Supports for People

This list was last updated: May 27th, 2020

If you need assistance you can also call our constituency office at 416-733-7878 (9:30 am to 5:00 pm) and we'll do our best to connect you with the resources and help you need.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19 please visit: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/

Other Government Supports

Support for Businesses

 


Support for People

Federal Government

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Providing a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to support Canadians by providing urgently needed financial support to employed and self-employed Canadians who have been directly affected by COVID-19.

The CERB will be available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits;
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.

The CERB has been extended to include:

  • Essential workers who earn up to $1,000 per month.
  • Seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible online beginning April 6th. You can apply online by setting up your CRA My Account now, and signing up for direct deposit to get your benefit more quickly. 

To help manage the delivery of support, apply according to these guidelines:

If you were born in the month of 

Apply for CERB on

Your first/best day to apply

January, February or March

Mondays

April 6

April, May, or June

Tuesdays

April 7

July, August, or September

Wednesdays

April 8

October, November, or December

Thursdays

April 9

Any month

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

 

Anyone can apply on Fridays to Sundays. Please click here for more information.

After you apply, you should get your payment in 3 business days if you signed up for direct deposit. If you haven’t, you should get it in about 10 business days.

For members of the public looking to get more information about the CERB or, who are unable to apply online, please call the toll-free telephone line at 1-833-966-2099. If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to reapply. Only apply for the CERB through Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) - not both. 

Increasing the Canada Child Benefit

Providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

CCB payments will be increased once more in July to further assistn families keep up with the cost of living and raising their children. The increase will be in place for the 2020-21 benefit year, and will raise the maximum benefit to $6,765 per child under age 6, and $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17.

Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply. Please click here for more information.

Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment

Provided a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.

Extra Time to File Income Tax Returns

Deferred the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals. For individuals (other than trusts), the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020.  

The Federal Government will also allow any new income tax balances due, or installments, to be deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties. Please click here to consult all tax and payment dates.

Employment Insurance 

If you were recently laid off or have reduced hours and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request online at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-regular-benefit/apply.html 

Support for Women’s Shelters and Sexual Assault Centers

Providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity in managing or preventing an outbreak in their facilities. Please click here for more information.

New Indigenous Community Support Fund

Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities. This funding will also provide support to regional, urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations. There is no deadline for communities. The funding will flow as quickly as possible through existing agreements. 

The call for proposals for urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations and communities is now open. The deadline is April 13, 2020.

Enhancing the Reaching Home Initiative

Continuing to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative.

The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters. Please click here to read more information.

Support for Seniors

Contributing $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.

Also The Government of Canada announced that organizations who received funding under the 2019-2020 New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based stream will be able to use their funding to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.

Activities can start immediately and can include:

  • Supporting seniors in staying connected with their community and family by providing electronic devices, virtual activities and remote tutorials;
  • Supporting the delivery of food and medication to self-isolated seniors at home;
  • Assisting seniors to undertake essential activities, such as visits to the doctor;
  • Hiring staff to replace a loss of a senior volunteer due to the outbreak;
  • Providing information to seniors regarding how to care for themselves during the pandemic.

For more information, contact your local United Way organization: http://www.unitedway.ca/how-we-help/find-your-uwc/

Reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.

Temporary Salary Top-Up for Low-Income Essential Workers

The government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of low-income workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, who make less than $2,500 a month. Details as to the application and delivery of this measure will be released shortly following further work with provinces and territories.

This will provide a much needed boost to those on the front-line in hospitals, those caring for seniors in long-term care facilities, those working so hard to make sure that there is food on our shelves and tables, and others.

Mortgage Support

Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.

Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. 

Supporting Access to Essential Food 

Providing $100 million to national, regional and local organizations across Canada to:

  • Purchase, transport and distribute food and other basic necessities
  • Hire temporary help to fill volunteer shortages
  • Implement safety measures, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among volunteers and clients.

These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians.

Delivering Essential Services to Those In Need

Investing $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need.

This investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:

  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
  • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
  • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
  • Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet

Supporting Women and Children Fleeing Violence  

Providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centers, including facilities in Indigenous communities, to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. 

