TORONTO — The Ontario government has partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. iPad is 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.
"This important partnership will enable students to learn while making technology accessible for those that truly need it," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "Our government is committed to ensuring equitable access to education, so that every child - irrespective of ability, geography or socio-economic circumstance - can continue their learning while schools are closed."
This week Ontario school boards began distributing iPad to students who don't have either the technology or the internet they need to access the Learn at Home program. To date, over 21,000 will be sent to the homes of families in need. The free Rogers wireless data will be available until the end of June.
Also, Apple is providing videos, apps and books to help teachers build engaging lessons for students at home, along with fun and creative activities that kids and families can do with the built-in features of iPad. Apple is also offering teachers free one-to-one virtual coaching by Apple Professional Learning Specialists.
In addition to providing free wireless data, Rogers is also working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed, low-cost internet to subsidized tenants and members of housing partners across Ontario through its Connected for Success program, as well as the Government of Canada Connecting Families initiative. The Province has accelerated the delivery of broadband internet access, currently on track to be in every high school in Ontario by September 2020 and elementary school by September 2021.
"With this collaboration and commitment to on-going support for remote learning, our school boards, Apple and Rogers clearly demonstrate the Ontario spirit and the incredible ability to overcome any obstacle for our kids," said Minister Lecce.
"For some of the most vulnerable members of our society, accessing online learning tools at home is an added burden at a time when there is already a lot of stress," said Dean Prevost, President, Rogers for Business. "Rogers is pleased to be working alongside the Ontario Government, Apple and school boards across the province to help close the digital divide for some of our most vulnerable young people and their families."
- Ontario’s Ministry of Education has collaborated with educators, school boards, Apple and Rogers to support the Learn at Home program with an iPad and integrated wireless remote learning solution to help meet the educational needs of our province’s families.
- Working with Apple and Rogers, Ontario school boards now have access to affordable solutions with iPad, which is the most secure device for education that’s also easy to use, and to manage and deploy — so that no student is left behind while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
- iPad will be purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with Rogers LTE wireless data. Rogers is providing this plan at no cost for the balance of the school year (until June 30, 2020). Students and families do not need to contact Rogers to set the devices up.
- School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad.
- In addition, Rogers is allowing eligible households to sign up for high-speed Internet with no overage fees for $9.99 monthly.
TORONTO ― The Ontario government is expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive emergency child care. This will help additional frontline staff during the COVID-19 outbreak. An emergency order was issued which will offer support to those providing a variety of critical services including people who assist vulnerable communities, emergency response and law enforcement sector staff, more health and safety workers, and certain federal employees.
The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
"Our frontline workers have made so many sacrifices and put the needs of the community ahead of themselves," said Premier Ford. "These heroes work day-in and day-out to ensure everyone else can stay home and stay safe and healthy. The least we can do is ensure the safety of their children during these unprecedented times."
On March 20, 2020, the government issued an emergency order directing certain child care centres to reopen with fewer children to allow for physical distancing. This decision was made to support health care and other frontline workers responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. The list of essential workers eligible to access emergency childcare has now been expanded.
"Our frontline workers are making a real difference in our lives and deserve our support," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "We are providing emergency child care to more frontline workers because in these unprecedented times, we will do whatever it takes to keep families safe, cared for, and healthy."
"Dedicated people are on the frontlines, serving our most vulnerable in developmental services agencies, in residential care homes," said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "We need to support them by making sure their families are taken care of when they go to work."
The additional frontline workers who can now access emergency childcare services include:
- Staff working in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, anti-human trafficking services and child welfare services (children's aid societies) and in children's residential settings;
- Additional staff identified by the Ministry of the Solicitor General, including:
- First Nations constables;
- Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management fire investigators;
- Select critical staff in community corrections, such as probation and parole officers;
- Contractors in institutional corrections services;
- Frontline staff at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit;
- Critical staff at the Centre of Forensic Sciences; and
- Critical staff operating the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
- Staff working in shelters (e.g., serving homeless populations);
- Power workers;
- Pharmaceutical and medical supplies and device manufacturing workers;
- Non-municipal water and waste-water employees; and
- Federally employed staff including Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and Canada Post employees.
"By ensuring staff who support some of our most vulnerable, including survivors of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking, and children and youth in care, have access to emergency child care, we can continue to provide these important services throughout the COVID-19 outbreak," said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues.
The Ontario Ministry of Education is working with Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSM) and District Social Services Administration Boards (DSSAB) in their role as service system managers for early years and child care, as well as First Nations, to implement emergency child care centres in communities across the province.
Ontario will continue to monitor local needs to ensure frontline staff can continue to work and will communicate more details as the situation evolves.
A list of emergency child care centres is available on Ontario.ca/coronavirus.
- The need for child care spaces could grow by an estimated 11,300 during the eligibility expansion.
