TORONTO — Today, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that 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 advice was to extend school closures for an additional period of time to permit updated modelling and data to inform next steps, given the government's absolute commitment to safety.
"We will do whatever it takes to keep our students safe," said Minister Lecce. "The government is taking a careful approach which provides our medical experts the time to review the modelling and make the best decision for the safety of our students and the future of learning."
The government took immediate action to close schools in Ontario, the first in Canada to do so. The ministry continues to monitor the evolving situation and if necessary, the closure may be extended further to protect the health and safety of Ontario's school communities.
At the same time 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. Elementary resources are designed to help young students learn at home with interactive activities that encourage participation through entertaining and stimulating digital content. High school content was designed with a focus on STEM courses and ensures core competencies and skills are reinforced.
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. Apple is providing on-going support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home. 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.
"Regardless of what transpires over the coming weeks, Ontario's students will be able to complete their school year with confidence," added Minister Lecce. "In particular, for students in their final year, we are removing all impediments to ensure students graduate and pursue post-secondary education."
- Should schools be permitted to reopen, school employees will have access as of May 29, 2020.
- The Ministry of Education will move forward to replace the remainder of Professional Activity (PA) days and examination days with instructional time, as well as the introduction of an expanded summer learning program that will focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrading. Boards are to find solutions at the local level in keeping with this direction while upholding collective agreement obligations.
- Private schools, First Nation schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will remain closed until May 6, 2020, with certain exceptions for licenced care, under an emergency order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which only allows closures to be extended for 14 days at a time.
- Through the Ontario Together web site, the province received more than 300 proposals from businesses, organizations and everyday Ontarians to provide solutions to remote learning while schools are closed during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Next steps will be shared soon.
TORONTO — 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.
The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
"During these dark days, the Ontario spirit continues to shine through with everyday acts of heroism, courage, and compassion by our frontline workers," said Premier Ford. "These people put themselves in harm's way to care for our sick and vulnerable citizens. I am truly grateful, as are the people of Ontario, for their service, and it's time we give something back to those who sacrifice so much day in and day out."
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 and continue for 16 weeks.
"The pandemic payment recognizes the valiant efforts of our frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19," said Minister Bethlenfalvy. "These heroic workers are delivering critical services that support all Ontarians, including the most vulnerable members of our communities, often putting themselves or their loved ones at risk. They are saving lives and we owe them an incredible debt of gratitude."
"It is vital that we retain our frontline health care workers as we continue our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We are taking further actions to continue to ensure that our healthcare workers are supported, and the health care sector maintains a safe staffing level, especially in places where it is needed the most."
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.
The Ontario government remains committed to using every resource it has to support frontline workers as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, issued the following statement on Ontario Parks operations in response to COVID-19:
"In order to keep Ontarians safe during this COVID-19 outbreak, our government is extending the closure of Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves to May 31, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities, access points and all public buildings.
Provincial parks and conservation reserves will continue to remain fully closed to all recreational activities.
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. We are also providing penalty-free refunds 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.
We understand this extension may impact many Ontarians' plans during the month of May. However, the health and well-being of Ontarians is our government's number one priority. Although we are making progress to stop the spread, the virus has not yet been contained. As a result, all but essential service workers must continue to stay at home and practice physical distancing."April 25, 2020
WOODSTOCK - The governments of Canada and Ontario 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 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 this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing 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.
"Workers from across our food supply chain are providing essential services to our country and we appreciate their hard work and dedication to keep our agriculture and agri-food system strong during this challenging time," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "This investment will provide support as businesses quickly adapt to new and different ways of providing affordable and nutritious food to Canadians."
"We're helping agri-food businesses adapt to the retail challenges of this unprecedented time," said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, and our investment today in e-business will go a long way to connecting the people who grow our food with the people who buy it, while allowing them to practice physical distancing."
"During this extraordinary period where it is essential to stay home and stop the spread, the adoption of digital technology is critical for Ontario's small businesses to connect with consumers," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "Our government is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our vitally important agri-food businesses as they innovate, grow, and produce for Ontario.
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.
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.
- Funding will be cost-shared by the governments of Canada and Ontario.
- The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments to support Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
- The targeted application intake 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 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.
- OMAFRA delivers cost-share funding for the Agri-Food Open for E-Business Targeted Intake.
- The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 837,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.5 billion each year to the province’s economy.
TORONTO — 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.