To learn more about funding objectives, please visit: https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/fun-fin/shelters-refuges-en.html

Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Canada Summer Jobs Program provides opportunities for young individuals to develop their skills in the non-for-profit, small business and public sector, and supports the delivery of key community services. 

Changes are being made to the program to allow employers to:

  • Receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 percent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • Extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • Adapt their projects and job activities
  • Hire staff on a part-time basis.

For more information, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/canada-summer-jobs.html

Mental Health Supports for Youth

The Government of Canada is providing $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with their mental health support they need during this difficult time.

For support, please visit Kids Help Phone: https://kidshelpphone.ca/

Changes to the Canada Student Loans Program

Proposed changes to the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) to allow more students to qualify for support and be eligible for greater amounts. 

The changes would include:

  • Doubling the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
  • Broadening eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.
  • Raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.

For more information, please click here

Suspending Repayment and Interest on Student and Apprentice Loans

All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause. The moratorium applies to the federal portion of student loans. Borrowers should check with their provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion. 

For more information, please visit The National Student Loans Service Centre: https://www.csnpe-nslsc.canada.ca/en/what-is-new

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)

Providing $1,250 per month for eligible post-secondary students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. This benefit will be available from May to August 2020 to make up for lost work and cut hours due to reasons related to COVID-19. It is also available for those who are working but not making more than $1,000 (before taxes) over the four-week period for which they are applying.

Students will also be eligible to receive monthly payments of between $1,000 and $5,000 for volunteering in their communities to reward them for their efforts.

To apply, please click here

New National Service Initiative

Launching the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For those who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the CSSG will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.

More details will be made available on the “I Want to Help” platform soon.

Youth Employment and Skills Strategy

Providing $153.7 million for the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to help youth develop the skills and gain the experience they need to successfully transition into the labour market.

Funding will support a range of measures in high-demand sectors such as agriculture, technology, health, essential services and creating over 6,000 additional job placements.

For more information, please click here.

Student Work Placement Program

Providing $80 million for the Student Work Placement Program to support up to 20,000 post-secondary students across Canada to obtain paid work experience related to their field of study.

Click here to find a student placement. 

Mitacs and the Business/Higher Education Roundtable

Investing $40 million to support Mitacs in order to create 5,000 new job placements. The Business/Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) will also create further 5,000 to 10,000 new student placements, by reorienting existing federal support and building online tools. 

Support for Student Researchers and Post-Doctoral Fellows

Providing $291.6 million to support student researchers and post-doctoral fellows through the federal granting councils.

Funding would support a one-semester extension for eligible students whose research scholarships or fellowships end between March and August 2020 and who intend to continue their studies. It would also provide a 3-month extension in funding for holders and federal research grants to support eligible trainees and staff paid out of these awards.

Click here to view a list of Federal Granting Agencies. 

Supporting International Students Working in an Essential Service

Removed the restriction that allows international students to work only a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food and other critical goods.

This temporary rule change will be in place until August 2020.

 

Ontario Government

Agriculture Industry Job Support Portal

Launched a new website aimed at individuals seeking a job in the agri-food industry and the chance to make a difference during this COVID-19 outbreak. The portal highlights employment openings and training resources in Ontario’s agriculture and food sector.

This online portal provides access to information on exciting job opportunities right across Ontario’s food supply chain – from grocery retailers, to bakeries and cheese factories, to opportunities on farms and in transportation, and many more.

The targeted intake will begin accepting applications on April 17, 2020. Eligible applications will be received and assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.

Please click here to apply. 

Additional Steps to Protect Agri-Food Workers

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.25 million in provincially licensed meat processing plants to implement COVID-19 health and safety measures, including purchasing additional personal protective equipment, redesigning workstations, supporting employees who require mandatory isolation, and work-site mobility and transportation.

Applications are currently being accepted and assessed on a continuous basis while funding is available. 

More information about this targeted intake and the program guidelines can be found online at: http://omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/index.htm or by calling: 1-877-424-1300.

Health Workforce Matching Portal

Launched a new Health Workforce Matching Portal to help match skilled frontline health care workers with employers. The portal will enable a range of different care providers, including retired or non-active health care providers with their regulatory college, internationally educated health care providers and students, to assist with the province’s response to COVID-19. 

Once you create a profile, you may be matched with positions and opportunities to use your skills and provide services where they are most needed in the fight against COVID-19. 

