News

Ontario Extends School and Child Care Closures to Fight Spread of COVID-19

TORONTO — Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government announced that schools and child care centres will remain closed to protect the health and safety of students and staff. This extension is being made on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Today's announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

To ensure continuity of learning, the government is launching the second phase of Learn at Home. Developed in conjunction with education partners, the government is establishing clarity for parents, enhancing education supports, and creating opportunities for teachers and educators to connect with students.

"The decision to extend school closures was not made lightly. We know from the medical experts that the next two weeks will be critical in the fight against COVID-19 and that's why we're taking further action to keep our kids safe and healthy by having them stay home," said Premier Ford. "At the same time, we cannot put the school year in jeopardy. That's why we're providing additional tools for at-home learning and ensuring students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to postsecondary education can finish their academic year and get the credits they need to graduate." 

Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020. As these dates come closer, this decision will be re-evaluated based on public health advice. The closure may be extended if necessary to protect the health and safety of students, families and staff. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time. Select centres designated to support frontline health care workers and first responders will remain open.   

As previously announced, no student will have their graduation compromised by COVID-19 and the Ministry of Education continues to collaborate with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure that there will be no barriers to accessing postsecondary education.

"We will do whatever it takes to keep students safe from COVID-19 - which is why we have extended the school closure period and why we have unveiled a teacher-led program that keeps students learning while at home," said Minister Lecce. "By providing clarity for parents, enhancing support for students and enabling the teacher-student relationship, we are ensuring our children continue to safely learn - providing some sense of stability and hope for them amid this difficulty." 

The second phase of Learn at Home features a new set of expectations for the education community, including:

  • Reconnecting students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers;
  • Re-establishing teacher-led learning by grade groupings as follows:
    • Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math)
    • Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies)
    • Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies)
    • Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation)
  • Leveraging digital resources and identifying alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity, such as phone and mail;
  • Developing a program of training for educators to support them in virtual learning delivery;
  • Requiring final report cards for all students;
  • Prioritizing and supporting students on track to graduate;
  • Distributing laptops and/or devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction;
  • Maintaining a responsive posture for health care and community partner requests; and
  • Establishing formal COVID-19 working groups with education sector unions to work together, share ideas and to find solutions in the support of students.

"The province is taking extraordinary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "As we do, we need every Ontarian to continue to do their part by staying apart. Please stay home as much as possible and keep your distance from others if you must go out. Stay home, stay safe, lives depend on it."

On March 21, 2020, Ontario launched Ontario Together, an online portal helping organizations work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. The government will leverage partnerships with the telecommunication sector to provide innovative, low-cost and high-impact solutions to solve the equity challenges facing some students across Ontario. With this resource, the Ministry of Education has posted a new challenge that looks for learning solutions focused on:

  • Free or low-cost learning resources and supports for students, parents and educators;
  • Access to devices such as computers, tablets and portable wi-fi hotspots for families that need the supports; and
  • Other ideas, goods or services, for example, to support mental health and students with special education needs.

Quick Facts

  • English and French-language materials will continue to be added to Learn at Homeon a regular basis to provide new and compelling content throughout this period. Recent updates include supplemental STEM learning resources created by third-parties and a parent resource that is focused on reading and writing.
  • There are now 36 high-quality English courses and 47 French-language courses available for secondary students to review, refresh and extend their learning as part of independent study.
  • TVO Kids offers educational programming throughout the day for school-aged children. Their broadcast schedule can be viewed here. TFO also offers a range of educational programming in French throughout the day for school-aged children. L’horaire de diffusion est disponible ici.
  • Mathify provides real-time homework help led by OCT certified educators for students between Grades 6-10, six days a week, including weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Eurêka! provides online learning support in French to students in Grades 1-12 with their school work and learning.

Additional Resources

  • Learn at Home
  • Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19

March 31, 2020

Province Supports Postsecondary Students During COVID-19

TORONTO — The government of Ontario is easing the financial burden on students and making sure they can complete their studies during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to postsecondary institutions.