Details of the new program were announced today by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
"The vast majority of Ontario's small businesses and landlords are struggling during this extraordinary public health emergency," said Premier Ford. "That's why we are doing everything we can to support them through these tough economic times, so they can hit the ground running when we are in a position to open up the provincial economy. I want to thank the federal government for partnering with us to help our small businesses and commercial landlords. I look forward to working together to also provide much-needed support to residential renters ahead of May 1."
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.
Partnering with the federal government on the OCECRA builds on the provincial government's approach to supporting business during COVID-19. 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, including:
- Doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020, cutting taxes by $355 million, benefiting roughly 57,000 employers;
- Eliminating penalties and interest to businesses who miss filing or remittance deadlines for various provincially administered taxes for five months starting April 1, 2020, providing up to $6 billion in cashflow for about 100,000 Ontario businesses;
- Postponing the planned property tax reassessment for 2021, providing stability for Ontario's property taxpayers;
- Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, providing municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses;
- Implementing the new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit for businesses that make eligible capital investments in designated regions of the province where employment growth has significantly lagged behind below the provincial average.
Ontario has also suspended time-of-use electricity rates for eligible small businesses, as well as residential and farm time-of-use customers, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour, for 24 hours per day, seven days a week for 45 days, for all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.
"To help stop the spread of COVID-19, businesses have closed their doors and employees have stayed home and that has been working, but it has also created significant financial hardship," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "By subsidizing rent payments, reducing taxes, extending deadlines, and eliminating penalties and interest, we're helping to ensure businesses can start up quickly when the time is right."
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 program will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.
"Ontario's small and medium-sized businesses are vital to our economy and include some of the hardest-working people in the world who have rolled up their sleeves to support our frontline healthcare workers, and beat this virus," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "This package of supports will help them get through these difficult days and resume normal operations as soon as possible."
"In the months ahead, small businesses will be critical to Ontario's economic recovery. Together with our federal partners, we are ensuring we support our small businesses today, so that they can continue to create opportunities for hardworking Ontario families tomorrow," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "With rents coming due, it's extremely important that the federal government move quickly to implement this program and get small businesses and property owners the support they urgently need."
- The Province’s $241 million investment in OCECRA is part of the $17 billion Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
- The government has retroactively, to January 1, 2020, raised the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption to $1 million from $490,000 for 2020, providing additional EHT relief of up to $9,945 per eligible employer.
- Starting January 1, 2020, Ontario reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate from 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent.
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses
- See how your organization can help fight COVID-19.
- Information and advice to help your business navigate the economy during COVID-19.
- Learn more about Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
TORONTO — On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending 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 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.
This Emergency Order extension includes 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 limiting staff from working in more than one retirement home or long-term care home.
"We are making steady progress in our battle against this deadly virus, but we are not out of the woods by a long shot. It is absolutely necessary to extend these emergency orders to continue keeping all Ontarians safe and healthy," said Premier Doug Ford. "Every effort made by each of us to stay home, practise physical distancing and wash your hands has been, and will continue to be, the key to stopping the spread of this virus."
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.
The following emergency orders have been extended until May 6, 2020:
- Closure of establishments
- Prohibiting public events and gatherings or more than five people
- Work deployment measures for health care workers
- Drinking water and sewage
- Electronic service of documents
- Work deployment for long-term care homes
- Off-peak electricity pricing
- Closure of places of non-essential businesses
- Traffic management
- Streamlining requirements for long-term care homes
- Prohibiting unfair pricing on necessary goods
- Closure of outdoor recreational amenities
- Enforcement of orders
- Work deployment for boards of health
- Work deployment measures in retirement homes
- Access to COVID-19 status information by specified persons
- Service agencies providing services and supports to adults with developmental disabilities
- Pick up and delivery of cannabis
- Signatures in wills and powers of attorney
- Use of force and firearms in policing services
- Child care fees
- Agreements between health service providers and retirement homes
- Temporary health or residential facilities
- Closure of public lands for recreational camping
- Work deployment measures for service agencies providing violence against women residential services and crisis line services
- Limiting work to a single long-term care home
- Work deployment for district social services administration boards
- Deployment of employees of service provider organizations
- Work deployment measures for municipalities
- Limiting work to a single retirement home
- 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.
- Ontario has already provided additional funding to expand online and virtual mental health supports during the outbreak.
- Over 600 community agencies provide community mental health and addictions services in Ontario. These agencies provide services and supports to over one million Ontarians each year.
- Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
- 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.
- Emergency information and orders
- For public inquiries, call ServiceOntario at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free in Ontario only).
Ontario Takes Immediate Steps to Further Protect Long-Term Care Residents and Staff During COVID-19 Outbreak
TORONTO — The Ontario government is making progress on the implementation of the COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes to help stop and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the province's long-term care homes. The government has introduced more aggressive testing, screening, and surveillance, deployed specialized teams from hospitals, public health and the home care sector, recruited additional frontline staff, and increased personal protective equipment.
