Ontario's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

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To access all the media from Ontario go to the Ontario News room

 

Ontario Takes Steps to Keep Food on the Table during COVID-19
New online portal connects employers with workers looking to make a difference

April 4, 2020 In order to ensure grocery store shelves remain full and families have food on the table during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government of Ontario is launching a new web portal, connecting workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This new online tool will make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.  Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs provides access to information on job opportunities and training resources in all parts of Ontario's food supply chain - from grocery retailers to bakeries and cheese processing plants to opportunities on farms.
 


Ontario Extends Business Closures to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Additional Measures Necessary to Protect the Health and Safety of the People of Ontario
 

April 3, 2020  Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. This measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario, while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available.
 

The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.
 

The updated essential businesses list can be found here.
 


Ontario Joins Forces with the Private Sector to Fight COVID-19

New $50 million Ontario Together Fund will support the development of essential equipment and supplies
 

April 1, 2020  To stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe, the Ontario government is launching a new $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment and ventilators. This new Fund will support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal.
 

"Ontario has an army of innovators, entrepreneurs, and the hardest-working people in the world ready to roll up their sleeves, support our frontline healthcare workers, and beat this virus," said Premier Ford. "This mass mobilization of government, business, communities and private citizens to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe and healthy represents one of the largest and most ambitious efforts undertaken by Ontario in generations."
 

The government will be looking for the most viable, innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario. The government is providing one-time funding of $50 million in 2020-21 during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is time-limited and will be available to companies and organizations across the province.
 


Ontario Providing Electricity Relief to Families, Small Businesses and Farms During COVID-19

excerpt Toronto March 24  To support Ontarians through the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, the Government of Ontario is providing immediate electricity rate relief for families, small businesses and farms paying time-of-use (TOU) rates.
 

For a 45-day period, the government is working to suspend time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.
 

To deliver savings as quickly and conveniently as possible, this discount will be applied automatically to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form.
 

Ontario Closing At-Risk Workplaces to Protect Health and Safety
 

excerpt Toronto March 23 Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Ontario government will be ordering at-risk workplaces to close-down, while encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. At the same time, the government reminds businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.
 

Essential businesses include, but are not limited to grocery stores and pharmacies, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. Essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees on the front-lines.
 

At-risk workplaces will be ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th and where possible, take the necessary measures so staff can work from home allowing operations to continue.
 

List of essential workplaces
 

Ontario Orders the Mandatory Closure of All Non-Essential Workplaces to Fight Spread of COVID-19
 

excerpt Toronto March 23  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.
 

We urge the business community to share their innovative ideas and capabilities to fight COVID-19 through our new portal Ontario Together at www.ontario.ca/OntarioTogether."

 

Ontario Supporting Workers, Municipalities and Retailers in Response to COVID-19
 

excerpt Toronto March 19 The Ontario government took unprecedented action to respond to COVID-19 by convening an emergency sitting of the legislature and passing two pieces of legislation which will protect the jobs of employees who self-isolate or quarantine, help keep store shelves stocked and give municipal councils the flexibility to continue operations while maintaining social distance.
 

The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 provides job-protected leave for employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives. These measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario. The legislation will also make it clear employees cannot be required to show sick notes.
 

The Municipal Emergency Act, 2020 will ensure that for the near future, the delivery of goods to Ontario's businesses and consumers isn't impacted by municipal noise by-laws that may unintentionally be impeding such deliveries when they are most urgently needed. The legislation also gives municipalities the ability to fully conduct Council, local board and committee meetings electronically when faced with local and province-wide emergencies, empowering the government's municipal partners to respond quickly when in-person meetings cannot be held.
 

Statement from the Minister of Finance on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Ontario's Economy
 

excerpt Toronto March 16  Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance issued the following statement in response to the impact of COVID-19 on Ontario's finances and economy:
 

"The events of recent weeks have caused anxiety for individuals, families and businesses across our province and around the world. As I said last week, these developments are the latest reminder that Ontario is part of an integrated global economy. As Premier Ford has made clear, our government will ensure the necessary resources are in place to protect the health of people and our economy in this province.
 

In response to events here at home and around the world, private-sector economists have revised the economic outlook used to develop the 2020 Ontario Budget scheduled to be released next Wednesday.
 

This update will include a realistic one-year outlook based on current economic projections. It will provide certainty to hospitals, schools, municipalities, and other partners for the year to come. Our approach will include increased resources for our healthcare system, direct support for people, and action to protect jobs and our economy. This is a responsible course that maintains confidence and stability, while providing the flexibility to respond quickly to changing events.