New as of March 31
Ontario Extends School Closures until May 4 and Child Care Closures until April 13 to Fight Spread of COVID-19
Province announces second phase of Learn at Home to support continuity of learning
Due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government announced that schools and child care centres will remain closed to protect the health and safety of students and staff. This extension is being made on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
To ensure continuity of learning, the government is launching the second phase of Learn at Home. Developed in conjunction with education partners, the government is establishing clarity for parents, enhancing education supports, and creating opportunities for teachers and educators to connect with students.
Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020. As these dates come closer, this decision will be re-evaluated based on public health advice. The closure may be extended if necessary to protect the health and safety of students, families and staff. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time. Select centres designated to support frontline health care workers and first responders will remain open.
As previously announced, no student will have their graduation compromised by COVID-19 and the Ministry of Education continues to collaborate with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure that there will be no barriers to accessing postsecondary education.
The second phase of Learn at Home features a new set of expectations for the education community, including:
- Reconnecting students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers;
- Re-establishing teacher-led learning by grade groupings as follows:
- Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math)
- Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies)
- Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies)
- Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation)
- Leveraging digital resources and identifying alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity, such as phone and mail;
- Developing a program of training for educators to support them in virtual learning delivery;
- Requiring final report cards for all students;
- Prioritizing and supporting students on track to graduate;
- Distributing laptops and/or devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction;
- Maintaining a responsive posture for health care and community partner requests; and
- Establishing formal COVID-19 working groups with education sector unions to work together, share ideas and to find solutions in the support of students.
On March 21, 2020, Ontario launched Ontario Together, an online portal helping organizations work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. The government will leverage partnerships with the telecommunication sector to provide innovative, low-cost and high-impact solutions to solve the equity challenges facing some students across Ontario. With this resource, the Ministry of Education has posted a new challenge that looks for learning solutions focused on:
- Free or low-cost learning resources and supports for students, parents and educators;
- Access to devices such as computers, tablets and portable wi-fi hotspots for families that need the supports; and
- Other ideas, goods or services, for example, to support mental health and students with special education needs.
Ontario Extends Emergency Declaration to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
All Outdoor Recreational Amenities across Province Now Closed
In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. In addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
This new order would close all communal or shared, public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities. Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren’t otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others. Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed.
To ensure the province is able to continue its extensive efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will also extend the March 17, 2020 declaration of emergency and subsequent emergency orders, regulations and amendments issued under s.7.0.1 and 7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
The following declaration and orders have been extended and will be in effect until April 14, 2020:
- Declaration of a provincial emergency
- Closure of public places and establishments with exemption for emergency child care for health care and frontline essential service workers
- Prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people
- Enforcement of emergency orders
- Work deployment for health service providers
- Work deployment for long-term care homes
- Electronic service of documents
- Electricity pricing
- Drinking water and sewage
- Closure of non-essential workplaces
- Traffic management
- Prohibiting unconscionable pricing for necessary goods
- Streamlining requirements for long-term care homes
Ontario Enhancing Public Reporting about COVID-19
Dedicated Website Will Include Expanded Information of Confirmed Cases Across the Province
Ontario is enhancing the public information it provides about the status of COVID-19. As the outbreak evolves, Ontario has launched a new dedicated web page and is changing how COVID-19 cases are being reported to provide a more relevant summary of data from Public Health Ontario that offers expanded information every day at 10:30 a.m.
This daily epidemiologic summary replaces the general information on the status of COVID-19 cases that was previously provided twice daily on the web page. The new summary provides more provincial and regional data on confirmed cases, including trends of cases since the outbreak began, geography, exposure and severity.
The daily summary is based on data recorded by local public health units in the province’s integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), as of 4 p.m. the day before the summary is posted. iPHIS is the Ministry of Health’s disease reporting system, where data is regularly updated.
In addition to the daily update to the website, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, will continue to hold regularly scheduled daily media briefings via teleconference, to provide an update on the province’s ongoing response to COVID-19.
Province Supports Postsecondary Students During COVID-19
Ontario Enabling Students to Complete the Academic Year, Offering Loan Payment Deferrals and Financial Support for Institutions
The government of Ontario is easing the financial burden on students and making sure they can complete their studies during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to postsecondary institutions.
To support borrowers during this difficult period, loan repayments will be subject to a six-month interest-free moratorium until September 30, 2020. This means that during this time, borrowers will not be required to make any loan payments and interest will not accrue on their OSAP loans. Borrowers can still make one-time payments via their online account or online banking if they want to repay their loans faster. Payments during this period will go entirely towards their loan principal.
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. These interim digital learning supports, available in both French and English, will provide publicly-assisted colleges and universities with the technology they need to conduct year-end assessments, while preserving student privacy and the integrity of academic assessment.
Ontario will work with other partners who may be interested in offering digital learning, such as Indigenous Institutes and private career colleges. Supports will be accessible on an as-needed basis and limited to those courses and programs where formal exams are required.
The province is also distributing $25 million in additional funding to publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to help address each institution’s most pressing needs in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak such as deep cleaning, purchasing medical supplies or offering mental health supports.
The Government of Canada is working with these companies to ensure our health care workers have the tools they need to care for Canadians across the country.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, which increases Canada’s ability to respond to the outbreak with necessary medical equipment and supplies.
The Government of Canada is investing $2 billion to support diagnostic testing and to purchase ventilators and protective personal equipment, including for bulk purchases with provinces and territories. Personal protective equipment includes things like more masks and face shields, gowns, and hand sanitizer.
On March 20, 2020, the Government of Canada called on Canadian businesses and manufacturers to help deliver critical health supplies. Since then, the government has spoken directly with almost 3,000 Canadian companies that have offered their expertise and capacity to meet the country’s need for personal protective equipment and critical health supplies.
The Government of Canada has signed new procurement agreements with Canadian companies Thornhill Medical, Medicom, and Spartan Bioscience to purchase and boost capacity to manufacture equipment and supplies including portable ventilators, surgical masks, and rapid testing kits. The government has ordered millions of supplies to ease the pressure on health care facilities. It has also signed letters of intent with five companies – Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group Ltd., Irving Oil, Calko Group, and Stanfield’s – to produce additional test kits, hand sanitizer, and protective apparel including masks and gowns.
The government welcomes the cooperation of other companies and industries that have answered the call to action and offered their support in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes efforts from companies to re-tool their facilities and double their production capacity, to collect and donate existing supplies and equipment, and to combine resources to manufacture needed supplies more quickly. Companies like Magna, General Motors, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Ford, Linamar, Shell, Suncor, Alibaba Group, and The Home Depot have helped Canada’s health care professionals by donating personal protective and safety equipment and sanitizing supplies.
In addition, $50 million has been made available in funding for members of the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster to develop and scale-up new, in-demand technologies, equipment, and medical products. This includes technologies and products to test and treat Canadians, such as novel virus detection tests, vaccines, therapeutics, and symptom management treatments. It also includes medical equipment to care for Canadians, such as ventilators, peripherals, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and sterilization chemicals and equipment.
These measures are part of the larger strategy the Government of Canada is implementing to protect Canadians and prevent the spread of the virus. Collaboration with Canadian manufacturing and innovation is an important part of this strategy, which will ultimately result in better health and safety for Canadians, as well as a more resilient health care system.
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.
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.