COVID-19 is something that we are all going to have to face together. Our primary concern is the health and safety of Ontarians.
We hope you are staying safe and healthy.
Thank you to all the province’s essential services workers and those on the front-line. You step up everyday to ensure individuals, families and seniors have what they need to stay safe and healthy.
Thank you to everyone else who is staying home and practicing physical distancing.
It is important to listen to the advice of Public Health experts:
- Wash hands frequently
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Practice social-distancing
- Stay home if you’re not feeling well
- If you are concerned or suspect you have the virus, call
Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000 or
Ottawa Public Health: 613-580-6744
New as of April 27
Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020, as part of an effort to keep students, staff and families safe from COVID-19.
The extension was based on expert advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health officials on the COVID-19 Command Table and is part of the government’s ongoing effort to stop the spread of the virus. The advice was to extend school closures for an additional period of time to permit updated modelling and data to inform next steps, given the government’s absolute commitment to safety.
The government took immediate action to close schools in Ontario, the first in Canada to do so. The ministry continues to monitor the evolving situation and if necessary, the closure may be extended further to protect the health and safety of Ontario’s school communities.
At the same time the Ontario government is taking steps to ensure learning can continue. In March the province unveiled its Learn at Home portal. It offers all students high-quality resources, featuring made-in-Ontario math and literacy resources, created by Ontario-certified educators, in both English and French. Elementary resources are designed to help young students learn at home with interactive activities that encourage participation through entertaining and stimulating digital content. High school content was designed with a focus on STEM courses and ensures core competencies and skills are reinforced.
At the end of March the Ministry of Education unveiled the second phase of Learn at Home to ensure the continuity of learning for students. This included providing clarity for parents, enhancing education supports and creating opportunities for educators to connect with students.
The government has also partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. iPads are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data. Apple is providing on-going support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home. To date, over 20,000 iPads have been sent to targeted families in need. The free Rogers wireless data will be available until the end of June.
Today, the Ontario government released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.
Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.
- Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
- Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
- Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.
To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:
- A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
- Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
- Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
- Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.
Supporting the next phases of Ontario’s Action Plan, the new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, chaired by Minister Phillips, will be consulting with key sectors in all regions to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward. The government and Members of Provincial Parliament will lead discussions with business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others.
The work of the committee will build on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the first phase of the government’s $17 billion response, that is delivering targeted relief for businesses and families across Ontario.
To help employers keep and re-hire workers amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has implemented the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). This important economic measure provides a subsidy of 75% of an eligible employee’s weekly earnings, to a maximum of $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks. Retroactive to March 15, 2020, the CEWS will prevent further job losses and encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is administering the CEWS on behalf of the Government.
Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched the application process for the CEWS. As of today, employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client.
All claims that are approved through the CRA’s automated verification process will be sent for payment on May 5, so that payments being made through direct deposit should begin to appear in employers’ accounts as of May 7. Some applications will require a secondary verification, done manually, and in these cases the CRA may contact employers to verify information. It is expected that these secondary verifications will take no more than 72 hours in the vast majority of cases.
The CRA has again partnered with financial institutions to enroll Canadian employers for direct deposit, and employers can now register business payroll accounts for direct deposit with the CRA through their bank portals.
Signing up for direct deposit will enable employers whose applications are approved to receive their CEWS payments quickly and securely. Employers can sign up for direct deposit with their financial institutions even after applying for the CEWS.
The CRA recognizes and appreciates the important role that stakeholder organizations are playing in providing feedback on how the CEWS program will operate. We look forward to continuing to work closely with employers and their representative organizations as we deliver the CEWS program.