Voluntary Redeployment of Education Workers

Subject to a local agreement of the framework, eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal and be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages. Positions available may include custodial, maintenance, food preparation, children and youth service workers, social workers, and educational assistants.

Training and appropriate safety equipment will be provided to redeployed staff. Volunteers who are redeployed will be eligible for Ontario's temporary pandemic premium and emergency child care.

For more information, please visit https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/voluntary-redeployment-of-education-sector-workers-during-covid-19.html

SPARK Ontario Volunteer Portal

Partnered with SPARK Ontario to help seniors and the most vulnerable stay connected and healthy as they self-isolate during the COVID-19 outbreak. Volunteers help to deliver food or medicines, run errands or check-up on seniors and the most vulnerable by phone or email.

We encourage volunteer organizations and people interested in volunteering to visit the SPARK Ontario website and learn more about how you can help Ontarians during this time.

Seniors, people with disabilities, and others in need of assistance can also be connected to essential services in their community at any time by visiting www.211ontario.ca or by dialing 211 or 1-877-330-3212 (toll free). TTY service is also available by dialing 1-888-340-1001.

Doubling GAINS payments to low income seniors

Providing $75 million in urgent additional support for 194,000 low-income seniors by proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment to $166 per month for individuals and $332 per month for couples, for six months starting April 2020.

Those who already receive GAINS payments do not need to re-apply. Payments are issued on the 25th of each month, or the first business day prior if the 25th falls on a non-business day.

Support for Seniors & Long-Term Care Homes

The Ontario Government has also introduced a temporary emergency order effective April 22, 2020. The Order requires long-term care staff to work in only one long-term care home, retirement home, or other health care setting, and to not work for any other health service provider. The government has made funds directly available to help long-term care homes, to help long-term care workers make-up these lost wages.

Long-term care employers are being encouraged to offer full-time hours to their part-time employees. Employers can cover this expense through the emergency funding provided to all long-term care homes. Employees who face financial hardship as a result of this order will be entitled to job-protected leaves of absence under the Employment Standards Act

Ontario's Action Plan includes supports for seniors and investments in the long-term care sector, such as:

  • $243 million for additional capacity in the sector and more resources for screening, infection control, staffing and supplies;
  • Approximately $80 million to improve and maintain the quality of care in long-term care homes; and
  • Approximately $23 million for a minor capital program that will support the ongoing repair of homes and allow operators to maintain safe and modern facilities.
  • $10M to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors. Interested organizations are encouraged to reach out to the City of Toronto to apply for this funding.
  • $20M to increase infection control and active screening procedures

The government is also working with province-wide organizations including Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA), Older Adults Centres' Association of Ontario (OACAO) to identify and mobilize potential volunteer supports in the community to address social isolation and support daily living assistance.

Following the report from the Canadian Armed Forces', the Ministry of Long-Term Care has deployed long-term care inspection teams to conduct comprehensive, detailed inspections at high-risk long-term care homes over the next 21 days. At the same time, the Ministry of Long-Term Care has started the process of appointing temporary management at Eatonville Care Centre, Hawthorne Place Care Centre, Altamont Care Community, Orchard Villa, and Camilla Care Community. Further, the recently announced independent commission into Ontario's long-term care system will now begin its work in July 2020. To read more, please click here.

Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable

Effective May 13th, 2020 people 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 instalments. 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.

To access the form please visit: http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/FormDetail?OpenForm&ACT=RDR&TAB=PROFILE&ENV=WWE&NO=014-4931-87E

Ontario Community Support Program  

The province 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 and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario. The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.

To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in the local community and request service, please visit www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca.

Those without Internet access or who require service in a language other than English or French, can dial 211 or 1-877-330-3213 (toll free). TTY service is also available by calling 1-888-340-100.

