New as of March 27
COVID-19 Fraud Alert
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 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 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.
Ontarians received emergency alerts on their cellphones, radios and TVs at 2 p.m. Friday, warning recent travellers to stay at home.
“You are at high risk of spreading COVID-19. You are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days,” the alert reads.
“Do not visit stores, family or friends. Everyone should stay home to stop the spread.” Ontario is using every tool to ensure people are well informed about the steps they should take.
The federal government recently passed an order requiring people arriving in Canada by land, air or sea, to self-isolate for 14 days, with penalties of up to $1 million or three years in prison.
The Government of Canada will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order. Failure to comply with this Order is an offense under the Quarantine Act. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
All individuals permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, with the exception of certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services.
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.
The Prime Minister announced additional new measures to support small businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic. These measures will help Canadian businesses protect the jobs that Canadians depend on, and pay their workers and bills during these difficult times.
This is a part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which already commits $107 billion in support to Canadians so they can buy groceries, pay rent, and care for their loved ones, and also supports businesses through this difficult time.
To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada will:
- Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
- Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
- Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
- Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
These new investments will help Canada’s financial institutions provide the credit and liquidity options that a range of Canadian businesses need immediately.
The Government of Canada understands that some sectors have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to carefully monitor all developments, and take further action in the near term. We’re all in this together, and the Government of Canada will continue to work around the clock to ensure all Canadians and small businesses get the support they need to weather this crisis.
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).
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.
Pro Bono Ontario (PBO) is still providing free legal assistance to low-income Ontarians for their everyday legal problems. Last week we pivoted all operations to the Free Legal Advice Hotline, and have started developing specialized resources to help answer legal questions related to COVID-19 shut-downs. The Hotline is a safe, convenient way for Ontarians to get help with:
- Employment issues
- Housing issues
- Consumer debt and protection problems
- Corporate law for small businesses and non-profits
- Powers of Attorney &
- Civil litigation*
Dial 1-855-255-7256. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 9:30 am – 11:30 am and 1:00 – 3:30 pm. *PBO does not assist with criminal, family, immigration or estates administration issues. For additional information please refer to our website.
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.