Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
Key initiatives to support people, families, workers and employers
- Funding to help municipalities and social service providers such as shelter, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits to continue to deliver critical services. For information on how the Region is distributing this funding and application process, refer to COVID-19 Community Funding.
- Funding opportunities are also available from the Ontario Government. Organizations must register online at Ontario.ca/GetFunding.
- Expanding access to temporary emergency assistance for those in financial crisis who have no access to other supports, including those who are waiting for support from the Federal government.
- This funding will help to cover needs such as food and shelter.
Find out if you're eligible and how to apply, visit emergency assistance.
Support for current social assistance clients
Extended discretionary emergency benefits are available to Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients. If you require assistance with costs of additional expenses, please contact your OW caseworker or ODSP caseworker.
Support for Families program
Parents and caregivers can apply for funding if they have children who are no in school or child care due to COVID-19.
This program offers a 1-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for children with special needs. This includes children enrolled in private schools.
Find out if you're eligible and how to apply, visit get support for families.
Student Nutrition Program
Offers school-age children and youth nutritious food through breakfast, lunch and snack programs. The program continues to be available to meet the needs of families during school closures and throughout the summer. Contact Peel’s local agency for more information.
- The Ontario government has launched a web portal to connect workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agriculture, agri-food and food industry sectors.
- Ontario is also recruiting health-care workers to help provincial efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
- The Ontario government will launch a Virtual Action Centre, as an online counseling and training portal to support laid-off and unemployed hospitality workers and apprentices.
- Apprentices will be supported with grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, including forgiving previous loans to purchase tools. More information about the grant application process will be posted as it becomes available.
- Providing additional funding through Employment Ontario for Skills training programs available for workers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Providing job-protected leave to eligible employees impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak through the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020.
- In partnership with the Canadian government, temporary pandemic pay is being made available to eligible frontline and support workers. Find out if you're eligible for temporary pandemic pay.
- Online training portal launched to promote safe workplaces. Free online health and safety training can be accessed by contacting an Employment Ontario service provider.
Additional support for low-income seniors through a doubling of the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment up to $166 per month for individuals and up to $332 per month for couples for 6 months as of April 2020.
The Ontario government is also 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, people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario. The program helps deliver groceries, meals, medicines and other necessities through Meals on Wheels organizations.
Offering 6 months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for student borrowers, in partnership with the Canadian government.
Several post-secondary institutions have announced emergency financial aid for students. Check your post-secondary institution's website for details.
Protections are in place for those living in high risk settings, including homes for people with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, and children's residential settings.
If you use the Ontario Drug Benefit Program you will no longer be required to pay any co-payments until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of more than 30 days. In addition, Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment of their deductible.
The government is providing free virtual mental health services to those needing mental health and addictions support, including frontline health care workers. A variety of mental health and wellness options, including online therapy, are available.
Renters and landlords
Temporary changes have been made to residential rental processes, and where landlords and tenants can get help.
Property tax deferrals
Energy savings for individuals and businesses
- Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumer through electricity cost relief programs.
- Setting electricity rates at 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from June 1 until October 31, 2020.
- Extending the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020 to ensure no one is disconnected from natural gas or electricity service.
Car insurance and licensing extensions
Insurance companies can now provide car insurance premium rebates for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended. For more information visit the Financial Services Regulator Authority of Ontario.
Granting extensions on expiry dates for driver's licenses, vehicle and carrier products and services.
By following the proper health and safety guidelines these additional businesses will be able to open on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m. as early as Saturday, May 16 at 12:01 a.m. Refer to the health and safety guidelines.
The new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee wants to hear directly from people and organizations from all regions and sectors to help inform the next phases of Ontario's Action Plan.
The Ontario government:
- Provides 5 months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
- Makes available Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) deferrals for employers for up to 6 months.
- Increases the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020.
- Includes energy savings – see Energy savings for individuals and businesses.
- Amended regulation to restrict delivery trucks from operating during off-peak hours to ensure smooth and timely supply-chain operations.
- Offers a new free 511 app, providing truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province.
- Granting extensions on expiry dates for driver's licenses, vehicle and carrier products and services.
Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OECRA)
Passing the Protecting Small Business Act, which places a temporary ban on commercial evictions among businesses eligible for the OCECRA. The legislation reverses evictions that occurred on or after May 1, 2020 and lasts until August 31.
Partnering with the Canadian government on its Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, to provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls. To qualify, owners are required to reduce the rent of small business tenants for April to July 2020 by at least 75% and agree to not issue any evictions for 3 months.
COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses (CEAP-SB)
$8 billion funding to support businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of COVID-19. More details will be provided as they become available.
Ontario Together Fund
$50 million funding to offer emergency products, services and innovative solutions to support the response to COVID-19. CSA Group Testing & Certification Inc. is now available to increase testing capacity and certify personal protective equipment. Businesses and organization can help the government by sharing:
- Supplies of medical products.
- Solutions for remote learning while schools are closed.
- Ideas, products and services that can help Ontarians.
$20 million to advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.
Learn more about how you can help by visiting Ontario Together: help fight coronavirus.
Digital Main Street
This $57 million investment in Digital Main Street will help businesses reopen, recover and grow long after COVID-19.
Allowing Temporary Rule Changes
The Ontario government is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic.
Health Workforce Matching Portal
The Ontario government is looking for those with experience in providing health care who are available to help efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
If you're an individual or health care institution and think you can help visit the Health Workforce Matching Portal.
Ontario Tools Grant
Helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools made through the Loans for Tools program. More information about the grant application process will be posted as it becomes available.
Investing up to $1 million in new funding, in partnership with the Government of Canada, to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector, through the Place to Grow: Agri-Food Initiative.