COVID-19 Update #14

New as of March 28

Ontario Protecting Consumers from Price Gouging
Offenders face fines of up to $500,000 for charging unfair prices on necessary goods

Ontario announced new penalties to combat price gouging and hold offenders accountable for raising prices significantly on the necessary goods Ontarians need to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.

Effective immediately, the government has issued an emergency order that retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods.

Individual offenders can face a ticket of $750, or, if summoned to court and convicted, could face a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and one year in jail. If convicted, a company director or officer could face a fine of up to $500,000 and up to a year in jail, and a corporation could face a fine of up to $10 million.

Necessary goods include:

  • Masks and gloves used as personal protective equipment in relation to infections.
  • Non-prescription medications for the treatment of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Disinfecting agents intended for cleaning and disinfecting objects or humans.
  • Personal hygiene products, including soap products and paper products.


Consumers can report an individual who is price gouging by filing a complaint at 1-800-889-9768 between
8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, or by filing a report online.  


 

Ontario Taking Emergency Measures to Support Long-Term Care Homes During COVID-19
Funds, resources and flexibility for the sector to support staffing and continue to protect province’s most vulnerable

The Government of Ontario is implementing a new emergency order to ensure that staffing and resources are available to help care for and protect long-term care residents during the COVID-19 crisis. These temporary measures provide further flexibility for long-term care homes and allow homes to redirect their staffing and financial resources to essential tasks.

In addition, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is also implementing a new approach to redeploying its highly qualified inspectors. These nurses, dieticians, and physiotherapists will be supporting long-term care homes on the ground through staff supply, care coordination, serving as point-people with Public Health, helping homes to prevent and contain infections, and many other tasks necessary to the safety and security of residents.

Critical funding for the long-term care sector was recently announced in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. A $243 million fund will create additional surge capacity in homes, while supporting 24/7 screening, more staffing and supplies and equipment to help with prevention and containment of this COVID-19 outbreak. This builds on an immediate injection of funding that long-term care homes have already received.

Ontario Protecting Supply Chains To Support COVID-19 Emergency Response
Province to Buy Urgently Needed Critical Goods and Services and Deploy them to Where They are Needed the Most

Ontario continues to take important steps to protect the province’s supply chain and make sure the heroes on the front lines have the essential goods and services they need in the fight against COVID-19 like ventilators, masks and swabs.

These regulations will enable the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and the Ministry of Health to centrally manage public sector supply chains. It will allow the collection of key data on inventories, orders and supply constraints and the development of a virtual inventory tool so that demand for crucial supplies are visible and trackable. With these measures in place, the government can prioritize buying what is needed most, deploying them, and allocating them on a priority basis to support the delivery of essential services to Ontarians.

Support will also be available to other public entities, such as publicly funded social service agencies and municipalities if they choose to participate.

Ontario has also launched Ontario Together, a new website that is helping businesses work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. This removes barriers allowing Ontario’s manufacturing sector to redeploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment.
 

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.

Find out about the current reported scams related to COVID-19.

Learn how to protect yourself when banking online.

Know what to do if you’re a victim of fraud.

 

Ontario sends out Emergency Alert to Re-Inforce Federal Government’s Mandatory Quarantine

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.

No more domestic travel by plane or by train for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 as of Monday, March 30 at noon.

The Government of Canada is introducing new domestic transportation measures to support provincial, territorial and local efforts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading from travelling within Canada.

These new measures include:

Air

  • A requirement for all air operators to conduct a health check of travellers before they board a flight within Canada or departing from Canada, based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This would include asking health questions, looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding, and recommending the traveller follow guidance from local health authorities.
  • A requirement for air operators to refuse boarding to a passenger that presents COVID-19 symptoms. The denial will remain in effect for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveller’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19. These measures will apply to aircraft with 10 seats or more.
  • A requirement for air operators to notify travellers that they may be subject to provincial or territorial measures at their final destination.
  • These measures will come into effect on March 30, 2020 at noon EDT.

Rail

  • A requirement for intercity passenger rail companies to do a health check to screen passengers for COVID-19 symptoms before they board a train, based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This will include company representatives asking simple health questions, looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding, and recommending the passenger follow guidance from local health authorities. 
  • A requirement for intercity passenger rail companies to refuse boarding to a passenger that presents COVID-19 symptoms. The denial will remain in effect for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveller’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19.
  • These measures do not apply to commuter trains.
  • These measures will come into effect on March 30, 2020 at noon EDT.

We remain in contact on a daily basis with the key transportation industry partners, operators and employee associations, international counterparts including in the United States and Europe, as well as provincial and territorial governments to assist with efforts in response to COVID-19.
 


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.  ETthe 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.