregate care settings and providing training on the use of personal protective equipment in the event of an outbreak.
      • Infection Control: Managing Outbreaks and Limiting Spread
        • Enhancing testing of symptomatic staff and clients to identify the need for isolation and additional infection control measures on-site.
        • Planning to limit staff from working at more than one congregate care setting during an outbreak, specifically in developmental services, intervenor services, violence against women and anti-human trafficking settings.
        • Providing additional training and support for high-risk settings dealing with an outbreak, including guidance on how to isolate clients.
      • Sustaining Staffing and Managing Staff Shortages
        • Working with organizations to promote workforce stability and capacity in high-risk settings.
      • The province has also suspended evictions, provided funds through the province’s $200 million Social Services Relief Fund to Service Managers and invested over $37 million to support outbreak planning, prevention and mitigation efforts to ensure the health and well-being of Indigenous people and communities.

Ontario Providing Additional Relief to the Province’s Most Vulnerable

  • The Ontario government is delivering much-needed support to Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens, including seniors and persons with disabilities, during the outbreak of COVID-19.
    • The province is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need.
      1. The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario.
      2. The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.
      3. To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in the local community and request service, visit ontariocommunitysupport.ca. Those without Internet access or who require service in a language other than English or French, can dial 211 or 1-877-330-3213 (toll free). TTY service is also available by calling 1-888-340-1001.
    • This week the province will also be issuing the first doubled Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments.
      1. Individuals will receive up to $166 per month and couples will receive up to $332 per month.
      2. These doubled payments will continue for six months and provide an additional $75 million to 194,000 vulnerable seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • GAINS provides a monthly, non-taxable benefit to low-income Ontario seniors.
    • These payments are provided on top of the federal government’s Old Age Security pension and federal Guaranteed Income Supplement payments to ensure seniors have a minimum income level.
    • Payments are being automatically doubled for current GAINS recipients ― no additional applications are required. Payments are issued on the 25th of each month, or the first business day prior if the 25th falls on a non-business day
    • The province is also investing $40 million in the Residential Relief Fund.
      • The funding will assist developmental services, child welfare, victims shelters, and organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families with COVID-related costs, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced staffing.
      • For more information please visit: https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/crrf.aspx
        • The government is also providing $148 million to municipal partners that administer social services with funding to support the province’s most vulnerable as part of the province’s $200 million in social services relief funding in response to COVID-19.

Ontario Investing $20 Million to Advance Medical Research – Click HERE

  • The Ontario government is investing $20 million to advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
  • The government is calling on all of the province’s world-class research institutions, postsecondary institutions, and non-profit scientific partners to take action in the development of innovative solutions to track and defeat COVID-19.
  • Ontario researchers are encouraged to submit proposals through the new Ontario Together
  • Research submissions through the Ontario Together portal will be accepted until April 24, 2020.
  • The province is particularly interested in proposals that are highly feasible with achievable results within one year or a maximum of two years.
  • A diverse field of COVID-19 research will be eligible for funding and may include, but is not limited to, researching the COVID-19 strain, developing a vaccine, enhancing testing procedures, or improving modelling tools to help track the virus.
  • Researchers are encouraged to contact their institutions for further details.

Canada and Ontario Supporting Agri-food Sector Supply Chain During COVID-19 – Matching Employers with Job Seekers

  • The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $1 million in new funding to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector to keep the nation’s supply chains strong and store shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the federal and provincial governments will provide support that will help people connect with job opportunities in the sector quickly.
  • This program would help primary agriculture, food processing companies and grocery retail to recruit and train workers who are important to keeping the essential food supply chain functioning.
  • This targeted intake began accepting applications on April 17, 2020. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
  • Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed support to approximately 2,500 projects, through the Partnership, to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
  • For more information about this targeted application intake or to obtain a program guidebook, email: [email protected] or call: 1-877-424-1300.

HOME LEARNING – Click HERE

Ontario Establishes Key Partnerships to Make Home Learning More Accessible – iPad with Free Rogers Wireless Data Will Support Learning at Home

  • The Ontario government has partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak via the Learn at Home program.
  • iPads will be purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with Rogers LTE wireless data to students who don’t have either the technology or the internet they need to access the Learn at Home program.
  • The free Rogers wireless data will be available until the end of June.
  • School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad.
  • To date, over 21,000 will be sent to the homes of families in need.