- Since emergency child care was introduced last month, there are 74 child care centres up and running and home child care is being provided by 33 Licensed Home Child Care Agencies in communities across the province. 41 additional centres have also been approved and will be coming online in the coming days.
- On April 14, 2020, the government issued an emergency order to give violence against women and anti-human trafficking agencies who deliver emergency residential services greater flexibility to address staffing challenges arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Child care for health care and frontline staff
- Province Takes Steps to Ensure Frontline Staff Can Continue to Work
- Support for Families
- Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
TORONTO — The Ontario government is enabling auto insurance companies to provide temporary insurance premium rebates to drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province has amended a regulation under the Insurance Act to help ease the financial pressure on working people and families during this public health crisis.
By amending this regulation insurance companies would be able to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended.
"We are in an unprecedented time and people are experiencing extraordinary financial pressures," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "My message to insurance companies has been clear: they should provide relief that reflects the financial hardships their dedicated customers are facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak."
"All of us will remember how companies treat us during these unprecedented times. I often remind business leaders that their customers from the past five years are likely to be their customers for the next five years," said Phillips. "Insurance companies indicated that the regulation preventing rebates was a barrier to providing relief to their customers. That barrier has now been removed so auto insurance companies can step up and do the right thing for the people and families of Ontario."
The Government and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) will continue to work together to monitor how the auto insurance sector is responding.
- Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to remove existing restrictions on rebating so auto insurers can provide additional consumer relief.
- The rebating prohibition is designed to protect consumers from being misled in purchasing decisions based on a rebate and to provide consumer protection from insurers who may discriminate between consumers.
- Auto insurance policy terms generally last for 12 months. The 12-month time period of this regulation would allow insurers to provide rebates to all policyholders, regardless of their annual policy renewal date.
- The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is an independent regulatory agency designed to improve consumer and pension plan beneficiary protections in Ontario. FSRA is responsible for monitoring compliance with and enforcing the Insurance Act and its regulations.
TORONTO — Acting on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health care professionals, the Ontario government has significantly expanded hospital capacity in preparation for any COVID-19 outbreak scenario. The province has added 1,035 acute care beds and 1,492 critical care beds and taken steps to ensure hospitals have the staff available to care for a sudden surge in patients.
"Thanks to the hard work and relentless preparation of our hospital staff to build capacity in our hospitals, we are in a position to better allocate resources to sectors that are in critical need and respond to any potential surge in cases," said Premier Doug Ford. "When you combine these life-saving beds with the very best care delivered by our highly skilled hospital staff, our patients will definitely have a fighting chance against this deadly virus."
Hospitals across the province have taken steps to make more beds available for COVID-19 patients in every region of the province. As a result, Ontario has a total of 20,354 acute care beds with a potential for an additional 4,205 more acute care beds by April 30, 2020. Of Ontario's 3,504 critical care beds, 2,811 are now equipped with ventilators, up from 1,319 when the outbreak first started.
"As we've said from the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Ontario will be prepared to respond to any outbreak scenario, including having plans in place for the worst-case scenario," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Heath. "Thanks to the innovative work by our health care leaders, we have been able to significantly expand acute and critical care capacity in Ontario's hospitals. While these are positive steps forward, it remains as important as ever that everyone continues to help stop the spread by staying home unless you are an essential service worker."
This bed capacity expansion has been organized in coordination with pandemic staffing plans to ensure each hospital has the physicians and staff needed, including in case of a major surge of cases. Measures include:
- Redeploying surgical nursing staff who can now work with medicine units;
- Sharing highly trained emergency department and intensive care unit nursing staffs across units;
- Sharing physician resources across hospitals in a given region;
- Recruiting family doctors to complete shifts within the hospital; and
- Recruiting retirees, including nursing and support services.
The province continues to focus on what resources will be needed to further enhance capacity quickly, if the need arises. Hospitals have identified additional opportunities to add new beds, including through the use of field hospitals, conference centres, school locations and more. Sites are ready to open based on the needs of the community.
- Ontario’s hospitals activated their pandemic plans to guide their decisions on how they created the enhanced capacity, including postponing some elective surgeries and reorganizing the discharging of alternate level of care patient to appropriate locations.
- Several other measures, including the launch of Ontario’s online self-assessment tool, opening assessment centres, increasing Telehealth capacity and the ability to consult with emergency department doctors virtually have also helped to reduce emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
- As of April 13, 2020, the average hospital occupancy rate was 69.1%% (64.1% for acute care only), a significant decrease from 96.2% (97.3% for acute beds) before COVID-19 measures. There are over 7,300 acute care beds unoccupied and over 2,000 critical care beds currently available across Ontario.
- Ontario recently placed an order with O-Two Medical Technologies to produce 10,000 ventilator units, along with the support of Ontario's world-class manufacturing sector.
