COVID-19 Update #47

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 May 8

Ontario Supports Job Creators as People Start Returning to Work

As people gradually begin returning to work, the Ontario government continues preparing for the next phase of restarting the provincial economy through the implementation of its Framework for Reopening our Province. At the same time, the government has been supporting struggling business owners directly impacted by COVID-19 by providing tax deferrals and commercial rent relief, and by removing regulatory roadblocks.

Today, Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, highlighted the ongoing preparations for reopening the economy, including the work of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee.

Over the past week, the government has begun easing restrictions on workplaces that can operate safely by following public health and safety guidelines. Today, garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases. Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.  On Monday at 12:01 a.m., non-essential retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery.

These actions come as the province continues to face the unprecedented economic situation created by the COVID-19 outbreak. Today, Statistics Canada released its monthly job numbers, which showed a 689,200 decrease in employment in Ontario.

The province is also providing $241 million of a total $900 million to the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA), with contributions from the federal government, to deliver relief to small businesses and ensure they are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.

Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 also includes $10 billion in support for people and businesses to improve cash flows by providing a five-month penalty and interest-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, deferring the upcoming quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax, and providing up to $1.9 billion in financial relief by allowing employers to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) payments for up to six months.

In order to make life easier for businesses faced with the unique challenges created by the global outbreak, the Ontario government has launched the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers online portal. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those struggling to operate in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks and suggest possible solutions through the website.

Canada and Ontario Take Additional Steps to Protect Agri-Food Workers During COVID-19

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.25 million in provincially licensed meat processing plants to better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of healthy products for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the first stream of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program will provide funding to implement COVID-19 health and safety measures in provincially licensed meat plants, including purchasing additional personal protective equipment, redesigning workstations, supporting employees who require mandatory isolation, and work-site mobility and transportation.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will begin accepting applications on May 12, 2020 and will expedite the approval process to get the necessary support to the agri-food sector faster. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.

Today’s announcement follows previous actions taken by the federal and provincial government to support the agri-food sector. Those commitments include $1 million to help Ontario farmers, food processors and other agri-food supply chain partners address labour shortages, as well as $2.5 million to improve e-business opportunities for Ontario’s agri-food sector.

Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed support to approximately 2,500 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.

Ontario Eases Restrictions on Professional Sports Training Facilities

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, issued a statement in response to Ontario permitting professional sport training facilities to reopen: 

“Our top priority remains the health and safety of all Ontarians. As we prepare for a safe and gradual reopening of the economy, we have been working closely with public health experts and our professional sport teams to prepare for a return to play when it is safe to do so.

I am pleased to announce that beginning today in Ontario, professional sport training facilities will be permitted to reopen, provided their respective sports leagues have established health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19. 

While it is imperative to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to carefully and cautiously begin to reopen the economy. This is a critical sector for Ontario as sport represents more than $12.6 billion to Ontario’s economy and thousands of jobs across the province.

We are pleased to see professional sports teams take a leading role in producing new rigorous protocols to keep their athletes safe, while allowing them to train in a voluntary and individualized manner. 

We look forward to seeing our athletes return to play in the not-too-distant future.”

Premier Doug Ford Honours Canadian Heroes on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day

“On May 8, 1945, Canadians flooded the streets to cheer and celebrate as the Allied Forces liberated Europe from the brutal tyranny of the Nazi regime. During World War II, Canada played a pivotal role in securing this important victory, from its troops bravely storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day to freeing the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.

For many, the victory was bittersweet. While more than one million Canadians served during the Second World War, over 45,000 soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice.

While we cannot mark this important milestone together in person, we stand united in recognizing the heroism and bravery of those who fought to defend our freedoms and protect our way of life. As Canadians, we can take inspiration from the legacy of those who blazed the trail before us. By sticking together, we can overcome any obstacle, especially during these extraordinary and difficult times.

I want to take a moment to thank our men and women in uniform, both our veterans and those who are actively serving today, for keeping our country safe and free.

On this day and every day, we honour these Canadian heroes who gave everything in the service of their country. For their sacrifice, we will never forget.”

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations: next steps to support the industry impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic

Culture, heritage and sport organizations play an essential role in Canadian society. They are a vital part of the social fabric of our communities. They generate solidarity, promote social integration and tolerance, and are a source of civic pride. They are also major drivers of the Canadian economy, contributing three percent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, today shared further details regarding the Government of Canada’s April 17 announcement of temporary relief measures to support the culture, heritage and sport sectors as they manage the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plan for the future. A total of up to $500 million has been set aside to help alleviate the financial pressures of affected organizations.

