COVID-19 Update for May 25

This page was last updated on May 25th. For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation please visit: Ontario.ca/coronavirus

Most Willowdalers continue to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic by staying home. Thank you. I know it's hard but your sacrifice today is saving lives. If you are not already, please stay home unless absolutely essential to leave. Leave your home only to go grocery shopping once a week, or to pick up medication or seek medical attention.

Do your part, please stay home!

The Ontario Government continues to monitor, prevent and respond to the spread of the novel coronavirus. As the situation changes, day by day, hour by hour, our government will continue to monitor the outbreak and escalate our responses as necessary. The health and wellbeing of Ontarians is our government's top priority.

My team and I continue to be available by phone and email to answer questions and connect you with any support or resources you may need during this time. You can reach us at 416-733-7878 or at stan.cho@pc.ola.org

Here is an update on new actions taken since May 7th:

For a list of actions taken before May 7th please see: https://www.stanchompp.ca/covid_19_update_for_may_7

You can also see an updated list of provincial, federal and municipal government supports for people and businesses, and a list of local Willowdale resources by clicking one of the buttons below:

Supports for People     Support for Businesses     Local Resources

Update: SPARKS Ontario

On May 25th, our government announced that more than 3,500 Ontarians have offered to deliver food, run errands and connect with seniors and people with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak through the government’s partnership with SPARK Ontario. More than 54,000 users have visited the website and 141 community organizations have registered for volunteer matching.

Update: Long-Term Care Homes

Issued Mandatory Management Orders appointing local hospitals to temporarily manage two long-term care homes for 90 days, which can be extended if needed. This step will enable a rigorous management structure to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and assist in returning these homes to normal operations.

Invested in Ontario's First Virtual Action Centre

On May 22nd, our government announced that we are investing nearly $2 million in Ontario’s first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid-off and unemployed hospitality workers by providing access to the training services they need to rejoin the workforce. The Virtual Centre will be operated in partnership with UNITED HERE Local 75, a union that represents hospitality workers, including in hotels, restaurants and food services companies

Ontario Tools Grant and Tools Loan Forgiveness

Announced Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. New eligible apprentices will be able to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade with this initiative. 

The government has also forgiven $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers.

Update: Eased Restrictions on Businesses

Permitted Ontario corporations to conduct virtual meetings, defer certain annual meetings in specific circumstances, and allow the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of documents, electronic signatures on documents and electronic filing of documents, as outlined in the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020.

Update: COVID-19 Rapid Relief Research Fund

On May 21st, Premier Ford and Minister Romano announced the first phase of COVID-19 Rapid Relief Research Fund recipients. These projects, part of the government's $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund announced four weeks ago, focus on areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences.

Released Specific Recommendations on Wearing Face Coverings and Masks

On May 20th, Premier Ford, Min. Elliott and Min. Mulroney released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible.

Recommended provincial transit agencies protect transit staff and riders by admitting fewer passengers and using physical markers between seats to allow for physical distancing; use of face coverings, particularly when physical distance is not possible; install barriers, like plexiglass windows between drivers and passengers; ensure that alcohol-base hand sanitizer is available for passengers when entering and exiting vehicles; and enhance cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces.

Unveiled School Year and Summer Learning Programs

On May 19th, the government announced that schools will be kept closed for the rest of this school year to protect the health and safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs also will remain closed for the safety and protection of children, families and staff through stage 1 of the reopening.

Unveiled and expanded a seven-point summer learning plan to ensure Ontario students have every opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months and remain on track to start and succeed during the 2020-21 school year.

Announced 34 partnerships with organizations and private businesses through Ontario Together to deliver at-home learning solutions.

Permitted the opening of summer day camps in July and August, subject to the continuing progress of key public health indicators. Overnight camps will be closed for summer 2020.

Launched Commission to Review Long-Term Care Homes

Announced the launch of an independent non-partisan commission to conduct an expedited review into Ontario’s long-term care system beginning in September 2020, to get a better understanding of the impact and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak. The commission’s work will provide guidance on how to improve the long-term care system and better protect residents and staff from any future outbreaks.

