News

Ontario Eases Restrictions on Wedding and Funeral Ceremonies

TORONTO ― The Ontario government is providing more flexibility on the number of attendees permitted at indoor and outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies, in recognition of the importance of being with loved ones during the moments that matter most.

Based on positive public health trends the government is extending the number of people allowed to attend an indoor wedding or funeral ceremony to a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue.   

Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice, including practising physical distancing from people who are not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.

"With recent progress to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are able to ease restrictions on these special ceremonies," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "We have taken deliberate steps to increase testing and increase our ability to track and contain this virus. As we loosen these measures, I strongly urge everyone to remain careful and cautious as we are all still at risk."

The changes came into effect on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. The maximum number of people allowed to attend indoor or outdoor wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10 people. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves in Ontario, further direction will be provided on capacity restrictions for weddings and funerals going forward.

Additional Resources

June 13, 2020

Ontario Lifting 30-Day Supply Limit on Prescriptions

TORONTO — With the supply of many drugs and medications having stabilized in the province, the Ontario government is lifting the recommended 30-day supply limit for dispensing Ontario Drug Benefit program medications. Effective June 15, 2020, program recipients can return to filling up to 100-day supply at a time from their pharmacy or dispensing physician, when appropriate.


"The restriction on the supply of medications was critical to prevent drug shortages due to increased demand and stockpiling at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "With the supply of medications stabilizing, people can safely go back to getting their regular prescriptions filled. This will be much more convenient for people, especially for our seniors and vulnerable citizens."

Ontario Drug Benefit recipients' co-payments will return to their previous amounts. People are encouraged to buy the medications they need in reasonable quantities. This will help ensure that everyone can get their prescriptions filled as we continue to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. The province will continue to monitor the situation to ensure there are no disruptions to the drug supply chain in the future.

Quick Facts

  • In March 2020, to ensure there was an adequate supply of medications in the province during COVID-19, pharmacists and physicians were asked to dispense 30-days or less of medication at a time for Ontario Drug Benefit recipients, with some exceptions.
  • By taking this action, the government helped ensure Ontarians were able to access the medications they need during this unprecedented time.

Additional Resources

June 11, 2020

Ontario to Resume Family Visits in Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, and Other Residential Care Settings

TORONTO — In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings. 

Family and friends will be allowed access to these settings beginning June 18, 2020. Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time. Physical distancing will be required for all visits. This approach will ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors.

Details were provided today 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.

"Thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers and the collective efforts of everyone in stopping the spread, we can now allow families to reunite with their loved ones safely and in person with strict public health measures to protect residents, visitors and staff," said Premier Ford. "But I ask everyone to be cautious and act responsibly as the battle to contain COVID-19 is not over and the risk to our loved ones still remains."

Visits will resume next Thursday, one week after the release of visitor guidelines. They will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit, confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and complying with the infection prevention and control protocols. This includes bringing and wearing a face covering during visits.

Additionally, long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings, must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:

  • Homes must not be in outbreak;
  • Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
  • Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

For retirement homes, visitor admissions will vary from home to home depending upon their individual circumstances.

"We know the visitor restrictions have been tough on residents, as families and loved ones play an important role in providing care and emotional support to residents. We are confident these visits can occur safely," said Minister Fullerton. "With the possible spread of COVID-19 in our long-term care homes still being a real threat, people will need to follow strict health and safety protocols in order to protect our most vulnerable."

"Seniors living in retirement homes have been doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. "Our government appreciates their cooperation and we are happy they will soon be able to enjoy visits with family and friends while continuing to stay safe."

Other residential care settings will also be allowed visitors under similar rules. These residential care settings include homes serving people with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence, and children's residential settings.

"We are all looking forward to the day when we can once again see family and friends, and spend time together," said Minister Smith. "Today is an important first step in reconnecting loved ones who have been separated all spring."

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves in Ontario, the direction on visits at long-term care homes, retirement homes and residential settings will continually be updated keeping the safety and emotional wellbeing of residents and staff at the forefront.

Visits have been restricted since mid-March, with only essential visitors permitted to enter long-term care and retirement homes.