Emergency Child Care 

Providing emergency child care to enable parents who are:

  • Healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers
  • Staff working in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, anti-human trafficking services, children in residential care and child protection services (children’s aid societies)
  • First Nations constables and members of First Nations police services
  • Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management fire investigators
  • Select critical staff in community corrections such as probation and parole officers
  • Contractors in institutional corrections services
  • Frontline investigative staff at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit
  • Critical staff at the Centre of Forensic Sciences
  • Critical staff operating the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre
  •  Staff working in shelters (e.g., serving homeless populations)
  • Power workers
  • Pharmaceutical and medical supplies and device manufacturing
  • Non-municipal water and waste-water employees
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and Canada Post employees
  • Workers in grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Truck drivers (Driver’s Licence Class A and D)
  • Working in the food supply chain, including food processing
  • Workers in retirement homes
  • Auxiliary workers in health care settings, including cooks and cleaning staff in hospitals and long-term care homes
  • Interpreters and intervenors who support people who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblind
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) emergency personnel
  • Provincial officers and onsite staff in Ontario courts
  • Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence staff working in Ontario
  • Additional workers supporting public safety and correctional services

Frontline workers who make use of these services are also eligible for the one-time child education payment.

For more information regarding eligibility and child care centre locations, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-support-students-and-parents#section-2

One-Time Child Education Payments

Helping families pay for extra costs associated with school and daycare closure during the COVID‑19 outbreak by providing a one-time $200 payment per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 per child up to 21 years of age with special needs, including children and youth enrolled in private schools.

There is no income cap on this program. You must submit one application per child. Before you apply, please note:

  • Only one parent can apply for each child 
  • The parent who applies should have custody of the child

To apply, please click here.

Suspended Child Care Fees

An emergency order has been issued, and effective immediately, any child care operators currently charging fees without delivering child care service, can no longer do so. The order also means that parents cannot lose their child care space because they are not paying fees during this period. This will help provide much needed relief for parents during the outbreak.

Educating Youth

Enhancing e-learning opportunities via the Learn at Home Portal to keep children stimulated and focused on learning during this period of uncertainty. The Government’s Learn At Home initiative will help mitigate ‘learning loss’ during this period, provide interactive teacher-led math supports, and empower all students to learn key skills with an emphasis on STEM education.

The second phase of Learn at Home has been launched in response to the extended closures of schools. The second phase of Learn at Home features a new set of expectations for the education community. Work is also underway to leverage partnerships with the telecommunication sector to provide innovative, low-cost and high-impact solutions to solve the equity challenges facing some students across Ontario. 

Public schools will remain closed to teachers and to students for the rest of the school year. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed. To maximize learning, all PA days and exam days will be converted to instructional time.

Unveiled an expanded seven-point summer learning program for Ontario students to ensure those that participate remain intellectually stimulated through the summer months. To help improve access to remote learning, Ontario is partnering with 34 organizations and private businesses, along with school boards, to address key needs among educators, students and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. This important partnership will enable students to learn while making technology accessible for those that truly need it. 

iPad devices were purchased and are being distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data (until June 30, 2020). Apple is also providing on-going support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home. Apple is offering teachers free one-to-one virtual coaching by Apple Professional Learning Specialists.

School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad. Students and families do not need to contact Rogers to set the devices up.

In addition to providing free wireless data, Rogers is also working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed, low-cost internet to subsidized tenants and members of housing partners across Ontario through its Connected for Success program, as well as the Government of Canada Connecting Families initiative.

Digital Learning Supports for Post-Secondary Students

Making digital learning supports available to post-secondary institutions to ensure students can successfully complete the academic year. These interim digital learning supports, available in both French and English, will provide publicly-assisted colleges and universities with the technology they need to conduct year-end assessments.

Beginning April, colleges and universities will have access to online exam proctoring and grading tools in time for the exam season. These tools will be accessible on an as-needed basis and limited to those courses and programs where formal exams are required.

Ontario will work with other partners who may be interested in offering digital learning, such as Indigenous Institutes and private career colleges. Supports will be accessible on an as-needed basis and limited to those courses and programs where formal exams are required.

Deferring OSAP Repayment and Interest 

Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for student borrowers, in partnership with the federal government, until September 30, 2020.

Borrowers can still make one-time payments via their online account or online banking if they want to repay their loans faster. Payments during this period will go entirely towards their loan principal.  

No action necessary from constituents. No need to apply, interest frozen automatically and students do not need to make payments.

Campus Relief Funding

Distributing $25 million in additional funding to publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to help address each institution's most pressing needs in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak such as deep cleaning, purchasing medical supplies or offering mental health supports.

