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Think you have COVID-19 symptoms?

Do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a health care professional.

Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency. Use this self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.

The health and well-being of all Ontarians is my priority as your local Member of Provincial Parliament. This is why I have compiled a list of government supports available to Ontarians’ as a result of COVID-19. We are working closely with all levels of Government to support Ontarians in financial need and those experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. While details of some of these programs are still being finalized, I hope this list will be helpful to you:

A Framework for Reopening Our Province:

The Government of Ontario has released A Framework for Reopening Our Province. This framework outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.

GENERAL SUPPORTS

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):

  • CERB is a benefit of up to $2,000 per month for up to 24 weeks (This is an increase from the previous limit of 16 weeks.)

    You’re eligible if you are:

  • Self-employed;
  • Sick, or directed to quarantine/self-isolate, but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits;
  • Taking care of a family member with COVID-19
  • EI-eligible or non EI-eligible working parent who must stay at home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.
  • People making $1000 or less per month
  • Seasonal workers
  • Those who have run out of EI since January 1st, 2020  

Online portal is now open. Sign up for MY ACCOUNT through the CRA website – enter required information for direct deposit. This will speed up your application process.

Application dates are split up by birth-months as outlined below:

  • January – March: APPLY ON MONDAYS
  • April – June: APPLY ON TUESDAYS
  • July-September: APPLY ON WEDNESDAY
  • October-December: APPLY ON THURSDAY
  • ANYONE CAN APPLY ON FRIDAYS, SATURDAY AND SUNDAYS

You can apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), not both.

The Benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.

EXTRA TIME
TO FILE TAXES:

2019 Income Tax filing date has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Owe money? Balances deferred until August 31st without any accrual of interest or penalties.

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you to not delay your 2019 return filing to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

NEXT STEPS: This change does not require Ontarians to take any action aside from deferring your tax filings and payments.

MORTGAGE
DEFERRAL:

Banks have agreed to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to help manage hardships caused by COVID-19.

NEXT STEPS: Click on the button below to learn more. You will need to discuss your situation directly with your mortage provider. Your mortgage payments will not be deferred automatically.

Reduced Electricity Prices:

Ontario is introducing a fixed, flat “COVID-19 Recovery Rate” for residential, farm and small business electricity consumers. This new rate of 12.8 cents per kWh will apply from June 1 to October 31, 2020.

The government has also extended the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020, ensuring no one will be disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.

AUTO INSURANCE
RELIEF

By amending a regulation under the Insurance Act, the Government of Ontario has enabled insurance companies to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended.

The expectation of the Government is that auto insurance companies will provide relief that reflects the significant financial hardships their customers are facing due to COVID-19.

EMERGENCY
CHILD CARE

The Government of Ontario is providing free emergency childcare to eligible essential workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will benefit many people, including those who work in healthcare, retirement homes, pharmacies, and the food supply chain. Truck drivers and certain federal employees are also eligible, among others.

Each child care centre has strict guidelines, and the local Medical Officer of Health must be consulted and supportive of each centre. All sites are also required to have a plan/protocol in place in the event that a child, parent or staff member at the site is exposed to COVID-19.

Mental Health Supports:

The Government of Canada will work with the provinces to invest $240 million to develop and expand virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians. This is in addition to the Government of Ontario’s commitment to provide emergency funding of up to $12 million to expand online and virtual mental health supports for Ontarians.

Available Virtual Mental Health Supports include:

  • Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT)
  • Bounceback telephone coaching
  • Kids Help Phone for children and youth.

Find more information about the different virtual mental health and wellness options that meet your unique needs, including online therapy. 

Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable:

People using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will no longer be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.

211 ONTARIO:

211 Ontario is a free service which can help you understand the available supports and connect you to essential services in your community. Whether you are looking for food banks, food delivery services, mental health supports, or other non-emergency programs, 211 Ontario can help you find the support you need.

You can access help by dialing 211 or 1-877-330-3212 (toll free), with phones answered 24/7 in 150 languages. TTY service is available by dialing 1-888-340-1001. You can also access help by emailing gethelp@211ontario.ca or by visiting their website at www.211ontario.ca

Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for Workers:

The Government of Ontario has updated a regulation so that non-unionized employees will automatically be deemed on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave if their employer temporarily reduces or eliminates their hours of work because of COVID-19. This leave is retroactive to March 1, 2020, and expires six weeks after the declared emergency ends.