Quick Facts

  • In the event of an outbreak at an individual home or residential care setting, non-essential visits will again be restricted. If a second wave of COVID-19 occurs, the government will revert to restricting visitors at all homes and residential care settings to protect residents and staff.
  • These public health restrictions for long-term care homes, retirement homes, and residential settings are meant to provide meaningful and equitable access to visits for all residents, while considering the staffing and space capacity available to the home to maintain safety of residents, staff and visitors.
  • The government recently announced the launch of an independent, non-partisan commission into Ontario's long-term care system beginning in July 2020. Details of the commission are now being finalized, including the terms of reference, membership, leadership of the commission and reporting timelines.
  • Testing of long-term care and retirement home residents and staff for COVID-19 has been completed, or is in the process of being completed, with additional rounds of testing currently underway.

Additional Resources

June 11, 2020

LOCAL HOSPITALS RECEIVE ANNUALIZED FUNDING INCREASE

LINDSAY - On March 25, our government released Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, which includes an increase of $935 million in new investments for Ontario hospitals this year.

As part of that funding, $594 million will support hospitals as they meet current and future demands for regular services. This represents an overall increase in funding to the hospital sector of approximately three per cent.

"This investment provides a five per cent increase of over $3.7 million in funding for Ross Memorial Hospital and a two per cent increase of more than $199,000 for Haliburton Highlands Health Services Corporation,” said MPP Laurie Scott.

“I’m delighted to announce this increase in annualized funding for our local hospitals,” continued MPP Scott. “This investment helps to solidify the care our community deserves.”

"We are grateful for the Ontario government's funding increase, which will support us in providing the care our community needs, as well as enabling our continued response to the pandemic," said Kelly Isfan, President and CEO, Ross Memorial Hospital 

The hospital investment takes into consideration incremental growth to support flexibility, annualizing 2019/20 in-year investments, and ensuring all publicly funded hospitals receive an increase of no less than one per cent.

Our government recognizes the long-standing funding inequities for both small and medium-sized hospitals. To provide continued financial stability and relief, we have annualized the $68 million investment from 2019/20 for both small and medium sized hospitals as part of this funding.

Our goal has been clear. We are going to protect the health of Ontarians. Our government’s action plan will help us continue building a sustainable and connected health care system and equip hospitals to tackle COVID‑19.


                                                                           -30-
 
For media inquiries please contact: 
Christine Bujold at christine.bujold@ontario.ca

June 11, 2020

Ontario and Canada Helping Small Businesses Go Digital

TORONTO — The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

The new program was unveiled today by Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, joined by Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

"Ontario's small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and their recovery is critical to Ontario's recovery," said Minister Sarkaria. "As thousands of small businesses across the province closed their doors and halted business during the COVID-19 outbreak, many struggled to shift sales or services online. I am very pleased, that together with Minister Joly and our federal partners, we are providing small businesses with the tools they need to recover, and flourish, as Ontario reopens."

Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.  

"As local economies across Ontario reopen, we're focused on ensuring that our main streets don't just survive, but thrive," said Mélanie Joly, Canada's Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario."These businesses are the backbone of our economy, a source of local jobs - and local pride. Thanks to the expanded Digital Main Street platform, they'll be able to expand their offerings and take advantage of more and more people shopping online. Our message to Ontario's small businesses and those whose livelihoods rely on them is clear: we're working with you to support good jobs and help our economy come back stronger than ever."

"The global marketplace is rapidly changing, and in order to compete and succeed Ontario must adapt," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "By using innovative tools and technologies, Digital Main Street will help our businesses in expanding their reach to meet new markets and adjust to the new realities of doing business during the pandemic and into the next phase of economic recovery."

About 60 percent of Ontario's small enterprises have a website, and only seven percent have an online payment solution. Digitally, Canadian businesses are estimated to be two years behind their U.S. counterparts.