"During this unprecedented period, it is important to help students and current borrowers, so students can continue with their studies and borrowers do not have to worry about making loan payments," said Premier Ford. "Our government is doing everything it can to ensure our college and university students can take their exams and complete their school year while studying remotely."   

To support borrowers during this difficult period, loan repayments will be subject to a six-month interest-free moratorium until September 30, 2020. This means that during this time, borrowers will not be required to make any loan payments and interest will not accrue on their OSAP loans. Borrowers can still make one-time payments via their online account or online banking if they want to repay their loans faster. Payments during this period will go entirely towards their loan principal.   

"Students and their families make great sacrifices to attend postsecondary education and it is incumbent on us to do everything we can to ensure this academic year is not put in jeopardy," said Minister Romano. "I want to thank our postsecondary institutions for their leadership in adopting alternative ways for students to study and take exams, while ensuring they practice physical distancing and stay safe."

To ensure students can successfully complete the academic year, Ontario has finalized an agreement with eCampusOntario to make digital learning supports available to postsecondary institutions. These interim digital learning supports, available in both French and English, will provide publicly-assisted colleges and universities with the technology they need to conduct year-end assessments, while preserving student privacy and the integrity of academic assessment.

Ontario will work with other partners who may be interested in offering digital learning, such as Indigenous Institutes and private career colleges. Supports will be accessible on an as-needed basis and limited to those courses and programs where formal exams are required.

The province is also distributing $25 million in additional funding to publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to help address each institution's most pressing needs in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak such as deep cleaning, purchasing medical supplies or offering mental health supports.

Additional Resources

March 31, 2020

Ontario Extends Emergency Declaration to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

TORONTO — In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. In addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"I made a commitment to be open and upfront about what we need to do as a province to beat this virus," said Premier Ford. "Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives. We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings."

This new order would close all communal or shared, public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities. Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren't otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others. Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed.

"We are acting on the best advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and other leading public health officials across the province" said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect Ontarians' health and wellbeing."

"The health and well-being of Ontarians is a top priority of our government as we navigate through the COVID-19 health crisis. I know our municipal partners are already taking action locally to protect their residents," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "This order makes the rules around closing shared outdoor recreational amenities consistent across the province."

To ensure the province is able to continue its extensive efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will also extend the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency and subsequent emergency orders, regulations and amendments issued under s.7.0.1 and 7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The following declaration and orders have been extended and will be in effect until April 13, 2020:

 

Quick Facts

  • Ontarians should stay home except for essential reasons, and to limit the number of these essential trips. Essential reasons include accessing health care services and medication, grocery shopping, walking pets when required and supporting vulnerable community members to meet the above needs. It is strongly recommended that people over 70 years old or who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions self-isolate and get help with essential errands.
  • Ontarians must strictly practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people and keep at least two metres away from people outside of their household.
  • On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. They must not go to work, grocery stores or on walks. They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and contact their primary care providers or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) if they experience symptoms.
  • Take everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health : wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; sneeze and cough into your sleeve; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick.

Additional Resources

  • Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
  • For public inquiries, call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free in Ontario only).

March 30, 2020

Ontario Increasing Health and Safety Measures to Better Protect Frontline Nurses from COVID-19

TORONTO — Ontario is taking further action to protect frontline nurses and to recognize their clinical training and experience to help to keep Ontarians and hospitals safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The province, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and in consultation with the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), Ontario Health and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), is issuing a directive on health and safety standards for frontline nurses in hospitals in order to prevent exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. These standards have been developed with the guidance of clinically trained frontline nurses, hospital leaders and public health experts.

"It is critical that we are protecting our frontline nurses who are fighting to protect us from COVID-19 every day," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We are collaborating with our partners in the health system to implement this new directive to ensure that nurses have the protection they need to safely provide the best care for their patients."

This directive outlines:

  • Precautions for interactions with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients, including relying on the clinical education and training that nurses receive to use their professional and clinical judgement;
  • Point-of-care risk assessments for every patient interaction to assess appropriate health and safety measures; and
  • Training on safe use of all personal protective equipment (PPE).