Without these changes, the cost of termination and severances could force some businesses to close, and fewer workers would have jobs to return to. Anyone who is still laid off 13 weeks after this regulation ends will be entitled to termination and severance payments.

SUPPORT FOR SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHICS

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS:

The Government of Canada is providing financial support to seniors through one-time tax-free payments. 

Eligibility:

Seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will receive $300.

Individuals eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive an additional $200.

Seniors eligible to receive both the OAS and GIS will receive a total of $500.  

Allowance recipients will also receive $500. These payments will arrive the week of July 6.

  • Working with local businesses, charities and health services to coordinate subsidized meals, medicine and essential item deliveries to seniors. The Government of Ontario is investing $5 million dollars and the Government of Canada is investing $9 million that will help bring peace of mind and reduce the need for seniors to leave their homes.
  • Invested over $85 million to provide more physicians & nurses to rural and northern Ontario and enable physicians to conduct video, email and phone visits.
  • Doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for 6 months to support over 194,000 low income seniors in Ontario. The maximum payments for individuals increases to $166/ month and $332/ month for couples.
  • Investing $243 million to long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, adding staff to support infection control and purchase additional supplies.

  • Reducing minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and the impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

  • Spark Ontario: The Government of Ontario is partnering with SPARK Ontario to help seniors and the most vulnerable stay connected and healthy as they self-isolate during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Volunteer organizations can visit www.sparkontario.ca to post volunteer opportunities available in their communities. The needs of each community vary, but groups across the province are looking for volunteers to help deliver food or medicines, run errands or check-up on seniors and the most vulnerable by phone or email while they self-isolate.

    Ontarians interested in volunteering are encouraged to check the website for opportunities to make a difference where they live.

  • Seniors, people with disabilities, and others in need of assistance can also be connected to essential services in their community at any time by visiting www.211ontario.ca or by dialing 211 or 1-877-330-3212 (toll free). TTY service is also available by dialing 1-888-340-1001.

  • Ontario Community Support Program: The Ontario government is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need.

    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.

    To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in your local community and request service, visit the link below.

    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.

  • Caregiving Communities Portal

    The Ontario Caregiver Organization has launched a new portal to connect individuals who need assistance with the organizations who can provide it in their community. This can include help with pick-up and delivery of groceries, medications, and meals, as well as friendly phone calls and mental health support, among other services.

    Long Term Care Homes can also use this portal to locate community-based organizations who are collecting personal protective equipment, as well as technological devices to help keep residents connected. 

    Organizations who offer these services can register themselves on the portal so that they can be easily found by those that need their help.  

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES:

  • Providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Care Benefit. Approx. $550 more for the average family. This payment will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.
  • Assisting families with a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age and $250 for those with special needs.

    *If you have applied for support under the Government of Ontario’s Support for Parents website you will automatically receive payment, if not, please click on the link below. 

  • One-time special payment for low and modest income families through the Goods and Services Tax Credit. The average benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. These payments began rolling out on April 9th.
  • Learn at Home: Providing Ontario based content to keep your children focused on learning with interactive teacher-led STE(A)M supports, empowering all students to continue learning during COVID-19.

  • Working with rural and remote school boards to identify options for providing materials to students who may have limited access to internet.
  • In partnership with Apple and Rogers the Ontario Government is providing iPads with LTE data plans for students of low income families. This will allow all students access to the learn at home programs ensuring everyone can continue their education. 

    The iPads will be distributed by the Ontario School boards. School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad.

SUPPORT FOR LOW/MODEST INCOME & THE MOST VULNERABLE:

  • The Government of Ontario is providing $200 million in new funding to assist people in financial need, municipalities and other service providers like food banks, homeless shelters and emergency services.
  • Our local example: This Made-In-Ontario solution is the first of its kind in Ontario.
  • Reaching Home Initiative: $157.5 million to support a range of needs, including: beds, physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
  • One-time special payment in May through the Goods and Services Tax Credit. The average benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

  • NEXT STEPS: This change does not require Ontarians to take any action.
  • Women’s Shelters: The Government of Canada is providing women’s shelters and sexual assault centers with an additional $50 million to help increase capacity to deal with COVID-19.
  • Energy Bills: Increasing supports for low-income families with their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring there will be NO disconnects during COVID-19.
  • Ontario is investing an additional $9 million into the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program. The program will provide struggling families with a one-time payment to help pay overdue electricity bill debt incurred during COVID-19.