Mental Health Measures

Providing emergency funding of up to $12 million to immediately expand online and virtual mental health supports and $2.6 million to hire new psychologists and other mental health clinicians who will provide Ontario Provincial Police personnel with mental health support. These services will provide support for people experiencing anxiety, stress and other mental health challenges. They will also provide alternatives for people who can’t access their in-person counselling support.

Services include:

  • ConnexOntario: Adults and frontline workers who are dealing with the realities of COVID-19 can call ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600 for mental health, addictions and problem gambling support.
  • BounceBack: A free, evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program that provides guided mental health self-help supports for adults and youth 15+ using workbooks, online videos and phone coaching. Call 1-866-345-0224.
  • Kids Help Phone: Children and youth 18 and under who need to talk to someone about their mental health can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, for 24/7 virtual, phone and text support.
  • Good2Talk: A phone and texting service that provides confidential support to post-secondary students. Call 1-866-925-5454.

Please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/find-mental-health-support to find additional resources available for General, Indigenous Communities, Young People, Farmers, Workplace Mental Health and First Responders.

For constituents currently receiving mental health and addictions services and supports, please contact your current service provider, including community-based mental health and addictions agencies to learn about potential virtual care options. Many are modifying their services to move towards virtual care, meeting clients by phone or secure video-conferencing, if appropriate.

Launched a Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Systemwhich provides a clear path forward toward offering Ontarians easier access to standardized, high-quality care and support in communities across the province.

Significantly increasing access to internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) programs to help Ontarians experiencing anxiety and depression, including frontline health care workers, during the COVID-19 outbreak. These internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) programs will be provided at no out-of-pocket costs to Ontarians across the province.

Please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus to find information about the different virtual mental health and wellness options that meet their unique needs, including online therapy.

Support for Indigenous Communities

Providing over $37 million to support outbreak planning, prevention and mitigation efforts to ensure the health and well-being of Indigenous people and communities — particularly those in remote and far-northern regions. The funding will respond to the unique needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people and families across the province.

The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs (IAO) will provide $16.4 million to help with the distribution of goods; transportation-support for urban Indigenous people; self-isolation; prevention and awareness; and, pandemic planning. 

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) will provide $10 million to ensure continuity of services offered by Indigenous social services agencies to vulnerable children, youth, adults and families during the outbreak.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has allocated $4 million to ensure continuity of services at remote and northern airports serving Indigenous communities.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will provide $7.4 million to help social service providers, charities and non-profits delivering critical housing services to Indigenous people living off-reserve.

Funding for Municipal Social Services

$200 million in new funding to provide temporary emergency support for people in financial need as well as funding to municipalities and other service providers so they can quickly respond to local needs.

The City of Toronto will be receiving this fund directly to use for their programs. 

Reducing Electricity Bills

Making electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers through a $1.5 billion increase in electricity cost relief compared to the 2019 Budget. In addition, the Province is also setting electricity prices for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day until May 31, 2020 to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID‑19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.

No need to apply. Reduced rates will be applied to your bill automatically.

Expanding Eligibility for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program

Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low‑income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID‑19 outbreak.

Contact your utility provider to apply.

Expanding Access to Emergency Assistance under Ontario Works

Expanding access to temporary emergency assistance for those in financial crisis who have no access to other supports. This funding will help individuals, who are unable to access Federal assistance, in financial crises cover costs for food, rent, medicine, transportation and other services during this public health crisis. 

Eligibility criteria:

  • You have been affected by COVID-19 
  • You are being evicted from your home
  • You are in or are leaving an abusive relationship 
  • You are worried about your safety

You are not eligible if you are already receiving assistance under Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program.

For those receiving social assistance who need increased support, we are expanding discretionary benefits, making funds for extraordinary needs more flexible and accessible, while ensuring there is no disruption to current assistance.

Individuals can apply at Ontario.ca/socialassistance 

The government is also providing $148M from this investment to support agencies and organizations who are on the front line of this emergency response. This support will ensure shelters, food banks, charities, non-profits and municipalities have immediate access to flexible funding to help cope with growing demands and extraordinary circumstances.