In response, the Ontario government is providing significant support to small business. Along with the Digital Main Street platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario small businesses. In addition, the province has proposed a ban on commercial evictions to help businesses that have been impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Government reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate by 8.7 percent starting January 1, 2020. This will deliver up to $1,500 in annual savings to more than 275,000 businesses.
  • Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy, launched prior to COVID-19, identified the need for small businesses across the province to build or enhance their online presence to remain competitive and expand their markets. The 2020 pandemic has further reinforced the need for Ontario small businesses to embrace digital tools, including having online storefronts and expanding them.
  • To further support small businesses with physical storefronts impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, Ontario is Proposing a Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions.
  • The planned expansion of these Digital Main Street programs, including ShopHERE powered by Google and the Future-Proofing Main Street program, are the next evolution in efforts to help businesses embrace digital tools that began with the City of Toronto. Through the leadership of Mayor John Tory and the City of Toronto, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) pioneered the creation of Digital Main Street and laid the foundation for it to be expanded and scaled-up to serve businesses across the province.
  • The expansion of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas’ (TABIA) Digital Main Street platform and program is delivered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) with the financial support of the provincial and federal governments.
  • shopHERE is a Digital Main Street program operated by TABIA. TABIA will also support the delivery of the Future-Proofing Main Street program, along with Communitech and Invest Ottawa.
  • The Recovery Activation Program is operated by the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

Background Information

Additional Resources

June 11, 2020

Ontario Unveils a Plan to Reopen Postsecondary Education

TORONTO — The Ontario government has developed a plan for the gradual and safe resumption of in-person instruction at postsecondary institutions across the province for the summer term. The plan was developed in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Starting in July 2020, limited in-person education and training may restart for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures. This first phase will allow institutions to reopen to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and other critical professions. Thousands of students across the province could benefit from this summer's reopening.

In September, all students will have the opportunity to attend postsecondary education through virtual learning, in-class instruction, or hybrid formats.

"Whether it's donating PPE, researching a vaccine or treatment, or helping with contact tracing, our students, researchers and postsecondary community in Ontario have stepped up in a big way to support our frontline health care workers in response to COVID-19," said Premier Doug Ford. "Now, we have to have their backs and make sure our students can keep learning, in class or virtually, and become the next generation of frontline heroes, innovators and community builders."

The limited summer reopening will help individual institutions prepare for the fall term by ensuring proper health and safety protocols are in place. The province is developing a framework to be released to the sector in the coming days, which will provide guidance on the summer reopening and on health and safety measures.

Publicly assisted colleges and universities, Indigenous Institutes, private career colleges and other postsecondary education institutions may participate in this voluntary reopening. Institutions that choose to participate will be responsible for establishing their own plans for this limited reopening in accordance with public health advice and any ministry guidance.

"It's critical that we allow students to complete their studies and graduate so they can join the workforce in high-demand, frontline roles and help put the province back on the path to prosperity," said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. "I will continue to collaborate with the postsecondary sector to determine how best to move forward on reopening our campuses in the fall and beyond in a way that is responsible and safe for our students and staff."

In order to maintain Ontario's position as a global leader in higher education and research, the government will also begin working on a digital and academic modernization framework this summer. Through this exercise, it will look at unlocking the potential of virtual learning, adapting postsecondary education and training to meet the needs of a rapidly changing job market and economy, increasing the accountability of postsecondary education, developing the necessary physical and digital infrastructure, and fully realizing the value of research, innovation, and intellectual property licensing in the domestic and global marketplace.

Quick Facts

  • In 2018-19, more than 800,000 students enrolled in Ontario’s colleges, universities, Indigenous Institutes and private career colleges located in every region of the province.
  • Led by the work of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, and in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts, the government is planning a measured and phased approach outlined in A Framework for Reopening our Province.

Background Information

Additional Resources

  • Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 or to take a self assessment.
  • Read more about the province’s Ontario Together initiative.

Quotes

“We're pleased the government continues to demonstrate such strong support for colleges and to ensuring students complete their programs, particularly in areas where there is a clear demand for more graduates. Throughout Ontario, faculty and staff have found creative and effective ways to continue delivering high-quality programs. We're excited to be collaborating with the government on further measures to modernize post-secondary education, including creating more opportunities for people who need to retrain for new careers during Ontario's economic recovery.”

Linda Franklin

President and CEO, Colleges Ontario

“The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remains a top priority for Ontario’s universities. Our institutions will continue to work diligently to provide the safest options for summer and fall enrolment that both align with public health regulations and ensure students continue to receive a high quality education and an enriching university experience that ensures they graduate with the adaptable skills required to help retool and reimagine industries, stimulate economic growth and rebuild Ontario.”

David Lindsay

President & CEO, Council of Ontario Universities

June 10, 2020

Beaches and Campsites to Open at Ontario Park

TORONTO — As part of the Ontario government's Stage 2 reopening plan, more facilities and services will be available at provincial parks in certain regions beginning on June 12, 2020. Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds, providing more washrooms and drinking water, along with roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields. It's important to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.