  • Financial Crisis Assistance: To support individuals, expanded access to temporary emergency assistance for those in financial crisis.
  • Ontario Community Support Program: The Ontario government is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need.

    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.

    To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in your local community and request service, visit the link below.

    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.

Emergency Community Support Fund: The Government of Canada has launched the Emergency Community Support Fund to invest $350 million to support charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to the most vulnerable Canadians.

  • The investment will flow through national organizations that can get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:
  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications

  • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments

  • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support

  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits

  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers

  • Replacing in-person contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet

SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS:

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB): Through this program, eligible post-secondary students will receive $1250 per month from May to August. Students with dependents or a disability will receive $2000 per month.

Eligibility:

  • students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019
  • high-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months
  • Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.
  • you must have earned less than $1000 in employment or self-employment income (before taxes) during the 4-week period you are applying for.

Applications opened Friday, May 15.

Financial Assistance from the Government of Canada (All Post Secondary Students)

Grants: Canada Student Grants will be doubled for all eligible full-time students, up to $6,000, and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.

Loans: The maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 through the Canada Student Loans Program will be increased from $210 to $350.

Eligibility for assistance: Broader eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.

Support for Graduate Students: Expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships will be extended. Existing federal research grants to support students and post-doctoral fellows will be supplemented by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

Canada Student Service Grant : The Government of Canada will compensate students who choose to volunteer for their country and community against COVID-19 up to $5000, depending on their hours. This will provide students with valuable skills and work experience as well as income to support their education. 
 
More details to follow on this program.

Student Loan Payment Deferral: Providing a 6 month moratorium on the repayment of student loans. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time.

  • To ensure students can successfully complete the academic year, Ontario has finalized an agreement with eCampusOntario to make digital learning supports available to postsecondary institutions.

     

  • Providing $25 million to Colleges, Universities and Indigenous Institutions to allow them to address priorities on their campus related to COVID-19.

iPads for Low Income Students: In partnership with Apple and Rogers the Ontario Government is providing iPads with LTE data plans for students of low income families. This will allow all students access to the learn at home programs ensuring everyone can continue their education.

The iPads will be distributed by the Ontario School boards. School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad.

Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program: The Government of Canada has announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program in order to help employers (with 50 or fewer full-time employees) hire youth (age 15-29) this summer, including

  • An increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.
  • An extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.
  • Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.
  • Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.
  • Allowing employers who missed the deadline of February 28, 2020, to apply now.

The earliest job start date is May 11, 2020.

All Canada Summer Jobs-funded positions will automatically be posted on Job Bank.

Support for Indigenous Students: an increase of $75 million in 2020-21 to existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation post-secondary students.

SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES:

  • The Indigenous Community Support Fund will allocate $305 million to address the immediate needs of First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.

  • Providing $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities for emergency assistance and expanded health care professionals, emergency planning and self-isolation needs.
  • UPDATE (May 21, 2020): The Government of Canada will provide an additional $75 million to Indigenous organizations who are addressing the critical needs of Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve. 

The Government of Canada will invest an additional $650 to provide critical support to Indigenous families and communities during the pandemic. This support includes:

  • $285 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.
  • $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses.
  • $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing.

SUPPORT FOR Frontline Workers:

In recognition of the dedication, long hours and increased risk those working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak are bearing, the Government of Ontario is providing eligible frontline staff with a temporary pandemic payment increase. This includes an increase of $4 per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, as well as lump sum payments of $250 upon working for at least 100 hours over a four-week period. 

This pay increase will be in effect for 16 weeks, from April 24 to August 13. Over 350,000 frontline workers will be eligible to receive the temporary payment, including many positions in the sectors of Health Care, Long-term Care, Retirement Homes, Social Services, and Corrections.

Support for Workers in the Skilled Trades:

The provincial government has announced a $7.5 million Ontario Tools Grant to assist new apprentices purchase the equipment they need to help start their careers. Applications for this new grant will be available in August 2020.

Ontario is also forgiving $10.6M in outstanding loans to about 19,000 people who borrowed money to buy tools, equipment and manuals at the beginning of their careers.

Support for Hospitality Workers:

Ontario is investing almost $2 million and partnering with UNITE HERE Local 75 to launch and run a Virtual Action Centre. The centre will offer counselling, training and job search supports for as many as 7,000 unemployed workers in the hospitality sector who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support for Individuals with Disabilities:

The Government of Canada will provide special one-time, tax-free payments to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020.

The payment amount is determined as follows:

  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate. 
  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

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