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 20
As Ontario Reopens, People Urged to Continue Following Public Health Advice
Face coverings now recommended when physical distancing is a challenge
As the Ontario government carefully and gradually reopens the province, those taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19. To assist the public, the Ministry of Health today released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible, along with additional safety measures for provincial transit agencies.
The details were released today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, has advised people to wash their hands often, stay at home if feeling ill, and practise physical distancing by staying at least two metres apart from anyone outside their household. Now that the province is reopening, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts are recommending that individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transit or in a small grocery store or pharmacy. In order to assist people and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health released the following face covering recommendations:
- Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;
- Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries;
- Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.
Workers and employers may also consider using face coverings as an additional public health measure in addition to mandatory occupational health and safety measures.
To assist provincial transit agencies in protecting transit staff and riders in this new environment, the Ministry of Health is also recommending the following measures be put in place:
- Physical distancing of at least two metres by admitting fewer passengers and using physical markers between seats;
- The use of face coverings, particularly when physical distancing is not feasible;
- Ensuring the availability of alcohol-based hand rub upon entering and exiting the vehicle;
- Implementing engineering controls like plexiglass windows between drivers and passengers; and
- Enhanced cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces.
All Canadians continue to be legally required to self-isolate for 14 days when returning home from international travel.
In the meantime, Ontario and public health experts will carefully monitor the key public health indicators outlined in A Framework to Reopening our Province at each stage of reopening and will adjust public health measures if necessary.
The Ontario government is reducing financial barriers for full-time students attending postsecondary education. Starting today, those most in need can apply to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for the 2020-21 school year.
For many students, the loans they receive from OSAP are their first major financial commitment. To support a greater understanding of the program and the responsibilities as an OSAP recipient, applicants will be required to complete an information module that highlights basic information about the student assistance program and financial literacy. This is knowledge students will need to make informed financial decisions today, and throughout their lives.
During this unprecedented period, the government is providing a six-month temporary deferral of OSAP loan payments and interest accrual on OSAP loans from March 30-September 30, 2020 to support OSAP borrowers in good standing. The province has also worked with postsecondary institutions to support virtual learning and virtual exams.
The government is now preparing for the 2020-21 school year by working closely with the province’s colleges and universities to ensure students receive the high-caliber education and training they need to obtain rewarding careers. Acting on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario’s postsecondary institutions are developing their plans for the fall term – exploring a range of delivery options depending on the trajectory of COVID-19.
Canadians are focused on keeping their jobs and paying their bills, as they continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. That’s why the Government of Canada has put jobs and workers first, in our approach to support businesses during this challenging time.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that application documents and updated criteria for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses are now available, and that the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25.
The Government of Canada is focused on safeguarding workers’ jobs as we continue to deal with this pandemic. That’s why we reached an agreement in principle last month with all provinces and territories to implement CECRA. This program will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners, who in turn will give a rent reduction of at least 75 per cent for April and May (retroactive), and June, to their small business tenants.
This program provides property owners the opportunity to do their part in helping small businesses and their employees succeed in these challenging times. We’re all in this together, and that’s why the government is stepping up to provide rent relief to businesses, while helping property owners maintain rental income through this crisis.
CECRA will provide important relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship, and is another measure that helps businesses keep Canadians on the payroll. Applications will be accepted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website beginning on May 25, and application documents can be accessed now.
The Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is protecting middle class jobs and helping Canadian businesses through this crisis. Together, we will continue to ensure Canadians have what they need to pay their bills and keep their families safe and healthy during these challenging times.
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.