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Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19

Key initiatives to support people, families, workers and employers

The Ontario government announced a $17 billion-dollar action plan as a first step in its response to COVID-19. Additional information on all supports is available at Ontario's COVID-19 website.

Other information

  • Funding to help municipalities and social service providers such as shelter, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits to continue to deliver critical services. For information on how the Region is distributing this funding and application process, refer to COVID-19 Community Funding.
  • Funding opportunities are also available from the Ontario Government. Organizations must register online at Ontario.ca/GetFunding.
Emergency assistance
  • Expanding access to temporary emergency assistance for those in financial crisis who have no access to other supports, including those who are waiting for support from the Federal government.
  • This funding will help to cover needs such as food and shelter.

Find out if you're eligible and how to apply, visit emergency assistance.

Support for current social assistance clients

Extended discretionary emergency benefits are available to Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients. If you require assistance with costs of additional expenses, please contact your OW caseworker or ODSP caseworker.

Student Nutrition Program

Offers school-age children and youth nutritious food through breakfast, lunch and snack programs. The program continues to be available to meet the needs of families during school closures and throughout the summer. Contact Peel’s local agency for more information.

Employment opportunities
  • The Ontario government has launched a web portal to connect workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agriculture, agri-food and food industry sectors.
  • Ontario is also recruiting health-care workers to help provincial efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Ontario government will launch a Virtual Action Centre, as an online counseling and training portal to support laid-off and unemployed hospitality workers and apprentices.
  • Apprentices will be supported with grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, including forgiving previous loans to purchase tools. More information about the grant application process will be posted as it becomes available.
Workers
  • Providing additional funding through Employment Ontario for Skills training programs available for workers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Providing job-protected leave to eligible employees impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak through the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020.
  • Online training portal launched to promote safe workplaces. Free online health and safety training can be accessed by contacting an Employment Ontario service provider.
Seniors

The Ontario government is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors, people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario. The program helps deliver groceries, meals, medicines and other necessities through Meals on Wheels organizations.

Vulnerable people

Protections are in place for those living in high risk settings, including homes for people with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, and children's residential settings.

Victims of violence and human trafficking have continued access to critical services.

Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment of their deductible.

Mental wellbeing

The government is providing free virtual mental health services to those needing mental health and addictions support, including frontline health care workers.  A variety of mental health and wellness options, including online therapy, are available.

Renters and landlords

The Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020 was passed and has new rules for both renters and landlords.

The government is introducing legislation that, if passed, would freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units.

Property tax deferrals

The government is working closely with municipalities on measures to provide property tax relief. Check Brampton, Caledon or Mississauga's websites for details.

Energy savings for individuals and businesses
  • Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumer through electricity cost relief programs.
  • Setting electricity rates at 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from June 1 until October 31, 2020.
  • Extended disconnection ban applied to electrical utilities.
Car insurance and licensing extensions

Insurance companies can now provide car insurance premium rebates for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended. For more information visit the Financial Services Regulator Authority of Ontario.

Granting extensions on expiry dates for driver's licenses, vehicle and carrier products and services.

A full list of supports can be found on the COVID-19: Support for people webpage.

Peel is now in stage 3 of Ontario’s Economic Restart plan. Businesses should refer to health and safety guidelines.

The Ontario government intends to introduce the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020, proposed legislation to support small businesses and modernize rules to allow them to innovate and meet the challenges of today.

The plan includes:

  • A 1-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses (with 2 to 9 employees) in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors to help offset the unexpected costs of personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Ontario's Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network, which links 47 Small Business Enterprise Centres across Ontario, and where small businesses can access tailored advice and information on local, provincial and federal programs;
  • Digital Main Street Squads to help small businesses grow online;
  • Mental health supports for families, frontline workers, young people, children, and Indigenous communities;
  • Ontario's Small Business Recovery webpage to provide single window access to small business supports.

The Ontario government:

  • Made available Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) deferrals for employers for up to 6 months.
  • Increased the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020.
  • Includes energy savings – see Energy savings for individuals and businesses.
  • Amended regulation to restrict delivery trucks from operating during off-peak hours to ensure smooth and timely supply-chain operations.
  • Offers a new free 511 app, providing truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province.
  • Granting extensions on expiry dates for driver's licenses, vehicle and carrier products and services.
Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OECRA)

Introducing the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act, which proposes changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act (CTA) to extend the temporary ban on evictions of small business tenants beyond August 31. The amendments would apply to businesses eligible for the OCECRA.

Partnering with the Canadian government on its Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, to provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls. To qualify, owners are required to reduce the rent of small business tenants by at least 75%, for a period of three to six months between April and September 2020.

COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Businesses (CEAP-SB)

$8 billion funding to support businesses struggling with bill payments as a result of COVID-19. More details will be provided as they become available.

Ontario Together Fund

$50 million funding to offer emergency products, services and innovative solutions to support the response to COVID-19. CSA Group Testing & Certification Inc. is now available to increase testing capacity and certify personal protective equipment. Businesses and organization can help the government by sharing:

  • Supplies of medical products.
  • Solutions for remote learning while schools are closed.
  • Ideas, products and services that can help Ontarians.

$20 million to advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.

Learn more about how you can help by visiting Ontario Together: help fight coronavirus.

Digital Main Street

This $57 million investment in Digital Main Street will help businesses reopen, recover and grow long after COVID-19.

Allowing Temporary Rule Changes

The Ontario government is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic.

Health Workforce Matching Portal

The Ontario government is looking for those with experience in providing health care who are available to help efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19.

If you're an individual or health care institution and think you can help visit the Health Workforce Matching Portal.

Ontario Tools Grant

Helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools made through the Loans for Tools program. More information about the grant application process will be posted as it becomes available.

Farmers

Investing up to $1 million in new funding, in partnership with the Government of Canada, to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector, through the Place to Grow: Agri-Food Initiative.