The directive also addresses the ongoing stewardship and conservation of the current level of PPE supplies as the government aggressively pursues all available efforts to increase this supply to ensure the appropriate health and safety control measures are in place to mitigate the transmission of infections. A joint statement from the province, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the ONA can be found here.

Quick Facts

  • As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the province is investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to frontline staff.
  • A new website, Ontario Together, will help the government partner with Ontario’s manufacturing sector to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and redirect resources towards the production of essential equipment such as ventilators, masks and swabs.
  • Everyone in Ontario should stay home unless absolutely necessary and practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Avoid close contact (within 2 metres) with people outside of your immediate families.
  • If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Toolto see if you need to seek further care.

Additional Resources

March 30, 2020

Ontario Protecting Seniors During the COVID-19 Outbreak

TORONTO — The Ontario government is working with businesses, volunteer organizations and non-profits to make it easier for Ontario's seniors to self-isolate and practice physical distancing during this unprecedented time by ensuring they can receive the support they need to stay safe and healthy. Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health is strongly urging those over the age of 70 or those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions to stay at home.

The government is investing $10 million to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors. This investment doubles the government's initial commitment in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. The government is also working with grocers and pharmacists to prioritize seniors' delivery orders and establish senior-only shopping hours.

"We take seriously the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, and we're working to put an iron ring of protection around our seniors from COVID-19," said Premier Doug Ford. "I know asking our seniors to stay at home will not be easy as it will mean inconvenience, isolation and significant change in routine. That's why we are encouraging everyone to reach out and support them, whether it's delivering their prescriptions or picking up the phone and giving them a call. It will all make a positive difference to our most vulnerable citizens."

The government is also working with province-wide organizations including Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) and Older Adults Centres' Association of Ontario (OACAO) to identify and mobilize potential volunteer supports and expand the use of innovative technologies in the community to address social isolation and support daily living assistance.

"Our seniors have dedicated their lives to making Ontario the great province it is today. During this very difficult period, we need to take every step possible to protect them and ensure they stay healthy both physically and mentally," said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. "I encourage everyone to stay in regular contact with a parent, grand parent or neighbour to make sure they have everything they need."

This $10 million delivery coordination program for seniors living at home is in addition to the $20 million over two years the province has invested to protect seniors in retirement homes through increased infection control and active screening procedures and $243 million for long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, additional staffing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, and additional surge capacity.

"We must do everything in our power to care for and support Ontario's most vulnerable population," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "I want to assure you that we are working around the clock to assist and care for Ontario's seniors, especially those in long-term care, during this unprecedented time."

The government is implementing a new emergency order to ensure that staffing and resources are available to help care for and protect long-term care residents, providing further flexibility and allowing homes to redirect their staffing and financial resources to essential tasks. This is in addition to implementing a new approach to redeploying highly qualified inspectors to support long-term care homes on the ground through staff supply, care coordination, and helping homes prevent and contain infections. 

"It's never been more important that all Ontarians heed the advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health by staying home and practicing physical distancing," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "This is especially true because it's the only way to protect our seniors and the most vulnerable people in our province. All of us need to do our part to stop the spread of this virus."

Additional Resources

March 30, 2020

Ontario Enhancing Public Reporting about COVID-19

TORONTO — Ontario is enhancing the public information it provides about the status of COVID-19. As the outbreak evolves, Ontario has launched a new dedicated web page and is changing how COVID-19 cases are being reported to provide a more relevant summary of data from Public Health Ontario that offers expanded information every day at 10:30 a.m.

This daily epidemiologic summary replaces the general information on the status of COVID-19 cases that was previously provided twice daily on the web page. The new summary provides more provincial and regional data on confirmed cases, including trends of cases since the outbreak began, geography, exposure and severity. 

"Ontario has been diligently monitoring and taking decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep Ontarians informed," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We will continue to work with Public Health Ontario, public health units and the health sector to have and report on the best possible data to help us understand the scope of the COVID-19 outbreak in our province and inform our collective response to keep all Ontarians safe and healthy."

