Province of Ontario COVID-19 newsroom


The Ontario Government (Link to Newsroom)      Framework to Reopen the Province (Announced April 27, 2020)     Government of Ontario: COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers  request temporary rule or regulation change (NEW site April 29)


exerpts from media releases

July 13, 2020   The Ontario government announced nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen in Stage 3 of the province's reopening framework with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place. As Ontario continues down the path to economic recovery, decisions on which regions will enter Stage 3 and when will be made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts and based on trends of key public health indicators.

As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:

  • Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;
  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;
  • Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.

Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events.

Regions remaining in Stage 2 will maintain the existing gathering limit of 10. Social circles in all stages at this point will also be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide, regardless of stage.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID‑19:

  • Amusement parks and water parks;
  • Buffet-style food services;
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
  • Overnight stays at camps for children;
  • Private karaoke rooms;
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health guidance necessary to keep the people of Ontario safe, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.

The province is committed to working closely and collaboratively with businesses and sectors not yet able to reopen or who are experiencing significant challenges for reopening due to Stage 3 restrictions. These businesses can visit Ontario.ca/reopen to work with the government on a reopening proposal that will enable them to safely resume or increase operations. Government and public health officials will review proposals and contact businesses for feedback or clarifications.

"With almost all businesses and services able to resume operations, Stage 3 is a major step forward in our plan to reopen the province," said Minister Phillips. "We have to keep treating each other with respect and acting responsibly to keep up the progress in our fight against COVID-19. Our government will continue working with our partners across Ontario to rebuild our economy so that our province is a place of economic strength and prosperity for every person and family."

The following public health unit regions will be allowed to move into Stage 3 first, on Friday, July 17, 2020:

  • Algoma Public Health
  • Brant County Health Unit
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  • Huron Perth Public Health
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  • Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Peterborough Public Health
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Public Health Sudbury & Districts
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Southwestern Public Health
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

At the beginning of each week, the province will continue to reassess local trends in public health indicators, including rates of transmission, hospital capacity, progress on testing and contact tracing, to determine if additional public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened or reapplied.

As the province safely and gradually enters Stage 3, child care centres and home child care providers across Ontario will be able to continue to operate with strict safety and operational requirements in place. Beginning on July 27, 2020, child care centres will be permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which is an increase from the current cohort cap of 10. This change will allow parents to return to work, and bring the child care sector to approximately 90 per cent of its operating capacity before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released over 170 guidance resources at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including fitness, restaurant and food services, and the performing arts ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. Guidance will be available for all spaces permitted to open in Stage 3. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review and implement appropriate measures to help protect their communities.

"As we enter Stage 3 and continue on the path to economic recovery, it is more important than ever that we support business owners and workers," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "That is why we launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment suppliers so they can keep their employees, customers and clients safe as they resume their operations. By continuing to work together, we will ensure Ontario is prepared and well-supplied for any future challenges."

Based on community needs, some municipalities and local medical officers of health have implemented more restrictions or requirements, such as mandatory face coverings in commercial establishments and all indoor public places. Check your local public health unit's or local municipality's website.

QUICK FACTS

  • The government invites businesses not able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions to visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal.
  • For questions on restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, review the Stage 3 Emergency Order on the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • The Ontario government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply PPE.
  • The government has also launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal to help businesses retool their operations.
  • Free online workplace health and safety training is available through Employment Ontario for up to 100,000 job seekers, with topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention. Contact an Employment Ontario service provider in your area to enroll.
  • Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, is leading a new committee focused on strengthening the work of the Ontario government following the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee will ensure public sector services are customer focused and digital- and data-driven, while increasing the speed of government operations and decisions.
  • Find sector-specific guidelines and return-to-sport resources to help facilities, trainers and athletes safely return to play and recreation activities in Ontario at Ontario.ca/returntoplay.

LEARN MORE


Ontario Extends Emergency Orders
Province Maintains Flexibility to Protect Public Health as Economy Gradually Reopens

July 9, 2020  The Ontario government, in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 22, 2020. The extension was made to ensure the province maintains the necessary flexibility to protect public health and safety as more businesses reopen and people go back to work.

The extension of the emergency orders will help protect vulnerable people, such as seniors, by allowing the redeployment of frontline staff in long-term care facilities, retirement homes and other congregate care settings, like women's shelters and residential services. In addition, the extension would allow public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing.

The government intends to extend emergency orders to align with the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, if passed. This proposed legislation is part of the government's plan to cautiously reopen Ontario in a way that recognizes the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 even after the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. The bill, if passed, would allow Ontario to continue its path to recovery by easing restrictions where appropriate, while maintaining important select tools to address the ongoing threat of this deadly virus and protect Ontarians.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at Ontario.ca/alert.


Ontario Starting Down the Path to Growth, Renewal and Economic Recovery

COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act Will Help Create Jobs and Opportunities, Build Stronger Communities

July 8, 2020  The Ontario government is taking the first step in a made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery. Today, the province introduced the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, proposed legislation that lays the foundation to restart jobs and development, strengthen communities, and create opportunity for people in every region of the province.

If passed, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act will:

  • Restart jobs and development to get Ontario's economic engine roaring again by getting key infrastructure projects built faster, attracting more jobs and investment, and cutting red tape to help businesses adapt to the new environment.
  • Strengthen communities by ensuring municipalities are equipped with the tools they need to continue to provide the critical services people rely on every day, including allowing municipalities and their local boards to continue to choose to hold meetings electronically at any time and putting in place a new community benefits charge to help municipalities pay for the infrastructure and services needed for growing communities.
  • Create opportunity for people as they recover their lives and livelihoods by protecting consumers, modernizing services, improving the education system and removing the social and economic barriers that stand in the way of success for young people.

