New as of March 23
Ontario Orders the Mandatory Closure of All Non-Essential Workplaces to Fight Spread of COVID-19
New Measures to Further Protect the Health and Safety of the People of Ontario
To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government will order the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released tomorrow.
Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.
A 1-800 number and website will be made available on Wednesday for any inquiries.
Ontario Protecting the Most Vulnerable During COVID-19 Crisis
New Funding Will Support Municipalities, Food Banks, Homeless Shelters and Individuals
The Ontario government is providing $200 million in social services relief funding to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The province will be providing municipalities and organizations that administer social services with funding to support them in their response to COVID-19. The funding will help municipalities and social service providers such as shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits continue to deliver their critical services, hire additional staff, and find ways to promote social distancing and self-isolation to keep clients safe and healthy. Ontario’s municipal service managers will determine local needs and distribute the funding, ensuring clients are receiving the support they need.
The funding will also help individuals who do not qualify for emergency financial supports under federal programs. The government is putting in place an expanded Emergency Assistance program administered through Ontario Works (OW) to cover these individuals’ needs such as food, rent, informal childcare, and services. There will also be discretionary benefits available to those who already receive social assistance.
This new funding will help individuals and families in financial crisis who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food, rent, medicine, transportation and other services during this public health crisis. Funding will also be made available to organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families. Individuals can apply online at Ontario.ca/community.
This fund will also help local communities support their shelter systems during this health crisis. The province’s 47 municipal service managers will deliver this funding, ensuring clients are receiving the support they need, and will make local decisions on community funding.
To further bolster safety measures for social-assistance clients and caseworkers, the government has also temporarily removed the requirement for clients to provide written documentation at this time. Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) payments will be made as usual and will continue based on previous levels of income support. Individuals will not have to visit their local office to provide written documentation during this time. If individuals need to connect with their caseworker, they are encouraged to connect over the phone instead of visiting in person.
The Government of Canada is supporting our country’s researchers as they do critical work to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, and people around the world, during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced support to quickly mobilize Canadian researchers and life sciences companies to support large-scale efforts towards countermeasures to combat COVID-19, including potential vaccines and treatments.
This $275 million for coronavirus research and medical countermeasures is part of the Government of Canada’s more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund. The funding will be used to advance projects that are already underway by university researchers and others to respond to COVID-19, and ensure domestic supply of potential vaccines. These research efforts can move quickly, and include:
- $192 million in new projects that will be prioritized under the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream to deliver direct support to Canadian companies for large-scale projects. These companies include:
- AbCellera, a Vancouver-based biotech company that has built the world’s leading technology for antibody discovery, is at the forefront of developing antibody-based drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19. AbCellera’s technology is being used to search blood samples of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to find naturally-produced antibodies that can be used for treatment and prevention. AbCellera was the first company in North America to receive a sample from a convalescent patient, and within days identified over 500 human antibodies that are candidates for development as a treatment. The company has partnered with global biopharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to rapidly manufacture and distribute a treatment with the goal of beginning clinical trials in July 2020.
- Medicago, a Quebec City-based company with 20 years of experience in plant-based vaccines and therapeutics, that has identified a viable plant-based vaccine candidate currently at the pre-clinical testing phase. Funding will allow Medicago to rapidly move forward on clinical trials and then quickly shift to scaling up production for pandemic response.
- Funding for the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), one of the largest and most advanced infectious disease research facilities in the world. With $11 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, VIDO-InterVac will be able to strengthen its existing expertise in coronavirus research and to help develop a vaccine for COVID-19. An additional $12 million from Western Economic Diversification’s Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program will help VIDO-InterVac expand its bio-manufacturing capacity to support clinical trials.
- Funding of $15 million for the National Research Council of Canada to upgrade its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montréal to develop, test and scale-up promising vaccine candidates to be ready for industrial production. This will involve certifying the facility for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) quality assurance to ensure that their human pharmaceuticals and biologics, including vaccines, are consistently produced and controlled. This certification will support a more effective roll-out and production of vaccines, and help ensure that any vaccines produced by the facility can be made available to Canadians and people around the world more quickly.
- Support for BlueDot, a Toronto-based digital health firm, with a first-of-its-kind global early warning technology for infectious diseases. The company was one of the first in the world to identify the spread of COVID-19. The Government of Canada, through the Public Health Agency of Canada, will use its disease analytics platform to support modelling and monitoring of the spread of COVID 19, and to inform government decision-making as the situation evolves.
These measures are part of a larger strategy the Government of Canada is implementing to protect Canadians and prevent the spread of the virus. The whole-of-government strategy will help ensure the capacity of our health care system, support international and domestic efforts, and mitigate the economic impacts on Canadians and Canadian business.