Today's update was provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Heath, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
"Within 48 hours of launching our Action Plan, we sent in reinforcements to further protect our most vulnerable seniors and those who care for them in our long-term care homes," said Premier Ford. "Today, we are making progress against this ruthless disease, but I want to emphasize that every option is on the table to get our long-term care homes what they need to stop the spread. That is why we intend to make a formal request for assistance from the federal government."
Since the Action Plan was announced, the government has worked swiftly and decisively to provide targeted, on-the-ground support to long-term care homes through the following measures:
- Assisting 20 long-term care homes, which were previously experiencing outbreaks, to become now outbreak-free.
- Increasing testing on both symptomatic and asymptomatic staff and residents. To date, approximately 11,600 tests have been completed amongst residents in long-term care.
- Conducting additional testing of asymptomatic residents and staff outside of the testing guidance at 21 long-term care homes, to help understand the spread of the virus.
- Setting up a 24/7 Long-Term Care COVID-19 Response Team, which has already helped more than 30 homes by putting in place infection control protocols, resolving staffing issues, and fulfilling personal protective equipment needs.
- Launching 31 Infection Prevention and Control interventions, which are currently in progress, with six assessments already completed.
- Continuing to identify critical 24-, 48-, and 72-hour help that homes need by matching qualified people and volunteers who can help with duties, including nursing support and cleaning.
- Responding to every escalated request for personal protective equipment from long-term care homes within 24 hours through the following measures:
- A four-step process is in place to ensure an optimized regional distribution and redistribution when supplies are urgently needed.
- Critical supply needs are escalated for provincial action.
- Daily distribution of supply from provincial warehouses to regional sites.
- Daily monitoring of and reporting against performance target of 100 per cent of critical need requests being shipped within 24 hours.
- Working with hospitals across the province to deploy additional staffing and infection prevention controls in long-term care homes:
- In Toronto alone, five hospitals (Michael Garron Hospital, Women's College, North York General, Unity Health Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital) have been engaged to support approximately 40 long-term care homes in the city.
- Other hospital partners and health partners have stepped up to help their local homes, including Trillium Health Partners, Halton Healthcare, Grand River, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, and the Ottawa Hospital.
- More than 70 volunteers, including registered nurses, social workers, administration and medical doctors, have been recruited from the University Health Network to assist long-term care homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
- Providing over 400 job matches for long-term care homes through the province's Health Workforce Matching Portal, with over half of Ontario's long-term care homes now using the portal.
To further support ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19 in Ontario's long-term care homes, the federal government has offered resources that could include personnel and other supports from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Armed Forces. This support would be deployed to five priority long-term care homes as one element of the government's robust Action Plan. The Ontario government will be making a formal request to access those extra reinforcements today.
The government continues to explore additional measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep vulnerable people safe, including building isolation capacity at long-term care homes.
"We must continue to act swiftly and decisively to keep our loved ones in long-term care safe, as well as their caregivers," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Our long-term care homes continue to be the front-lines of this pandemic and we must continue to work around the clock to assist all our dedicated staff during this crisis."
- COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes
- 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).
TORONTO — 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 and doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments.
Today's announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
"As we face some of the darkest times in our province's history, we have a duty to protect and care for the most vulnerable in our society," said Premier Ford. "Our seniors and people with disabilities are the most at risk during this crisis, and we must go above and beyond to ensure they get financial relief, food, medicine and other essentials without delay."
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. The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.
"We know that the best way we can all take care of ourselves during this outbreak is to stay home," said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. "For older Ontarians and people with disabilities, this may be especially challenging. That is why I am so proud to see the Ontario Spirit being demonstrated by the volunteers, local not-for-profit organizations, charities and businesses that are helping our most vulnerable through the Ontario Community Support Program."
This week the province will also be issuing the first doubled Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments. Individuals will receive up to $166 per month and couples will receive up to $332 per month. 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.
"As part of Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, we are investing $3.7 billion to provide immediate and direct support to Ontario's people and employers. It starts with those most in need," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "For our vulnerable seniors, we will double the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment for six months. That will ensure 194,000 of our lowest income seniors will have some extra support during these unprecedented times. The first payment will start to arrive this week and assist low income seniors with their essential expenses when they need it most."
The province is 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. In addition, the government is 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.
"Our government is taking decisive action to protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "If you have a friend or neighbour who is a senior or a person with a disability, please reach out to them to ensure they have what they need and are doing okay during this very difficult period."