Starting today, partner organizations will be contacted so that funds can begin to flow to cultural and sport organizations. Canadian Heritage is working closely with its partners – in particular, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canada Media Fund, FACTOR, Musicaction, and Telefilm Canada – to distribute the funds as quickly as possible using existing channels.

The distribution of funding will include:

  • Up to $326.8 million to be administered by Canadian Heritage and divided among select departmental programs and Portfolio agencies as well as key delivery organizations. Specifically:
    • $198.3 million will be provided to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding via existing programs as well as other organizations with demonstrated needs;
    • $72 million will be provided to the sport sector;
    • $53 million will be provided to the heritage sector via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program; and,
  • $55 million to be distributed by the Canada Council for the Arts;
  • $3.5 million will be provided for COVID-related projects under the Digital Citizen Initiative.
  • $115.8 million to support the Canadian audiovisual sector, to be distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).

The use of the remaining funds will be assessed based on needs.

Canada’s culture, heritage and sport organizations are creative and resilient. This targeted funding will help organizations maintain operations while continuing to support artists and athletes, and retain jobs. Many organizations in the culture, heritage, and sport sectors face barriers to accessing the already announced Government of Canada measures due to factors such as the cyclical nature of revenues, high rates of self-employment and contract work, and barriers to accessing credit.

The Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations is designed to complement other Government of Canada measures to help Canadian workers and employers impacted by COVID-19, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for Small Businesses.

Special statement from Dr. Vera Etches

Today, I ‘d like to take a moment to recognize the local health care worker who died as a result of COVID-19, while working to protect the health of others. The family, friends and colleagues of the worker are in our thoughts.  It is very difficult to lose a member of the health care community, and we are devasted by this loss on top of the loss of so many residents.

Long-term care homes

OPH continues to be concerned for our residents in long-term care during this pandemic. It is important for the population, and especially those with loved ones in long-term care homes, to know that most long-term care homes in Ottawa have no outbreaks and zero cases of COVID-19. For those homes that do have outbreaks, hospitals have been paired up with the homes facing the greatest pressure and the situation has improved in the operation of these homes.  We continue to see deaths from infections that started with transmission in the past. 

Managing risk while easing restrictions

This week marked the start of easing some of the COVID-related community restrictions, such as the reopening of some parks and businesses, and more announcements are being made by the province frequently. Although more public spaces are available, the community remains extremely vulnerable to a resurgence of disease. Most people are not immune to COVID-19 and the vast majority of the population remains susceptible. 

Therefore, we must continue to practice physical distancing as some measures are being relaxed – that message does not change.  And, I am encouraged that the motivation of the people of Ottawa to protect others around them will not change.

 We are in the fortunate position in that we are able to observe what other countries are doing with regards to relaxation of restrictions and we will continue to monitor how the situations develop as they reopen their businesses, schools and outdoor spaces.

We are in a time where people need to, and they want to, return to the activities they love. OPH recognizes the burden that COVID-19 has created and the impacts on the direct health of Ottawa’s residents. And, we are concerned about the indirect harms COVID19 has caused — stress and anxiety, loss of employment, food insecurity, exposure to violence, delayed access to medical and dental services and reduced social support — as these have big influences on health and wellbeing. 

OPH is working with provincial, municipal and community partners to support a progressive relaxing of restrictions that will minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the community.  If we increase our interaction with others too much too soon, the level of infection will rise and we risk overburdening our health care system – something we have avoided so far, thanks to your actions.  We need to continue to keep this virus pinned down and at a manageable level within the community, and I would like to also see a further decline in hospitalizations to show we are reaching lower levels of virus in the community. 

What is important is that the actions of everyone in the city will be what determines our future.

What you have done so far, and what we do today will impact our future. The people of Ottawa have done such a good job at protecting themselves and others by following the physical distancing measures. Keeping two metres between each other is what will continue to protect us. We need to continue physical distancing moving forward as we resume other activities.

During this period, wearing of cloth masks in the community when you cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres will be important to reduce transmission from individuals that do not have symptoms and may not realize they are ill. As well as, continued community testing of people with COVID19-like symptoms will be essential, along with testing to control outbreaks. OPH will continue to work with health care sector partners to ensure testing capacity. 

Please continue to visit our website for updated content about where to purchase a mask, how to wear a mask and updated physical distancing information. 

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.  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.

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.