Update: Eased Restrictions on Religious Gatherings

Allowed an exemption of the emergency order related to gatherings to permit Ontarians to attend drive-in religious gatherings, under certain conditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Update: Eased Restrictions on Additional Businesses

On May 14th, the Ontario government allowed more retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers to reopen or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. This includes retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances; seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors; animal services; indoor and outdoor household services, like housekeepers and cooks; lifting essential workplace limits on construction; and certain health and medical services, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries.

Additional seasonal services and activities that will be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. This includes golf courses; marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches for recreational use; private parks and campgrounds to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract; and businesses that board animals.

Update: Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program

Minister Ernie Hardeman announced the second intake of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program for on-farm workers which is designed to help farmers enhance health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on their farms. This $2.25 million investment by the governments of Canada and Ontario builds on the previous announcement of $2.25 million for provincially licensed meat plants to implement COVID-19 health and safety measures.

Launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory

Launched a website to provide businesses with information on PPE suppliers to support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.

Further Protecting Victims of Gender Based Violence

On May 13th, Minister Jill Dunlop announced a $1 million Response Fund to further support frontline agencies supporting people experiencing or at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence, and human trafficking.

Updated COVID-19 Case Definition

Updated the case definition of COVID-19 to include multi-system inflammatory vasculitis (similar to Kawasaki Syndrome) to better monitor the impacts of the illness on children and effectively respond to it. This change will support clinicians in making clinical assessments of patients who may have these symptoms, including children.

Passed an Emergency Order for Long-Term Care Homes

Adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for long-term care homes struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. This order would support the use of rapid, immediate and effective management alternatives to protect residents and staff within a home.

Made Prescription Drugs more Affordable

Ontarians using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply online for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.

Extended Emergency Declaration

On May 12th, as per the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, our government extended the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 2nd. This allows our government to continue to use every tool at our disposal to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely.

Passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act

The Legislative Assembly passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020, which will help people conduct business while practicing physical distancing, including by allowing more virtual or remote transactions.

Update: Eased Restrictions on Certain Businesses

On May 11th, more people returned to work across the province as more retail stores with a street entrance have been allowed to offer curbside pickup and delivery. To-date, with health and safety association partners, released over 80 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for retail curbside pickup and delivery services.

Update: Eased Restrictions on Ontario Parks

On May 9th, Premier Ford and Minister Yurek announced the opening of Ontario Parks for limited day-use activities. Recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will have free access to provincial parks and conservation reserves until the end of May.

Redeployment of Education Sector Employees

Approved an emergency order to allow available school board employees, including custodial and maintenance workers, to voluntarily be redeployed to congregated care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak, including hospitals, long-term care homes, and women’s shelters. Eligible education sector staff who volunteer are able to register through an online portal and be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages. Volunteers who are redeployed will be eligible for Ontario's temporary pandemic premium and emergency child care.

Unveiled Plan to Support Licensed Child Care Providers

Unveiled a plan, that together with federal and municipal partners, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to reopen. This allows parents to retain access to local licensed child care as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres when they are able to return to their workplaces.

Update: Eased Restrictions on Certain Businesses

On May 8th, professional sport training facilities in Ontario have been allowed to reopen, provided their respective sports leagues have established health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.

Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program

Partnered with the federal government to invest $2.25 million in provincially licensed meat processing plants to better protect employees and to ensure the continued supply of healthy products to Ontario consumers. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the first stream of the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program will provide funding to implement COVID-19 health and safety measures, including additional personal protective equipment, redesigning workstations, and supporting employees, who require mandatory isolation and work-site mobility and transportation.

Questions? Need Help?

My constituency office remains accessible via email: stan.cho@pc.ola.org and phone: 416-733-7878. For everyone’s safety, we are not taking any in-person meetings, walk-ins or appointments. 

We've also compiled a list of government supports for people and businesses, and a list of local Willowdale resources. Check them out here:

Supports for People     Support for Businesses     Local Resources