"Due to the tremendous progress we have made to contain the spread of COVID-19, more services and activities will soon be available at our provincial parks," said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "While this is encouraging, it is not business as usual. I encourage everyone to be responsible and continue to follow public health advice, including physical distancing, when enjoying our outdoor amenities."

The following is a list of recreational activities and facilities that will be opening soon at provincial parks in regions entering Stage 2:

  • On June 12, beaches at Ontario Parks will begin opening to the public as maintenance and water testing are completed.
  • On June 15, campers enrolled in this year's Ontario Parks' Seasonal Campsite Program will now have access to their campsites at the majority of participating provincial parks. Those who were preselected in 2019 for the program will be contacted by Ontario Parks directly regarding the status of their reservation.
  • Beginning the week of June 22, all other campgrounds in regions entering Stage 2 will gradually open at provincial parks, along with washrooms, water taps and trailer sanitation stations.
  • Roofed accommodations (e.g., yurts, cabins and lodges, where available), park store and rental operations, visitor centers, and sports fields will be phased in over the next several weeks.  

Facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season.  

Visitors should check OntarioParks.com to see what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.

To help protect visitors and staff, Ontario Parks will be implementing measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times, by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select provincial parks. This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations.

Ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations. Additionally, these areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies.

Quick Facts

  • Any reservations for campgrounds (and select backcountry campsites that currently remain closed) up to and into the week of June 22 will be automatically cancelled and you will receive a full refund with no penalty.
  • To ensure the safety of visitors and staff, Ontario Parks will continue to be guided by public health advice and will continually assess and adjust operational and safety protocols as required.
  • Ontario Parks manages 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves, covering over nine million hectares of land in the province.
  • Ontario Parks operates almost 19,000 campground campsites throughout the province.

Additional Resources

June 10, 2020

Ontario Helping Parents Return to Work

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government announced its plan to reopen child care centres across the province to support the next stage of the province's reopening framework. Developed in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and medical leaders at The Hospital for Sick Children, the plan will require child care operators to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children.

Details of the plan were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.

"As we prepare to reopen more businesses and services, it is critical that we ensure supports are in place so people can return to work knowing their children will be cared for in a safe and healthy environment," said Premier Ford. "Our child care plan sets out strict protocols that must be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have made great progress to contain the virus, but we must be mindful that there is still a public health risk."

As the province continues to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province, child care centres and home care providers across Ontario will be able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements in place, similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres. Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:

  • Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;
  • COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
  • Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting.  Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
  • Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
  • Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
  • No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
  • Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.

Effectively immediately, staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening. When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen.

"We know the integral role child care plays in the restart of Ontario's economy, especially when it comes to enabling parents to return to work," said Minister Lecce. "But parents must have confidence in the child care system at this very difficult time. By imposing specific public health requirements, we are signaling our firm commitment to keeping our children, staff, and our families safe."

The Ministry of Education has been working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to develop these health and safety protocols. They will enable the safe reopening of child care centres across the province and enhance safety through effective contact tracing. This plan imposes strict requirements on operators, including mandatory training and reporting and support from the local medical officer of health before reopening.

"Having children safely re-engage in learning, play and social activities with other children is of great benefit to their mental, emotional and behavioural development," says Dr. Ronald Cohn, President and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). "Children thrive when they are able to interact with other children. The reopening of child care centres is an important step forward for allowing children to be with their peers and enjoy activities outside of their home environment."

Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with strict health and safety protocols in place, the government is now enabling summer day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer. Strict health and safety guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities, and distributed to local public health teams earlier this month. At this time, overnight camps are not permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.

Quick Facts

  • As the province continues to move forward with its reopening plan, emergency child care will wind down effective June 26, 2020 as all licensed child care centres are permitted to open province-wide. Families served through emergency child care will be supported by service system managers to return to their previous arrangement or finding new space during the transition back to regular childcare.
  • As child care reopens across the province, if families are not offered access to their previous child care arrangement, operators will continue to be prevented from charging fees for these spaces.
  • Ontario is also helping parents pay for the extra costs associated with school and child care closures during the COVID-19 outbreak with the Support for Familiesprogram, by providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs up to 21 years of age, including children enrolled in private schools.
  • To date, over 1.5 million families have benefited from the Support for Families program.
  • The existing child care funding formula will be leveraged to support enhanced cleaning costs and the health and safety requirements set out to support the reopening of child care centres, as well as the continued stabilization of the sector.
  • As required by legislation, the Ministry will be seeking input from families and the sector on the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) over the summer, which will inform child care planning for the province.
  • There are over 5,500 child care centres and 124 licensed home child care agencies across Ontario.