- The Ontario Community Support Program will serve low-income seniors and people with disabilities in need such as those in supportive housing environments or community-based independent living programs.
- To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in the local community and request service, visit www.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.
- Volunteer organizations can now visit www.sparkontario.ca to post volunteer opportunities available in their communities. Ontarians interested in volunteering are also encouraged to check the website for opportunities to make a difference where they live.
- 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.
- Ontario recently announced $200 million in social services relief funding to help the province’s most vulnerable.
- Learn about how the government is supporting people, businesses and families during COVID-19 by visiting www.ontario.ca/coronavirus.
TORONTO — The Ontario government today released updated COVID-19 modelling, which shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing from each other, are working to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. However, the Chief Medical Officer of Health says emergency measures must remain in place to continue reducing the number of cases and deaths.
"The modelling clearly demonstrates that we are making progress in our fight against this deadly virus. That's due to the actions of all Ontarians, those who are staying home and practising physical distancing, and to the heroic efforts of our frontline health care workers," said Premier Doug Ford. "But COVID-19 continues to be a clear and present danger, especially to our seniors and most vulnerable citizens. That is why we must continue to follow the advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and stay the course in order to keep people safe and healthy."
Key highlights from the modelling update include:
- The wave of new community spread cases of COVID-19 in Ontario appears to have peaked.
- Outbreaks in long-term care and congregate settings continue to be a major concern. Concerted actions are underway to protect vulnerable people in these settings.
- Ontario is now trending toward a best case scenario rather than a worst case scenario and has significantly improved its standing as compared to March modelling.
- The province has avoided a significant surge in cases. Total cumulative cases are forecast to be substantially lower than worst case or even moderate case scenarios projected by previous models.
- While several hundred new cases are identified daily in Ontario, hospitals across the province have not been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 outbreak as a result of capacity planning and the public health measures currently in place. The rate of growth day-over-day is declining.
- To further reduce the number of cases and deaths, it remains critical that Ontarians continue to adhere to public health measures, including staying home and practicing physical distancing if they must go out for essential reasons only.
"The information released today shows early but unmistakable signs that our efforts are working," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "These numbers are not an accident. They are the result of months of planning and collective action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. However, in order for these projections to become reality, each of us must continue to stay home as much possible and practise physical distancing."
To enhance protections for residents and staff in long-term care homes, last week Ontario launched the COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes. This action plan will ensure the implementation of critical new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes. These measures include enhancing and expanding testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases; providing public health and infection control expertise; and redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce.
"The new province-wide modelling data are encouraging, but we know that long-term care homes and other congregate settings will track on a different path," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "We will continue to take aggressive action to support our most vulnerable residents and their caregivers."
- All Ontarians need to stay home unless absolutely necessary for essential trips, such as accessing health care services, groceries, picking up prescriptions or supporting vulnerable community members with meeting essential needs. If you must leave your home, go alone and stay at least two metres apart from others.
- Ontario has made improvements to its COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool by expanding its symptom list, addressing the most high risk individuals, and making it more accessible and responsive.
- 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; stay home if you are sick.
TORONTO — 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 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.
"The women and men who work on farms, in processing plants and throughout the food production chain, are doing an essential service for us during this critical time and we are thankful for their dedication and hard work," said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "There is a strong need for workers on Canadian farms and in food processing businesses right now and our Government is taking concrete actions to find solutions, including through this new initiative, to ensure that Canadians continue to have high-quality food on their grocery store shelves and kitchen tables."
"This is a very labour-intensive sector so it is critical to attract more people to ensure our food supply chain continues to provide healthy and nutritious food to Ontario families during this COVID-19 outbreak," said the Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Our government is doing everything possible to ensure we support our farmers and food processors to fill job vacancies, including the development of a new web portal connecting workers with employers."
Through the Partnership's Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will immediately accept applications and will expedite the approval process to help address sector labour concerns quickly.
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.
- Funding will be cost-shared by the Province.
- The intake is provided under the Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative – Addressing Labour Supply and Training Challenges project category.
- The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
- This targeted intake will begin accepting applications on April 17, 2020. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
- For more information about this targeted application intake or to obtain a program guidebook, email: email@example.com or call: 1-877-424-1300.
- This programming follows Ontario’s recent establishment of an online portal to help link agri-food sector employers with people interested in being a part of government’s response to COVID-19.
- OMAFRA delivers cost-share funding under the Place to Grow program.
- The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 837,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.5 billion each year to the province’s economy.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership in Ontario
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 or to take a self assessment.