New as of March 26
Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 – Additional Health Care Resources and Support for People, Jobs and Employers
Here are the highlights of Ontario’s spending plan tabled Wednesday at Queen’s Park to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Up to $10 billion in tax deferrals, including $6 billion in deferred taxes for 100,000 businesses, $1.9 billion in WSIB premium deferrals and $1.8 billion in deferred municipal education property tax payments.
- Suspending Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) repayments for six months.
- One-time payments to families of $200 for every child under the age of 12. Parents of special-needs kids will receive $250 per child as part of that $336 million program.
- $1 billion contingency fund for COVID-19 outbreak response as needed.
- $935 million for hospitals to increase capacity to handle patients with more acute- and critical-care beds.
- $243 million to expand emergency capacity and virus containment measures in nursing homes.
- $160 million to boost COVID-19 testing and surveillance and provide home-testing kits when they become available.
- $182 million for increased home and community care, hiring of more doctors nurses and personal support workers.
- Doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) for low-income seniors for six months.
- Increasing electricity cost-relief programs in the coming fiscal year by $1.5 billion to a total of $5.6 billion.
- A new $200 million “social services relief fund” with $148 million to go to charities, NGOs and community and religious organizations that help the vulnerable, with $52 million earmarked for extra monies for those already on social assistance to pay for transportation, medications or food.
- $70 million in infection control measures and protective equipment for residential care facilities for youth, as well as for those with developmental disabilities, and retirement home residents.
To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government has ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. A full list of businesses are listed here: List of Essential Workplaces
Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products while still complying with public health guidelines.
Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m.
Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency for the City of Ottawa due to the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa. This aligns with Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s announcement on Monday, March 23 that he is expanding Ontario’s state of emergency to shut down all non-essential services.
Declaring a state of emergency will help the City deploy its emergency operations and staff in a more nimble fashion. It will also enable a more flexible procurement process, which will help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders as it becomes available in the coming weeks.
Ottawa Public Health now has laboratory confirmation of the community spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa. We are also starting to see cases among health care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health recommends all residents practise physical (social) distancing or self-isolate, if applicable, to help stop the spread of the virus. Information about laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus(link is external).
Following the declaration, the City formally requested the Province of Ontario to give the City flexibility to manage movement of staff, to redeploy resources, to support essential services and to be adaptable as this situation continues to evolve rapidly.
The most current information will be shared with residents on ottawa.ca and the City’s social media channels. Ottawa Public Health will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 in Ottawa on OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus(link is external).
What you can do
If you have respiratory symptoms, such as a fever or cough:
- You must self-isolate for 14 days, or 24 hours after your symptoms have fully resolved, whichever is longer.
- You must not leave your home.
- If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department.
If you are returning from travel:
- You must self-isolate for 14 days. Do not go to community settings, including the grocery store. If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour get them for you and leave the items at your door.
- If you have respiratory symptoms, follow the guidance in the section above.
- If you do not have symptoms, practice physical (social) distancing as outlined below.
All Ottawa residents, except those listed above, should:
- Practice physical (social) distancing.
- Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick or have travelled within the past 14 days.
- Avoid all non-essential trips in the community.
- Cancel all group gatherings.
- Connect via phone, video chat or social media instead of in person.
- Talk to your employer about working from home, if possible.
- Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
- Avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres from other people when you go outside, like to take a walk.
For more information about City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through Facebook(link is external), Twitter(link is external) and Instagram(link is external).
The City of Ottawa has extended the payment period for the Interim Property Tax Bill to April 15. In recognition of the evolving uncertainty for residents and small businesses related to COVID-19, today, City Council approved a motion of a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for City of Ottawa residential property owners and small business property owners.
It is important to note that any resident who is currently enrolled in a pre-authorized monthly property tax payment plan with the City of Ottawa is not eligible for the deferral program. However, you do have the option to get off the monthly payment plan and apply for the deferral program if needed. Please contact the City of Ottawa’s Revenue Branch if this is something that you are interested in at (613) 580-2444.
In addition to the measures outlined in the Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program, the Finance Services Department is implementing additional measures, to assist residents and business owners as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. These measures include:
- Expansion of the Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program to include businesses with an assessed property value of up to $7.5M that have been financially affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Revenue Services is extending an interest free 30-day grace period for all unpaid Corporate Accounts Receivable invoices issued before April 1, 2020 and a 30-day due date extension for all Corporate Accounts Receivable Invoices issued between April 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020.
- Revenue Services is extending an interest free 30-day payment grace period for all unpaid water bills issued before April 1, 2020 and a 30-day due date extension, for all water bills issued between April 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020, providing residents with 47 days to pay their bill.
You should always protect yourself from financial fraud, especially during a period of uncertainty. Unfortunately, fraudsters will prey on consumers’ fears and misinformation over the COVID-19 pandemic. You may get phone calls, emails and texts regarding the COVID-19. Be very cautious when receiving them.
Here are a few things to consider in order to protect yourself from financial fraud:
- never click on links or attachments in unsolicited or suspicious emails
- never give out your personal or financial information by email or text
- note that financial institutions will never ask you to provide personal, login or account information by text or email
- when banking online, enter your financial institution’s website address in your browser yourself
- beware of questionable offers related to cures, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is
- if you have concerns about your insurance coverage, contact your insurance company directly
- if you need information on the COVID-19, refer to a trusted source such as the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 page
Remember that if you didn’t initiate contact with a person or a business, you don’t know who you are dealing with.
The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre has more information on scams and tips related to COVID-19 to help protect yourself from fraud.
Ontario has created a new self-assessment tool
If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care. Visit here.
If you require help in Ottawa South, please visit our website for Community links and contacts.
Ottawa Public Health
For the latest updates, please click here.
Government of Ontario
Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET, the Province of Ontario’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information including the status of cases in Ontario.
Government of Canada
For the latest COVID-19 updates, please click here.
For the latest on Employment and Social Development changes for employees and employers, click here.