- 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.
- If you are a health care professional, learn how to protect yourself and your patients by reading our guidance documents.
- For public inquiries, call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (toll-free in Ontario only).
TORONTO — In order to better protect the most vulnerable and stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, the Ontario government has developed a robust action plan with key measures to be implemented within hours. In addition, the province has issued a new emergency order restricting long-term care staff from working in more than one long-term care home, retirement home or health care setting. These measures are being taken on the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes was announced today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care.
"We will do everything we can to protect our seniors and most vulnerable citizens because we all know they are most at risk during this pandemic," said Premier Ford. "Our three-point action plan builds on the measures we have already taken to fortify that iron ring of protection we have placed around our long-term care residents and those who care for them."
The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes adds critical new measures to prevent further outbreaks and deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care homes, including:
- Aggressive Testing, Screening, and Surveillance: enhancing testing for symptomatic residents and staff and those who have been in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19; expanding screening to include more asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases; and leveraging surveillance tools to enable care providers to move proactively against the disease.
- Managing Outbreaks and Spread of the Disease: supporting long-term care homes with public health and infection control expertise to contain and prevent outbreaks; providing additional training and support for current staff working in outbreak conditions.
- Growing our Heroic Long-Term Care Workforce: redeploying staff from hospitals and home and community care to support the long-term care home workforce and respond to outbreaks, alongside intensive on-going recruitment initiatives.
Additional measures under development will help to ensure preparedness and respond to the situation as it evolves, including improving isolation capacity at long-term care homes.
Within less than 48 hours, the government will immediately act to deliver:
- enhanced testing and surveillance for symptomatic residents and staff and those in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19;
- testing of asymptomatic residents and staff in select homes across the province to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading;
- risk and capacity assessments for all homes;
- working with Ontario Health, the Ontario Hospital Association, and public health units to assemble infection control and preventions teams and additional supports;
- enhanced guidance on personal protective equipment and continued priority distribution to homes;
- enhanced training and education to support staff working in outbreak situations; and
- redeploying hospital and home care resources into homes.
"We must continue to act to stop the spread of this virus in our long-term care homes," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of our loved ones in long-term care, or the front-line heroes who care for them."
"This new action plan significantly enhances existing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable, including long-term care home residents and the staff who care for them," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Having significantly expanded the scope and scale of testing and made considerable progress in securing personal protective equipment, Ontario has never been better positioned to deliver on our commitment to support long-term care homes in our shared battle against this virus."
The government has also issued an emergency order directing long-term care employers to ensure their employees, including registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, kitchen and cleaning staff only work in one long-term care home. This means that employees cannot work in multiple locations such as a retirement home or other health care setting.
As a result of this order, long-term care workers who must temporarily give up a job in another care setting are protected from losing their job as they are entitled to an unpaid leave of absence. To help long-term care workers make up these lost wages, the government encourages long-term care employers to offer full-time hours to their part-time employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
To help employers cover this expense, the government is taking action to ensure long-term care homes have the flexibility and funds to rapidly hire nurses and other front-line staff they need, when they need them. These emergency funds are available to help long-term care homes cover the incremental costs of increasing hours for part-time staff to help those staff limit their work locations.
All long-term care staff continue to be subject to rigorous screening procedures and must follow personal protective equipment guidelines, including wearing surgical masks, gowns, gloves and eye protection while in homes.
- The COVID-19 Action Plan: Long-Term Care Homes will continue to evolve in response to COVID-19. The government is actively seeking and acting on proposals to fight this virus through the Ontario Together portal.
- The temporary emergency order will come into effect on April 22, 2020 in order to give long-term care homes enough time to be compliant with the order. It builds on previous emergency orders issued March 24 and March 28, 2020.
- An investment of $243 million in COVID-19 emergency funding is available to homes to cover the costs associated with securing the staffing, supplies, and capacity they need at this unprecedented time.
- To help understaffed long-term care homes find qualified staff, the government launched an online tool to help match skilled front-line workers with employers: the Health Workforce Matching Portal.
- 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 ― 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."
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.
- 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.
- Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
- Ontario Protecting Supply Chains to Support COVID-19 Emergency Response
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:
- Closure of public places and establishments with exemption for emergency child care for health care and frontline essential service workers
- Prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people
- Work deployment for health service providers
- Drinking water and sewage
- Electronic service of documents
- Work deployment for long-term care homes
- Electricity pricing
- Closure of non-essential workplaces
- Traffic management
- Streamlining requirements for long-term care homes
- Prohibiting unfair pricing for necessary goods
- 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
- Closure of outdoor recreational amenities
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Updated COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance
- Quick Reference on Public Health Guidance on Testing and Clearance
- Updated Directive for Long-Term Care Homes
- Ontario's enhanced testing strategy
- Ontario's Self-Assessment Tool
- Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19