Job Protected Leave for Employees and Families

The Ontario Legislature passed legislation to protect workers in quarantine, isolation or caring for family at home. The legislation eliminated the need for a doctor’s note to take leave due to COVID-19, and provide job protection for employees who are unable to work because they are:

  1. Under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19;
  2. Acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act;
  3. In isolation or quarantine;
  4. Acting in accordance with public health direction;
  5. Directed by employer not to work;
  6. Providing care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19.

Deferring Property Tax 

Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30th) remittance education property tax to school boards by 90 days will provide municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses while ensuring school boards receive their funding. See City of Toronto section below for more details.

Suspended Issuing and Enforcing Residential Evictions

The Ministry of the Attorney General suspended the enforcement of residential evictions until ordered otherwise by the court. Tribunals Ontario have suspended issuing new eviction orders until further notice. Sheriff's offices have postponed scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders.

Tenants must still pay rent as they normally would, to the best of their abilities.

We encourage landlords and tenants to work together during this difficult time to establish fair arrangements to preserve tenancies and sustain a healthy rental housing sector. We encourage tenants that are having challenges paying rent due to COVID-19 to speak with their landlords about possible deferral of rent payment or agreeing to other payment arrangements. Tenants may want to get more information about income supports - such as federal Employment Insurance sickness benefits or Emergency Care Benefits through Service Canada.

If a tenant has been locked out of their unit or if they’re being threatened with eviction should contact our Rental Housing Enforcement Unit by calling 1-888-772-9277.

Penalties for Price Gouging 

Price gouging should be reported to Consumer Protection Ontario online (https://www.ontario.ca/form/report-price-gouging-related-covid-19) or by phone (1-800-889-9768).

Strengthening Victims Services

Providing a one-time emergency payment of $2.7 million to assist more than 50 community agencies across Ontario, including Indigenous organizations and those based in rural areas, stay operational and accessible to victims of crime and domestic violence during the public health crisis.

This emergency payment will ensure victims of crime, particularly domestic violence, get the help they need in order to stay safe and healthy during this crisis. Funds will help front-line staff respond to challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and quadruple the immediate supports available for accommodation, meals and transportation through the Victim Quick Response Plus Program (VQRP+).

In addition to this investment in victims services, the government is investing $1.3 million in technology to help courts and tribunals continue the transition to remote operations in response, including but not limited to additional laptops, conference lines and doubling the complement of digital recording devices for court use

For more information about programs and services for victims of crime and their families, please click here.

The COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund (CRRF)

Investing up to $40 million to support organizations that provide residential services for children and youth, people with developmental disabilities and emergency shelters for women and families fleeing domestic violence. The CRRF will help to address financial and service delivery pressures that agencies are feeling during this time.

The following would be eligible for CRRF:

  • Children’s residential services, including residential programs for Complex Special Needs, Child Welfare, Youth Justice, out-of-home respite for children with physical and/or developmental disabilities, and children’s developmental services
  • Gender-based violence residential programming, including Anti-Human Trafficking and Violence Against Women
  • Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy residential programming
  • Intervenor services
  • Adult Developmental Services residential supports.

Funding should be requested through a Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services regional or corporate office. Funding will be provided upon request to agencies with residential service programs. Requests that align with the scope of the CRRF, which are determined to be appropriate, will be approved for 30-day increments at a time.

For more information, please click here.

Measures for Auto Insurance Relief

Enabled auto insurance companies to provide temporary insurance premium rebates to drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province has amended a regulation under the Insurance Act to help ease the financial pressure on working people and families during this public health crisis. Auto insurance policy terms generally last for 12 months. The 12-month time period of this regulation would allow insurers to provide rebates to all policyholders, regardless of their annual policy renewal date.

Pandemic Pay in the Broader Public Sector

Providing a payment increase of $4/hour worked in addition to existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employees’ hourly wage. In addition, employees working over 100 hours/month would receive lump sum payments of $250/month. Both of these payments would be in effect for 16 weeks, effective from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020.

The premium pay applies to front line staff in corrections, social services and health care. Examples include respiratory therapists, mental health and addictions workers in hospitals and congregate care settings, public health nurses, and paramedics.

A full list of eligible workers and workplaces can be found here

Ontario 511 Mobile App

Launched a new free 511 app which will provide truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play. 