FRONT LINE STAFF

Province makes it easier to reassign frontline staff where they are needed most

  • To help stop the spread of COVID-19 among the province’s most vulnerable citizens and ensure frontline services can continue to be delivered in priority areas, the Ontario government has issued new temporary emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
  • The Emergency Measures issued to further protect vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak include:
    1. Restricting retirement home employees from working in more than one retirement home, long-term care home or health care setting, with compliance required by April 22, 2020;
    2. Providing Local Health Integration Networks with the ability to direct home care service provider organizations to safely reassign frontline staff to areas where they are most needed, including home and community care settings, long-term care homes, supportive housing, retirement homes and hospitals;
    3. Providing municipalities and District Social Service Administration Boards with the flexibility to offer reassignments to certain staff to where there is local need during the outbreak, including child care, by-law enforcement, and public health services.
  • Ambulance services will have the flexibility to hire and assign college students who have not yet completed exams or graduated, to provide services appropriate to their competence level and scope of practice.

Ontario Offers Emergency Child Care to More Frontline Staff – Click HERE

  • In order to support essential workers during this COVID-19 outbreak, Ontario plans to exempt certain child care centres from the order to close all licensed child care centres.
  • As of April 17th, the Ontario government is expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive emergency child care.
  • Health care and other frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, and correctional officers, have been able to access safe, local emergency child care.
  • The additional frontline workers who can now access emergency childcare services include: Staff working in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, anti-human trafficking services and child welfare services (children’s aid societies) and in children’s residential settings;
    • First Nations constables;
    • Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management fire investigators;
    • Select critical staff in community corrections, such as probation and parole officers;
    • Contractors in institutional corrections services;
    • Frontline staff at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit;
    • Critical staff at the Centre of Forensic Sciences; and
    • Critical staff operating the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
    • Staff working in shelters (e.g., serving homeless populations);
    • Power workers;
    • Pharmaceutical and medical supplies and device manufacturing workers;
    • Non-municipal water and waste-water employees; and
    • Federally employed staff including Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and Canada Post employees.
  • This expands on the original list of essential workers eligible for emergency child care released on March 20th.
  • There are 74 child care centres up and running and home child care is being provided by 33 Licensed Home Child Care Agencies in communities across the province. 41 additional centres have also been approved and will be coming online in the coming days.
  • A list of emergency child care centres is available on ca/coronavirus.

NEW Provincial Government Websites

  • highlighting support for businesses – Click HERE
  • providing information on COVID-19 and supports available for various groups – Click HERE

Ontario Starts Planning for Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery – Click HERE

  • The Province’s primary focus is on combatting the virus, supporting frontline health care workers and providing immediate relief to people and businesses.
  • To help plan for the post-pandemic period, a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee has been launched by the Ontario government which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
  • This new committee will be developing a plan to stimulate economic growth and job-creation in the weeks and months ahead.
  • The Committee will be consulting with a wide variety of people to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop an action plan to move forward, including business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.

Province Launches Online Portal to Match Available Health Care Workers with Employers – CLICK HERE

  • The Ontario government is taking further action to stop the spread of COVID-19 by actively recruiting health care workers to increase the frontline capacity of hospitals, clinics, and assessment centres.
  • The new Health Workforce Matching Portal will enable health care providers with a range of experience to join the province’s response to COVID-19.
  • Those providers include retired or non-active health care professionals, internationally educated health care professionals, students, and volunteers with health care experience.

 

Ontario’s Action Plan 2020

LINK: https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/action-plan.html

PDF: Ontario COVID-19 Action Plan 2020

 

WSIB: Click HERE

  • $1.9 billion in support by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.
  • https://www.wsib.ca/en/financialrelief
  • All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020.
  • They will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit.
  • There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments.
  1. The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.
  2. The deferred premiums will amount to an average $1,760 for approximately 275,000 Ontario businesses.
  3. Additionally, the government reduced costs to employers by deploying a new rate framework and via the elimination of the unfunded liability charge, putting more than $2 billion back into the economy.

 

***MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON