News

Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to Continue the Fight Against COVID-19

TORONTO ― On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, the Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days. This will allow the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Passed during a special sitting of the Ontario legislature and with the full cooperation of all parties, the Declaration of Emergency has been extended until May 12. The extension of the provincial declaration of emergency allows Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as the closure of all non-essential workplaces, outdoor amenities such as parks and recreational areas, public places and bars and restaurants, as well as restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and prohibitions against price-gouging. A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

"During these unprecedented times, we cannot let our guard down. The actions being taken by everyone to stay home and practice physical distancing are making a difference, but we are not out of the woods yet," said Premier Ford. "With the support of every Ontario MPP, we continue to take any and all actions necessary to support our frontline health care workers and respond rapidly and decisively to slow the spread of this deadly virus."

The legislature also passed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act to amend the Education Act, Planning Act, Development Charges Act, Police Services Act and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act. This new legislation demonstrates that the government is actively listening to the concerns of education and municipal stakeholders during this COVID-19 emergency.

"This legislation is about protecting the health and economic interests of Ontarians," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "We will do whatever it takes to get through this challenge ― most especially for the next generation ― so that students continue learning and graduating."

The amendments to the Education Act will allow school boards to continue charging fees on new construction in order to retain a vital source of revenue for new school projects. The bill also includes an amendment to provide a fair and consistent provincewide approach to addressing school suspensions and expulsions as part of the government's commitment to the safety of students and staff upon the reopening of schools.

The changes to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act will temporarily suspend student loan payments for OSAP borrowers and initiate a six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans.

"We are taking action to ease the financial burden for students and current borrowers during the COVID-19 outbreak," said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. "By temporarily suspending loan repayments and interest accrual, our government is providing immediate support for OSAP borrowers during these challenging times."  

The government is making it possible to suspend certain municipal planning decision timelines during the state of emergency, and change the Development Charges Act to ensure municipalities can continue to count on a vital source of revenue that helps pay for local growth-related infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewers as well as fire and police services. The amendments to the Police Services Act also allow the Solicitor General to give municipalities an extension beyond January 1, 2021 to prepare and adopt a community safety and well-being plan.

"Nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of all individuals and families," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "We have listened to our municipal partners and made these changes to help them better manage staff time and resources so they can focus on the COVID-19 outbreak."

"In these unprecedented times, our government is doing everything in its power to support our municipal, policing and community partners," said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. "While Community Safety and Well-Being Plans are an important tool for municipalities to keep our communities safe, we need them to focus on allocating resources where they are needed most right now, and that is to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Background Information

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April 14, 2020

Ontario Secures Critical Medical Equipment and Supplies

TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to ensure that patients, frontline health care workers and first responders have the critical equipment and supplies they need to protect themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak. Over the last five days, more than 13 million surgical and procedural masks, 200,000 N95 respirator masks, and 38 ventilators have been delivered to Ontario's pandemic stockpile warehouses.  

"The global competition to secure critical personal protective equipment and medical supplies is fierce, yet our team of procurement specialists continues to locate the masks, gloves and ventilators we need to keep our frontline workers and patients safe," said Premier Doug Ford. "I also want to take this opportunity to thank Premier Jason Kenney and the people of Alberta for making a generous donation of critical medical supplies and equipment in the fight against COVID-19. By standing united in adversity, Team Canada will stop this virus in its tracks."

Ontario is providing same-day deliveries to hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and other facilities to support essential workers in all settings and ensuring supplies and equipment are expedited to those most in need. This includes shipments this past weekend of 6.5 million surgical and procedural masks to over 650 providers across the province to protect our frontline workers, patients and residents.

"I am pleased to report that we continue making significant progress in securing the necessary personal protective equipment needed to effectively respond to COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Nothing is more important than protecting the health and safety of patients and the workers caring for them, as well as our first responders. We will continue working around the clock to add to the provincial stockpile to ensure that we are equipped to support those fighting this outbreak on the frontlines."

Ontario has been procuring vital supplies and personal protective equipment through its traditional suppliers and donations, as well as working in collaboration with the federal government, other provinces, and Ontario's manufacturers. On Saturday, Alberta committed to send Ontario 250,000 N95 masks, 2.5 million surgical masks, 15 million surgical gloves, 87,000 safety goggles, and 50 ventilators. 

While Ontario is making progress in procuring critical supplies and equipment, the global supply chain remains constrained. Conservation of supplies and equipment, particularly personal protective equipment is of utmost importance. The government is working to ensure those in priority areas and in urgent need are receiving the supplies they need.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario obtains its own supplies and receives others procured centrally by the federal government.
  • As of April 13, through the Ontario Together web portal, the province has received over 14,500 submissions from businesses and private citizens, offering to provide or donate various supplies and equipment, such as masks, face shields, testing equipment, ventilators, hand sanitizer, gowns and coveralls. More than 9,000 emergency supply submissions have generated nearly $90 million in purchases of critical equipment and supplies.
  • Ontario has launched a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment and ventilators
  • Ontario is making it easier for businesses to work with government by developing a smarter procurement system that will save taxpayer money, drive office efficiencies and help small- and medium-sized businesses tap into new opportunities in government procurement.

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April 13, 2020

Ontario Takes Further Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

TORONTO — To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of people across the province, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until April 23, 2020, including the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging.

In addition, new measures have been introduced to address surge capacity in retirement homes, restrict recreational camping on Crown land, and allow the repurposing of existing buildings and temporary structures. All of these actions are based on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"I understand the actions we are taking are affecting the lives and livelihoods of people across the province, but these are extraordinary times and we need to do whatever we can to keep individuals and families safe and stop the spread of this terrible virus," said Premier Ford. "We all must continue to do our part by staying home and practicing physical distancing. With the proper precautions and additional measures we're taking today, I am confident we will get through this together and stronger."

Ontario introduced the following new steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The government is:

  • Making it easier to repurpose existing buildings and put up temporary structures, like tents, so communities can meet their local needs quickly. This will reduce pressure on health care facilities, where needed, and help shelters provide more space for sleeping to maintain the physical distancing requirements to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • Temporarily enabling hospitals to increase their capacity by using the beds and services of retirement homes without certain labour relations implications during the declared provincial emergency.
  • Prohibiting recreational camping on Crown land as of April 9, 2020. Under the emergency order, no individual can camp on Crown land, including the placement of tents or other camping structures, while the order is in effect. The government will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate if further actions are required.
  • Supporting construction workers and businesses with emergency action to help improve cash flow in the construction industry during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will lift the suspension of limitation periods and procedural time periods under the Construction Act and allow the release of holdback payments to contractors and subcontractors.

The following emergency orders have been extended until April 23, 2020:

 

Quick Facts

  • Temporary facilities must be designed and reviewed by qualified professionals (such as licensed architects and professional engineers) and municipal Building Officials must inspect the facilities to ensure they are safe.
  • The Construction Act is intended to regulate how payments are made, to help ensure that workers who have provided services or materials during a construction project are paid for their work.

Additional Resources

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

April 11, 2020

Ontario Protects Parents during COVID-19

TORONTO — During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government is temporarily preventing child care centres from collecting payments from parents, while also ensuring that their child care spaces are protected. Child care centres, with the exception of those accommodating health care and other frontline workers, were ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep the children and child care staff safe.  

An emergency order has been issued, and immediately prevents any child care operator from charging parent fees where care is not being provided. The order also means that parents cannot lose their child care space because they are not paying fees during this period. This will help provide much needed relief for parents during the outbreak.

"COVID-19 has imposed significant financial pressure on working parents," said Stephen Lecce, Education Minister. "We need to support our parents who may be facing reduced income or layoffs during the COVID-19 outbreak."

The child care sector, like many others, is facing significant financial pressures. Child care providers can seek supports for businesses and individuals under the federal government's Economic Response Plan.

"We are defending the interests of consumers and protecting parents' hard-earned money by ordering child care centres to stop charging fees for services not rendered," said Minister Lecce. "From protecting health and safety, to jobs and incomes, we will do whatever it takes to get our province and our incredibly resilient people through this." 

The Ontario government will continue to work with the child care sector and federal, municipal and First Nations partners on a plan to ensure the sustainability of the sector during the outbreak.

Quick Facts

  • Child care centres have been ordered to close through a provincial Emergency Order.
  • Some child care centres that are providing child care for health care and other frontline workers, and home-based child care providers (licensed and unlicensed), are permitted to continue to operate
  • Over 1 million applications have been received through Ontario’s Support for Families. The simple online application gives parents a one-time payment of $200 for each child aged 0 to 12, or $250 for children 21 years old or younger with special needs.

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April 10, 2020

Ontario Significantly Expanding COVID-19 Testing

TORONTO — To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is implementing the next phase of its strategy to significantly expand and enhance testing. In addition to the ongoing testing of the general public at any of the 100 assessment centres now established across the province, Ontario will be proactively testing several priority groups, including:

  • Hospital inpatients;
  • Residents of long-term care and retirement homes;
  • Health care workers, caregivers, care providers, paramedics, and first responders, including police and firefighters;
  • Remote, isolated, rural and Indigenous communities;
  • Other congregate living centres, including homeless shelters, prisons and group homes;
  • Specific vulnerable populations, including patients undergoing chemotherapy or hemodialysis and requiring transplants, as well as pregnant persons, newborns and cross-border workers; and
  • Other essential workers, as defined by provincial orders.

"We're laser-focused on ramping up our testing capacity so we can protect the most vulnerable in our communities and those who protect them, like our frontline health care workers and first responders," said Premier Ford. "By expanding our testing capacity, we will be able to find cases faster, intervene earlier, reduce the spread, and save lives."

By implementing this strategy, Ontario expects to double the number of tests processed each day to 8,000 by April 15, 2020 and 14,000 by April 29, 2020, at which point overall lab capacity will have been further expanded.

"By significantly increasing the number of tests each day, we will identify cases early, contain them and prevent putting more people at risk," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Doing so is especially important for priority groups like hospital inpatients, long-term care home residents and our brave frontline health care workers and first responders, all of whom are more vulnerable to being exposed to this virus. Nothing is more important than protecting their health and wellbeing."

This testing strategy follows extensive efforts to expand Ontario's lab testing capacity, which helped to quickly eliminate a backlog of approximately 10,000 people within less than two weeks. To date, the province has conducted over 94,000 tests.

The province has re-established same-day testing results, which are now conveniently accessible to patients through a new user-friendly online portal. This portal will help ease pressure on public health units and frontline workers, allowing them to focus their efforts on combating COVID-19. The province is also helping to significantly expand the capacity of public health units to conduct contact tracing and case management, both of which are critical to stopping the spread of the virus, by enabling the use of volunteers, including retired nurses and medical students.

People who have tested negative for COVID-19 must still follow all precautions, including staying at home except to pick up essential supplies like groceries and prescriptions, and keeping at least two-meters apart from others. While an individual may receive a negative test at a given moment in time, the individual is still able to contract and spread the virus.

Quick Facts

  • Testing guidelines have been provided to health-system partners, including public health units, assessment centres, primary care settings and long-term care homes. Guidelines are forthcoming for specific vulnerable populations and essential workers. The province will also provide guidelines to begin targeted surveillance by sampling populations within northern towns.
  • Ontario will continue to increase its testing capacity by leveraging hospital, community and research labs.
  • The province is also updating the list of symptoms related to COVID-19, including a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, loss of sense of smell or taste, diarrhea or nausea/vomiting. For seniors, there are additional symptoms including chills, delirium with no other obvious reason, falls, acute functional decline, increased heart rate and decreased blood pressure. These updated symptoms are in addition to difficulty breathing, fever, cough, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat and runny nose.
  • All Ontarians should stay home unless for essential reasons only, such as such as accessing health care services, shopping for groceries, picking up medication, walking pets when required, or supporting vulnerable community members with meeting essential needs. If you must leave your home, stay at least two meters apart from others.

Additional Resources

April 10, 2020

Ontario Starts Planning for Economic Recovery

TORONTO — The Ontario government has launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. While the government's primary focus is on combatting the virus, supporting frontline health care workers and providing immediate relief to people and businesses, this new committee will be developing a plan to stimulate economic growth and job-creation in the weeks and months ahead.

"My heart goes out to those individuals and families who have been out of work, or whose business has closed through no fault of their own," said Premier Ford. "I can assure each person affected by this crisis that we will do everything we can to support you, and get you back on the job as soon as possible. While our government battles this virus, members of our new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee will roll up their sleeves and develop a roadmap to a stronger, more prosperous economy." 

The membership of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee includes: 
• Rod Phillips, Chair, Minister of Finance 
• Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade 
• Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board 
• Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation 
• Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health 
• Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 
• Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs 
• John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry 
• Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure 
• Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries 
• Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services 
• Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development 
• Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction 

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.

"While we focus our energy and resources on defeating COVID-19, today's job numbers highlight why we also need to plan for an economic recovery," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "At Premier Ford's request, I have convened the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. And our first order of business is to prepare for the next phase of Ontario's Action Plan, which will be ready to launch as soon as COVID-19 is contained. This team will get our economy moving again ― with a focus on job creation, opportunities for growth, and protecting our province from future threats."

Today, Statistics Canada released its monthly job numbers, which showed a 402,800 decrease in employment in Ontario. To support the provincial effort to deal with this crisis, the government launched Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. This is a $17 billion package with funding targeted to help families and a variety of sectors across the province.

In addition to $3.3 billion in more health care resources, the plan includes $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, and relief of $6 billion by temporarily deferring taxes for 100,000 Ontario businesses, $1.9 billion to allow employers to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments, and $1.8 billion to defer municipal education property tax payments.

The government is also providing $52 million from the package to better support individuals and families in financial crisis through social assistance. This funding will support those who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food costs, rent, medicine and other essential services during this time. Individuals can easily apply online for assistance.

To support small businesses, the Ontario government has also worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank. This new program will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.

"Our government is pulling out all the stops to support our job creators and workers today, during this very difficult time," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "But it is incumbent upon us to look ahead and map out a plan that considers life after COVID-19, a plan that will guide us into a future filled with hope, new employment opportunities and steady economic growth."

"While the health and safety of Ontarians is our top priority, we need to ensure that our province is positioned to support and facilitate economic growth when we lift the State of Emergency," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. "This starts with the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, which will ensure we have a long-term, strategic vision to responsibly reopen our economy."

Additional Resources

April 09, 2020

Ontario Accelerates Essential Construction Projects During COVID-19

TORONTO — In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Ontario is extending construction hours for essential construction projects, like critical projects in the health care sector, to 24 hours a day. Work on new hospital builds, expansions, and COVID-19 assessment centres will be able to continue any time of the night or day in order to help accelerate the construction of these important projects and enable employers to take additional steps to protect the health and safety of workers on these job sites.

Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, today announced extended construction hours and other measures to keep Ontario workplaces safe.

"During this escalating crisis, we are taking immediate steps to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place, particularly to properly care for those with severe COVID-19 symptoms and other patients who require critical care," said Premier Doug Ford. "That's why we're extending construction hours to allow us to build essential infrastructure faster, while ensuring construction workers can practice physical distancing on work sites to stay safe and healthy."

Ontario will temporarily limit local noise bylaws from applying to these types of essential construction activities beginning April 7, 2020. This will allow for expedited construction on key facilities, such as new hospital builds, expansions, temporary COVID-19 response units or structures, and COVID-19 assessment centres. Extending hours for essential construction will also give worksite managers more flexibility to stagger shifts, limit the number of people in one place, and take reasonable precautions to keep workers safe and healthy under the recent guidelines issued by Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer for construction sites.

Ontario is also making essential workplaces across the province safer during the COVID-19 pandemic by:

  • Redeploying more than 30 employment standards officers to help businesses understand and comply with health and safety requirements;
  • Working with health and safety associations to deploy up to 30 specialists to support employers and workers in the field;
  • Issuing health and safety guidance notes to support specific sectors;
  • Doubling the capacity of Ontario's Health and Safety Call Centre from 25 to 50 phonelines;
  • Providing job-protected leave under the Employment Standards Act for workers who need to self-isolate or care for a loved one because of COVID-19;
  • Issuing a call to recently-retired inspectors who may be able and willing to return to their positions;
  • Providing compliance assistance and enforcing the emergency orders issued under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act.

"Our government is doing everything in its power to make sure workers on the job are safe during this pandemic," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "That means more inspections, more inspectors, more phone lines, and more people to take your calls. We have conducted thousands of inspections and investigations across the province in March and we will continue to conduct more this month. We will do everything in our power to keep the essential workers of our province safe."

"We're helping to protect the health and safety of construction workers and ensure that critical health care-related construction projects continue during this outbreak," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "Temporarily limiting noise bylaws to extend the hours for construction work will help make it possible to stagger shifts and have fewer workers on site at any given time so they can practice physical distancing."

"As part of our plan to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are continuing to expand health care capacity in communities across the province," said Minister Elliott. "That includes building new assessment centres and field hospitals, both of which are critical to ensuring we are able to care for Ontarians as we contain this new virus. Extended hours will ensure that work on these facilities continues safely to the benefit of all Ontarians."

Quick Facts

  • All Ontarians should stay home unless absolutely necessary for essential reasons, such as such as accessing health care services, shopping for groceries, picking up medication, walking pets when required, or supporting vulnerable community members with meeting essential needs. If you must leave your home, stay at least two (2) meters apart from others.
  • 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.
  • Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus 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

April 08, 2020

Ontario Calls on all Health Care Workers to Help Fight COVID-19

TORONTO — 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. Today, the province is launching a new online tool that will help match skilled frontline workers with employers.

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. The portal will efficiently match the availability and skillsets of frontline health care workers to the employers in need of assistance to perform a variety of public health functions, such as case and contact management.

"Our health care heroes on the frontlines of this battle are doing extraordinary work, but they need reinforcements to step up and lend a hand to help defeat this virus," said Premier Doug Ford. "Whether you're retired or in training, we can't afford to have people with professional health care skills who want to help sitting on the sidelines during this crisis. This is a call to action and I encourage every available person with health care experience to get involved."

Employers and interested health care professionals can visit the portal here and create a profile. Once registered, professionals can add their availability and employers can enter their request for support. Registrants will receive an email notification if matched.

"Since the beginning of this outbreak, we have heard from thousands of volunteers who want to help in any way they can," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We are very grateful for those stepping up during these unprecedented times. That's why we are using everything possible to support these frontline healthcare workers as they fight the spread of this virus."

On April 1, Ontario issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, to enhance the public health units' human resources capacity and support their ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Additional Resources

April 07, 2020

Ontario Takes Additional Measures to Protect First Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak

TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, issued the following statement regarding new emergency measures to protect Ontario's first responders and stop the spread of COVID-19:

"First responders put their lives on the line every day to protect Ontarians and they are at great risk of being directly exposed to COVID-19 as they fulfill their frontline duties. We must do everything in our power to ensure the health and well-being of those working on the frontlines and provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs and keep Ontarians safe.

With their safety and health in mind, our government has made an emergency order that will allow police, firefighters and paramedics to obtain COVID-19 positive status information about individuals with whom they are coming into contact.

During this pandemic, it is crucial that our first responders have access to this critical information when they are preparing to respond to an emergency in order to protect themselves and the public and help stop the spread of this virus.

The information disclosed will be limited to an individual's name, address, date of birth, and whether the individual has had a positive COVID-19 test result. Strict protocols will be enforced to limit access to this information and will only be used to allow first responders to take appropriate safety precautions to protect themselves and the communities they serve.

Once the declaration of emergency is lifted, this data will be made inaccessible to first responders.

We will continue to take decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Ontarians."

April 06, 2020

Ontario Government Supports Families in Response to COVID-19

TORONTO — The Ontario government is offering direct financial support to parents while Ontario schools and child care centres remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The new Support for Families initiative offers a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age, and $250 for those 0 to 21 years of age with special needs.

The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.

"During this extraordinary time, we're doing everything we can to support parents to keep everyone safe and ensure our children continue to learn and stay mentally active," said Premier Ford. "This one-time funding will allow parents to access additional tools for our kids to use while at home and studying remotely. I want to remind everyone to stay at home and only go out if absolutely necessary. It's the only way we are going to defeat this terrible virus."

"Our aim during these extraordinarily challenging times is to continue supporting those impacted hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak — Ontario families," said Minister Lecce. "School and child care closures have disrupted family life a great deal and our government will do whatever it takes to support them and keep them safe. This funding will flow to parents directly, to offer them immediate relief during this difficult time."

Families can complete a simple online application at Ontario's Support for Families web page to access this financial support. Parents already receiving Support for Parents payments through direct deposit will be automatically eligible for this financial support and do not need to submit a new application.

"As we reach a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19, it's important schools and child care centres remain closed," said Minister Elliott. "Keeping Ontarians safe is our number one priority and it's also our duty to help parents who are supporting their children and families during this unprecedented time."

Through this initiative the government is providing over $300 million in relief to parents across Ontario as part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.

"With schools and child care closed, life has become more difficult for families and they need some extra help," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, includes $7 billion in direct support for people and jobs, and $10 billion in cash flow support for people and businesses. This $17 billion plan includes direct relief for parents when they need it the most."

Quick Facts

  • Ontario public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020, to keep Ontario’s students safe from COVID-19. 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.
  • On March 22, Ontario announced its effort to support health care and frontline workers with emergency child care services across the province. Frontline workers who make use of these services are also eligible for this one-time payment.
  • The Government reiterated its focus on positive mental health supports for students dealing with the challenges of COVID-19. Premier Ford announced an investment of up to $12 million to deliver online and virtual mental health supports across our province, supporting students, families and frontline workers.
  • Ontario launched the second phase of Learn at Home and Apprendre à la maison, a new online portal that provides resources for families so students can continue their education while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
  • Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

Additional Resources

April 06, 2020