Additional Resources

June 09, 2020

Ontario Proposing Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions

TORONTO — The Ontario government announced today that it intends to take action to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19. 

The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible.

In partnership with the federal government, Ontario is committing $241 million to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses which is providing more than $900 million in support. CECRA for small businesses provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords to help cover 50 per cent of commercial rent for tenants for the months of April, May and June 2020.

The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25 per cent of rent, so that up to 75 per cent of the rent is covered. Tenants and landlords can learn how much they may be eligible for by visiting Ontario.ca/rentassistance.

"We need everyone working together to overcome COVID-19," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "Commercial tenants who can pay their rent, must do so. Landlords should work with their tenants to come to an agreement and use this joint program. Ontario's small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we need them to flourish."

If passed, the proposed legislation would make it illegal to evict a commercial tenant until August 31, 2020.  

"Working with the federal government, we are providing more than $900 million in relief to tenants and landlords," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "We've been clear we would support small businesses and today's action does just that."

"Ensuring the immediate future of our small businesses is critical to helping our economy recover and rebound," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "A moratorium on commercial evictions will bring stability to our small businesses and the employees and families they support. Their success is Ontario's success."

Additional Resources

June 08, 2020

Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government announced that it is getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open by moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province.

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, the government is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.

Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.

Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. include:

  • Algoma Public Health
  • Brant County Health Unit
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  • Huron Perth Public Health
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  • Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Peterborough Public Health
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Public Health Sudbury & Districts
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Southwestern Public Health
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Details of the Stage 2 reopening were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

"We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus," said Premier Ford. "Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet."

Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on:

  • Child care;
  • Summer camps;
  • Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
  • Training centres; and
  • Public transit.

"The health and long-term economic well-being of the people of Ontario has guided every decision we have made in response to COVID-19," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. "The people and employers of Ontario have demonstrated responsible behaviour throughout the global pandemic. I'm confident that will continue in Stage 2 and beyond. Our collective health and the economic recovery of the province depend on it."

At the beginning of each week, the government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of these regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.

Everyone, regardless of where they live in the province, must continue to follow public health advice, including to practise physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.

"As a result of efforts of all Ontarians to stop the spread of COVID-19, many regions have met the criteria to move into the next stage of our reopening plan, including a decrease in new daily cases and sufficient hospital capacity in the event of any spikes in cases or outbreaks," said Minister Elliott. "Our regional approach recognizes that different regions in the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses. We will continue to monitor any shifts in the spread and take decisive action to contain any outbreaks."

The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released more than 100 health and safety guidance documents at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including retail, restaurant and food services and child care ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review these guidance documents and implement appropriate measures to help protect their workers and customers.

"Ontario employers have the information and the tools they need to keep workers safe," said Minister McNaughton. "That includes safety guidelines, posters and tip sheets to promote safe workplaces and help stop the spread of COVID-19. I strongly advise everyone to visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to read, download, print and post them, for your sake and the sake of those around you."

"Since the beginning of this pandemic, our government has worked together with Ontario's business community to mobilize our manufacturing and innovation might to develop made-in-Ontario solutions," said Minister Fedeli. "As we proceed into Phase 2 of the reopening process, we will continue to support both businesses and workers as we move forward on the path to economic recovery together."

Quick Facts

  • For questions about what is currently able to open during Stage 1, or what will be open or impacts to your business or employment when we enter Stage 2, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • The Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee wants to hear directly from people and organizations from all regions and sectors to help inform the next steps in Ontario’s Action Plan in response to COVID-19. You can provide your input here.
  • Visit Ontario.ca/reopen to learn how you can provide your feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on personal finances, business supports and government relief measures.
  • On April 1, 2020, the government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations.
  • The government has launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The directory can be accessed here.

Additional Resources

June 08, 2020