COVID-19 Update #5

New as of March 19

Two Pieces of Legislation Passed

Today, the Ontario government took unprecedented action to respond to COVID-19 by convening an emergency sitting of the legislature and passing two pieces of legislation which will protect the jobs of employees who self-isolate or quarantine, help keep store shelves stocked and give municipal councils the flexibility to continue operations while maintaining social distance.

The legislation passed with unanimous consent by only 26 MPPs. The number of members participating in this extraordinary session was intentionally kept small in order to practice social distancing and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. A first in Ontario history.

The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives. These measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario. The legislation will also make it clear employees cannot be required to show sick notes.

The Municipal Emergency Act, 2020 will ensure that for the near future, the delivery of goods to Ontario’s businesses and consumers isn’t impacted by municipal noise by-laws that may unintentionally be impeding such deliveries when they are most urgently needed. The legislation also gives municipalities the ability to fully conduct Council, local board and committee meetings electronically when faced with local and province-wide emergencies, empowering the government’s municipal partners to respond quickly when in-person meetings cannot be held.

Justice System, Evictions Freeze and Tribunals

The government of Ontario is working around the clock with our partners to respond to this constantly evolving public health issue. Adjustments are being made throughout the justice system to minimize disruption and continue to provide seamless, responsive justice services to all Ontarians, particularly the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Technology Solutions and Prioritizing Urgent Matters

To sustain these efforts and to address health and safety concerns raised by legal service professionals, Ontario courts and tribunals are limiting in-person proceedings and making use of audio and video conferencing to hear priority matters remotely, where possible. Justice partners are working collaboratively to develop and deploy technology solutions and other innovative tools across the province to ensure urgent matters can be heard without needing to appear in person. This approach will also help to mitigate the potential impacts of possible service disruptions. Courts and tribunals are also deferring non-urgent matters until they can be managed safely and securely.

Ontario’s judges and justices of the peace continue to prioritize critical matters such as criminal and child protection proceedings. There is strong collaboration across the system to ensure that urgent and priority legal matters continue to be heard before our courts and tribunals.

All Tribunals Ontario in-person proceedings, including at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Landlord and Tenant Board and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, are postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date. Where feasible, alternative hearing options such as written and telephone hearings will be considered. Front-line counter services will be closed until further notice.

We are also working very closely with our partners and colleagues in Ontario’s court systems to ensure Ontarians can see justice done while also prioritizing the protection of public health in the province. The following actions have been taken across the justice system:

  • The Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular court operations until further notice, while continuing to hear urgent matters during this emergency period.
  • All sittings of the Small Claims Court in Ontario are suspended until further notice. 
  • The Ontario Court of Justice has established procedures to reduce the number of people who attend court in-person for criminal and family matters. All non-urgent matters have been adjourned.
  • All Provincial Offences Act matters scheduled up to and including April 3, 2020 will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date. Tickets, fines or other court business may be handled online. 
  • The Court of Appeal has suspended all scheduled appeals until April 3, 2020. During this period, urgent appeals will be heard based on either the written materials or remotely.

Keeping People Safe

We are committed to ensuring Ontarians remain safe and secure during this challenging time and are looking at all tools to help individuals and families stay in their homes. As part of this approach, the Ministry of the Attorney General has applied for a court order to suspend the enforcement of eviction orders. Tribunals Ontario will not issue any new eviction orders until further notice. Sheriff’s offices have been asked to postpone any scheduled enforcement of eviction orders currently set for this week.


Driver’s Licences and Health Cards

These new regulations include extensions for driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates, among others. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services.

The Ministry of Transportation is also automatically extending the due dates for medical or vision reports, which both reduces the need for in-person visits, but also ensures that patients do not need to visit their doctors, helping the health system to focus on containing COVID-19.
This extension will be in place until such time that, based on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, the current situation improves.

The Ministry of Transportation will continue to deliver time-critical services, including Motor Vehicle Inspection Station Stock orders and Single-Trip Oversize/Overweight permits. Update on Ontario Parks operations in response to COVID-19 developments:

All provincial parks will be closed to the public from March 19, 2020 until April 30, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities and all public buildings.

Current visitors to provincial parks will be required to vacate by March 19, 2020. Any person or group with a reservation for arrival up to April 30, 2020 will automatically be provided a full refund with no penalty.

Ontario Parks continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation carefully. Please visit for the most up-to-date information.

Ottawa Public Health Special Statement from Dr. Vera Etches on COVID-19, click here.

  • Testing and Assessment
  • Social Distancing
  • Case Management and Privacy
  • Fraud concerns

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.

Community Organizations and links

Hydro Ottawa

Recognizing the economic uncertainty for Ottawa residents associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak, Hydro Ottawa is taking measures to help customers:

  • The provincial Winter Disconnection Ban scheduled to end on April 30, 2020 has been extended by an additional three months.
  • Account collection actions have been suspended until further notice.
  • Customers may request flexible payment plans in order to allow more time to pay outstanding balances on their account, if needed.  Contact us to discuss payment options.
    • Online:
    • Phone: 613-738-6400
      (Weekdays from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Excluding statutory holidays.)

Food Banks in Ottawa South

Banff Avenue Community House  
Banff Avenue Community House, 2084 Banff Ave, Unit A & B, Ottawa, ON  K1V 7X9
Heron Emergency Food Centre  
1480 Heron Rd, Ottawa, ON  K1A 6A5
Confederation Court Community House  
2483-A Walkley Rd, Ottawa, ON  K1G 3H2
Ottawa Food Bank  
1317 Michael St, Ottawa, ON  K1B 3M9
Pavilion Food Bank (The)  
Greenboro Pavilion, 14 Tapiola Cres, Ottawa, ON  K1T 1W9
Russell Heights Community House  
1799 Russell Rd, Unit E, Ottawa, ON  K1G 0N1

Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region

If you are feeling overwhelmed or need mental health advice, please call the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region: or Distress: 613-238-3311  
Crisis: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991.

Ottawa Community Housing

United Way Ottawa is looking for help during the pandemic and has created a new campaign. Read more here to find out how you can help.

Call or visit 211 Ontario to find services and programs in our community:  Call 2-1-1

Crisis Support for Abused Women & Seniors Amid COVID-19 Pandemic


Isolation has long been a red flag in abusive relationships.  A favourite in the abuser’s toolkit as a way to exert control and create distance between a woman, seniors and their friends and family.  But what happens when isolation and social distancing are imposed out of necessity?  Where can women and turn for support?  And what of Seniors who are so vulnerable to abuse when socially isolated?

During this time of crisis and uncertainty, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline (AWHL) and the Senior Safety Line (SSL)remain open and committed to delivering our 24/7 crisis counselling for women and seniors in the province of Ontario.  

To our valued supporters, we thank you for ensuring that we are able to be there for women and seniors in the darkest of times.

Crisis Line for Abused Women:

  • GTA: 416-863-0511
  • GTA TTY: 416-364-8762
  • TOLL-FREE: 1-866-863-0511
  • TOLL FREE TTY: 1-8666-863-7868
  • #SAFE (#7233) on your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus Mobile

Senior Safety Line- TOLL-FREE:  1-866-299-1011