The daily summary is based on data recorded by local public health units in the province's integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), as of 4 p.m. the day before the summary is posted. iPHIS is the Ministry of Health's disease reporting system, where data is regularly updated.

In addition to the daily update to the website, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, will continue to hold regularly scheduled daily media briefings via teleconference, to provide an update on the province's ongoing response to COVID-19.

Quick Facts

  • Everyone in Ontario should be practicing physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Avoid close contact (within 2 metres) with people outside of your immediate families.
  • If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario's Self-Assessment Toolto see if you need to seek further care.
  • On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act, that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
  • On March 28, 2020, Ontario issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people.
  • Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
    • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve;
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick; and
    • Stay home if you are sick.

Additional Resources

March 30, 2020

Ontario Stepping Up Measures to Limit the Spread of COVID-19 on Construction Sites

TORONTO — Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, issued the following statement today regarding health and safety on construction sites:

"The health and safety of construction workers is a top priority for our government. With the COVID-19 situation changing day by day, we are working to ensure that workers have the tools they need to help keep job sites safe. We must do everything possible to fight the spread of this disease.

Today, Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer announced updated guidance to help employers better understand their responsibilities and what is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site.

The update follows an initial guidance document circulated on March 20, 2020, and addresses sector topics including:

  • providing better on-site sanitation, including a focus on high-touch areas like site trailers, door handles and hoists
  • communicating roles, responsibilities, and health & safety policies, by, for example, posting site sanitization schedules and work schedules
  • enabling greater distances between workers by staggering shifts, restricting site numbers and limiting elevator usage
  • protecting public health by tracking and monitoring workers

Under Ontario law, employers must take every reasonable precaution to keep workers safe. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can seek enforcement by filing a complaint with the ministry's Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

Ministry inspectors are inspecting job sites today and every day. Employers and constructors should know: failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations could result in a stop work order.

Keeping job sites open during the current pandemic requires a heightened focus on health and safety.

We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19."

Additional Resources

  • Read the Chief Prevention Officer’s guidance to the construction sector on health and safety related to COVID-19.
  • Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19

March 29, 2020

Ontario Prohibits Gatherings of More Than Five People with Strict Exceptions

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government is taking immediate and decisive action to further stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.

Based on the best advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately.

This order would not apply to private households with five people or more. It would also not apply to  operating child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people. Funerals would be permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.

"If we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19 now and keep our communities safe, we need to take extraordinary measures to ensure physical distancing," said Premier Doug Ford. "I strongly encourage everyone to do the responsible thing and stay home unless absolutely necessary. I can assure everyone that we will do everything in our power to stop this virus in its tracks."

"We are acting on the best advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and other leading public health officials across the province," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "These are extraordinary times that demand extraordinary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our people. Nothing is more important."

Organized public events include parades, events including weddings, social gatherings and communal services within places of worship. This order replaces a previous emergency order which prohibits organized public events of over 50 people.

Ontario declared a provincial state of emergency on March 17, 2020 and has issued orders to close non-essential workplaces, recreational programs, libraries, publicly funded schools, private schools, daycares, provincial parks, churches and other faith settings, as well as bars and restaurants, except those that may only offer takeout or delivery. Essential services, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, public transit, manufacturing facilities, and supply chain companies remain open and operational.

Quick Facts

  • Everyone in Ontario should be practicing physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Avoid close contact (within 2 metres) with people outside of your immediate families.
  • On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. They should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
  • Take everyday steps to reduce exposure to COVID-19 and protect your health: wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer; sneeze and cough into your sleeve; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; avoid contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick.

Additional Resources

March 28, 2020

Ontario Taking Emergency Measures to Support Long-Term Care Homes During COVID-19

Today, the Government of Ontario is implementing a new emergency order to ensure that staffing and resources are available to help care for and protect long-term care residents during the COVID-19 crisis. These temporary measures provide further flexibility for long-term care homes and allow homes to redirect their staffing and financial resources to essential tasks.