Prime Minister announces support for farmers and agri-food businesses under Canada’s response to COVID-19
Canadian farmers and food businesses work hard so Canadians have quality food on their grocery store shelves and kitchen tables. In these times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make sure that they are supported so they can continue providing the good, healthy food that nourishes our families.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced important new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.
In addition, all eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan. This important measure, which represents $173 million in deferred loans, will help keep more money in farmers’ pockets during these critical months.
The Stay of Default will also provide farmers the flexibility they need to manage their cashflow when facing lower prices or reduced marketing opportunities. Applicable farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under the $1 million cap.
The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting Canada’s agricultural sector to ensure that farmers and businesses have the support they need to provide for their families and all Canadians during this critical time.
Ottawa Public Health now has laboratory confirmation of community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ottawa. Additionally, we are starting to see cases among health-care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case . Based on modelling data, there could now be up to 4,000 undetected cases of COVID-19 in our community.
Because most cases are mild and undetected, Ottawa Public Health is urging everyone to practise social distancing. More information on social distancing for you and your family can be found on our website.
Our efforts are needed as a community. The actions you take will affect not only you but your loved ones and our most vulnerable. While we appreciate that people are thinking of their loved ones, now is not the time to visit them in person. Luckily, we have technology on our side which enables us to communicate in other creative ways like video chats and group phone calls.
Now is also not the time for non-essential excursions. We are working with the City of Ottawa to provide greater clarity on what we consider non-essential vs essential businesses here in Ottawa. People should not visit non-essential businesses including but not limited to clothing retail stores, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, gym and fitness facilities, banquet halls and conference centres.
Many people are returning home from March Break travel and will need groceries and essential items. It is imperative that all returning travellers self-isolate for 14 days, so groceries and essential items should be picked up by a family member or friend, or through on-line ordering options. Visit our website for further guidance on self-isolation. We have been working with the Ottawa International Airport to ensure this is being communicated clearly to returning travellers.
Social distancing is important for everyone at this time, but especially important for members of our older adult community and our most vulnerable. Here are some ways that you and your family can practise social distancing:
- Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible
- Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives. Use the telephone, video chats or social media to stay connected unless the visit is absolutely essential.
- Avoid all non-essential trips in the community
- Keep the windows down if you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare
- Cancel group gatherings and limit your contact to as few people as possible
- Hold virtual meetings or get-togethers
- Spend time outside and in settings where people can maintain a two-metre (six feet) distance from each other
Our community partners are working together through the City’s Human Needs Task Force for those requiring assistance. The Good Companions are offering Seniors Centre Without Walls, where seniors can dial in and partake in a virtual centre with activities. The Ottawa Food Bank and community food banks are all working hard to ensure food is still available to those that need it. For more information on how to connect to these wonderful services, residents can call 2-1-1.
Information is changing rapidly and we are working around the clock to provide information to the public as soon as possible. Please continue to share this information and visit our website regularly for the latest updates: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus
The following are suggestions Ottawa business owners can take to increase security to their properties that are temporarily closed:
- Remove all valuables from store front displays. This will help mitigate smash and grab scenarios such as jewelry and electronic stores.
- Remove all valuables such as cash from the till and leave open. Place the cash tray in plain view on the counter to signal there’s no money in the till.
- Consider installing an alarm monitoring system. If one is already present ensure the contact list is up to date.
- Clearly post signage on the door/window to indicate premises is:
- Monitored by alarm company;
- No money is kept on premises; and
- Contact information for the police and business owner in the event a member of the public observes damage to property or suspicious activity.
- If the premise is closed for an extended period of time, clean all glass surfaces and create a tracking log of when cleaning was completed. This may assist investigators with suspect fingerprints if a break in occurs.
- Consider installing a surveillance camera system that can be monitored online by owner/management.
- Consider using a laminate on all windows and glass doors to increase glass integrity from blunt force. Although damage to glass will occur in an attempt break in, it will greatly discourage or prevent entry.
- Install latch guards on doors to protect against prying, this should include secondary doors such as employee and loading entrances.
- Keep some lighting on inside for surveillance opportunities during the evening.
- Ensure all doors are properly secured and regularly check all exterior lighting is functioning.
- Remove material around the exterior of property that maybe be used to gain entry into the premises (brick, metal poles and construction materials)
General protective measures
- Keep the interior, front and rear entrances well lighted.
- Keep advertising and merchandise out of windows as much as possible.
- Always keep the rear and side doors locked.
- Maintain a record of decoy or “bait” currency to be given to a robber.
- Be sure your alarms are in good working order at all times.
- Do not open your place of business before or after regular business hours.
- Avoid routine procedures which can be observed and used to the advantage of would-be robbers.
- Call the police if a request is received to open after regular hours.
For further information please refer to the attached link:
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.
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.