Support for Industrial and Commercial Electricity Consumers

Passed an emergency order to defer a portion of the Global Adjustment charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan for the period starting April 2020. This relief will prevent a marked increase in Global Adjustment charges due to the low electricity demand caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

This is intended to give companies immediate relief to their monthly electricity bills in April, May and June 2020. The government intends to keep this emergency order in place until May 31, 2020, and subsequent regulatory amendments would, if approved, provide for the deferral of these charges for June 2020 as well. 

The GA rate for smaller industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class B) has been set at $115 per megawatt-hour, which is in line with the March 2020 value. Large industrial and commercial consumers (i.e., Class A) will receive the same percentage reduction in GA charges as Class B consumers. Subject to the approval of subsequent amendments, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) would recover the deferred GA charges over a 12-month period beginning in January 2021. Interest costs related to the deferral would not be recovered from consumers.

To learn more visit: http://www.ieso.ca/en/Learn/Electricity-Pricing/What-is-Global-Adjustment

Virtual Action Centre

Investing $2 million in the province’s first Virtual Action Centre to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers. This job training portal will provide a wide range of services and supports online and over the phone. This allows workers to get support while maintaining physical distancing. The Action Centre will launch on May 22, 2020 and deliver a wide range of virtual services and supports.

Forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers. About 19,000 apprentices will benefit from loan forgiveness. The Ontario government is also providing $10 million for an Ontario Tool Grant to help new apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers.

For more information, please click here.

 

City of Toronto

Flexibility for Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing will be flexible and work with market rent and rent-geared-to-income tenants.

The City directed social and affordable housing providers to be flexible, exercise discretion and work with tenants.

While the City has no power to direct landlords, all property owners are strongly urged to find ways to help tenants to stay in their homes and to proactively communicate with tenants about options, if available.

Property Tax Relief

Home owners can apply for property tax relief if they experience illness that results in loss of work, or if they are experiencing extreme poverty.

Child Care for Essential Service Workers

The City of Toronto will provide emergency child are for children of essential and critical service workers. The service is provided at no costs to families, funded by the Province of Ontario, for children from birth to age 12. Services will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Centres are located across Toronto in existing City-run licensed child care facilities and staffed by City of Toronto child care workers.

Locations:

  • EAST - Malvern Early Learning and Child Care, 1321 Neilson Rd. (Sewells/Neilson)
  • CENTRAL - Jesse Ketchum Early Learning and Child Care, 7 Berryman St. (Davenport/Bay)
  • WEST - Thomas Berry Early Learning and Child Care, 3495 Lake Shore Blvd. W. (Lake Shore Blvd W./Thirtieth St)
  • NORTH - Falstaff Early Learning and Child Care, 10 Falstaff Ave. (Jane/Wilson)

To apply for emergency child care, please click here.

Employment and Social Services 

Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) continues to provide critical services to vulnerable residents and is maintaining a level of service to ensure the provision of critical financial benefits and supports for low-income clients and vulnerable residents.

In-person services are restricted at this time. Provision of critical services primarily by phone include:

  • New applications for Ontario Works (OW) financial assistance (by phone) at 416-338-8888
  • Ensuring active OW clients continue to receive their monthly payments
  • Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) requests
  • Continuation of benefits such as special diet, employment related expenses, and medical transportation
  • Funeral applications

The Employment and Social Services section on the City’s Affected City Services & Facilities web page regularly provides updates on impacted services and when they may return to normal service.

Seniors Programs

Seniors and caregivers can call 211 Toronto (24/7 accessing 150+ languages) for the most up-to-date information on the status of many community and social services for seniors. 211 Toronto can refer seniors to community-based services where available.

Other resources for seniors include:

  • Toronto Seniors Helpline for support, questions and referral: 416-217-2077
  • Local Health Integration Network for health and personal care services, and admission into long-term care homes: 310-2222, no area code
  • Distress Centres of Toronto for crisis assistance : 416-408-HELP(4357)
  • Seniors Safety Line – Elder Abuse Ontario for suspected elder abuse: 1-866-299-1011, available 24/7 and in many languages
  • Toronto Police Service to report fraud: 416-808-2222
  • Crime Stoppers to report fraud anonymously: 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or online at crimestoppers.com
  • Meals on wheels

Seniors who already receive these services should call their agency to find out if there are any changes to service.