In addition, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is also implementing a new approach to redeploying its highly qualified inspectors. These nurses, dieticians, and physiotherapists will be supporting long-term care homes on the ground through staff supply, care coordination, serving as point-people with Public Health, helping homes to prevent and contain infections, and many other tasks necessary to the safety and security of residents.

"The COVID-19 global pandemic presents challenges the likes of which we have not seen before," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "I want to assure you that we are working around the clock to keep your loved ones safe and we will not stop acting to keep long-term care residents and staff safe and secure. I want to thank the dedicated staff of these homes who are working tirelessly during these unprecedented times."

Critical funding for the long-term care sector was recently announced in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. A $243 million fund will create additional surge capacity in homes, while supporting 24/7 screening, more staffing and supplies and equipment to help with prevention and containment of this COVID-19 outbreak. This builds on an immediate injection of funding that long-term care homes have already received.

Quick Facts

  • A new emergency order will help homes tackle a COVID-19 outbreak by addressing restrictions around staffing, reporting complaints, and documentation to help ensure there are enough staff to care for residents.
  • Redeploying inspectors to help with critical areas of need was also done in the long-term care sector during SARS in 2003. This model was effective in supporting homes through that pandemic.
  • Several enhanced measures have been introduced in long-term care homes to enforce social and physical distancing and contain the spread of COVID-19. These include increased bed availability to ensure homes are able to provide isolation rooms, ensuring sufficient nursing and personal support care staff are available and a temporary order that gives homes the flexibility they need to deploy staff when and where they are needed.

Additional Resources

March 28, 2020

Ontario Protecting Consumers from Price Gouging

TORONTO — Today, Premier Doug Ford announced new penalties to combat price gouging and hold offenders accountable for raising prices significantly on the necessary goods Ontarians need to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.

Effective immediately, the government has issued an emergency order that retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods.

Individual offenders can face a ticket of $750, or, if summoned to court and convicted, could face a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and one year in jail. If convicted, a company director or officer could face a fine of up to $500,000 and up to a year in jail, and a corporation could face a fine of up to $10 million.

"Starting today, we are taking serious steps to ensure our frontline workers, our families and our most vulnerable citizens have what they need to stay safe," said Premier Doug Ford. "We are putting an end to those trying to profit off of one of the darkest periods in our province's history. If you're engaging in price gouging on necessary goods, we are going to slap you with a ticket or you could face fines or jail time."

Necessary goods include:

  • Masks and gloves used as personal protective equipment in relation to infections.
  • Non-prescription medications for the treatment of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Disinfecting agents intended for cleaning and disinfecting objects or humans.
  • Personal hygiene products, including soap products and paper products.

"As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve provincially and globally, we are seeing a shortage of necessary goods available to the public, such as hand sanitizers and household cleaners," said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. "We will not tolerate those taking advantage of these difficult times to charge unfair and unreasonable prices. It is not right and our government is taking swift and decisive action to put an end to it with extremely stiff penalties."

Consumers can report an individual who is price gouging by filing a complaint at 1-800-889-9768 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, or by filing a report online.  

Quick Facts

  • The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act establishes the province’s legal framework for managing emergencies.
  • The order will be in effect for the duration of the declared provincial emergency.
  • Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), the order prohibits persons, including retailers, from selling necessary goods for unconscionable prices. “Unconscionable prices” would be defined as a price that grossly exceeds the price at which similar goods are readily available to like consumers, which is consistent with well-established principles from the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Violating the order can result in a ticket in the amount of $750, or a charge under the EMCPA, with the possibility of a court imposed fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year imprisonment for an individual. A director or officer of a corporation could face a fine of not more than $500,000 and a term of imprisonment of not more than one year. In the case of a corporation, to a fine of not more than $10,000,000 may be imposed.
  • Businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the government’s response to COVID-19 can visit Ontario.ca/OntarioTogether.
  • The government is currently consulting on other ways to improve consumer protections in Ontario. Those interested can take part in a survey at the following link: Share your feedback to help us improve the rules under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.

Additional Resources

March 28, 2020