The government is committed to working in partnership with people, businesses and municipalities to respond to the challenges they face and support the long-term health and prosperity of Ontario's economy.


Ontario Introduces Legislation to Protect Public Health as Economy Reopens
Proposed Bill Would Provide Flexibility to Address the Ongoing Threat of COVID-19

July 7, 2020  The Ontario government introduced proposed legislation that, if passed, would give the province the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The proposed legislation is part of the government's plan for the continued safe and gradual reopening of the province once the declaration of emergency ends.

The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 would, if passed, ensure important measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to further extend these orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend certain emergency orders continued under the EMCPA if the amendment relates to:
    • labour redeployment or workplace and management rules;
    • closure of places and spaces or regulation of how businesses and establishments can be open to provide goods or services in a safe manner;
    • compliance with public health advice; or
    • rules related to gatherings and organized public events.
  • Not allow new emergency orders to be created.
  • Allow emergency orders to be rescinded when it is safe to do so.

The ability to extend and amend orders under the new legislation would be limited to one year, unless extended by the Ontario legislature. Appropriate oversight and transparency would be ensured through regular, mandated reporting that provides the rationale for the extension of any emergency order. The legislation would include the same types of provisions on offences and penalties as set out under the EMCPA to address non-compliance with orders.

QUICK FACTS

  • The termination of the provincial emergency declaration under the EMCPA, or the passage of the proposed Act, would not preclude a head of council of a municipality from declaring under the EMCPA that an emergency exists in any part of the municipality or from continuing such a declaration.
  • The termination of the provincial emergency declaration under the EMCPA, or the passage of the proposed Act, would not preclude the exercise of the powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health or local medical officers of health.
  • The Government of Ontario declared a provincial declaration of emergency under s.7.0.1 of the EMCPA on March 17, 2020. The declaration has been extended under s.7.0.7 of the EMCPA and is in place until July 15, 2020, allowing the province to continue to make new emergency orders or amend existing orders under the EMCPA until that date.
  • On June 26, 2020, emergency orders then in effect that were made under section 7.0.2 of the EMCPA were extended to July 10.
  • A full list of current emergency orders in effect under the EMCPA can be found on the e-Laws website under the EMCPA and at Ontario.ca/alert.

Ontario Encourages Support of Local Small Businesses
Province Promotes Shop Local, Shop Safe and Shop with Confidence Campaign

June 30, 2020  The Ontario Government is celebrating International Small Business Week with the launch of the "Shop Local! Shop Safe! Shop with Confidence!" campaign, encouraging Ontarians to support their local small businesses and to shop safely while doing so.

The province's campaign asks for mayors, local leaders and groups to support our small businesses by committing on social media to "Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence," while highlighting the best practices put in place by businesses to help keep shoppers safe while ensuring that the reopening of Ontario continues to be a success. For example, the principles of the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise encourage small businesses to strictly follow health guidelines and reopen with appropriate measures in place, so consumers can shop safely and with confidence, including:

  • Washing and sanitizing hands
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Staying home if unwell
  • Practicing respiratory etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfecting regularly

The province, in partnership with various health and safety organizations, has also released sector-specific guidelines in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These documents help workplaces better understand their responsibilities and includes best practices they can use to help them comply with their legal obligation to protect the health and safety of workers.

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario is also providing significant support to small businesses, including an investment of $150 million in rural broadband which will help businesses access a greater pool of customers as well as significantly expanding the Digital Main Street platform to help small businesses create and enhance their online presence, helping them to adapt and meet the challenges of today. The province has also implemented a ban on commercial evictions to help small businesses that have been significantly impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.
  • The Board of Directors of the POST Promise Corporation is comprised of senior level business leaders and public health experts from organizations such as: The Business Council of Canada, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Global Cities Council, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, Restaurants Canada, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, The University of Toronto, Salt XC, and Medcan.
  • The Ontario Government reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate by 8.7 percent starting January 1, 2020. This will deliver up to $1,500 in annual savings to more than 275,000 businesses.
  • Ontario’s Small Business Success Strategy, launched prior to COVID-19, identified the need for small businesses across the province to build or enhance their online presence to remain competitive and expand their markets. COVID-19 has further reinforced the need for Ontario small businesses to embrace digital tools, including having online storefronts and expanding them. The Strategy also seeks to promote entrepreneurship in all of Ontario’s diverse communities.
  • To further support small businesses with physical storefronts impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, Ontario has implemented a Temporary Ban on Commercial Evictions

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to July 10
As more communities enter Stage 2, maintaining health and safety protocols remains a top priority

June 27, 2020  TORONTO — The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until July 10, 2020, while removing restrictions that were limiting access to certain sport training facilities. This decision was made in consultation with Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health to ensure the safe and gradual reopening of the province on a regional basis can continue as part of Ontario's Framework for Reopening the Province.

The extension of the emergency orders will allow key measures needed in the fight against COVID-19 to continue, including allowing frontline health care providers and public health units to redeploy staff where they are needed most, while providing the government with the tools it needs to successfully steer the province through the next stage of reopening and beyond.

In addition, the government has removed certain restrictions for Stage 2 indoor sports and recreational fitness activities facilities. This will enable the facilities to be used by more businesses and organizations to train amateur or professional athletes, or to run certain non-contact amateur or professional athletic competitions. In all cases, facility owners would only be able to permit activities to occur in a way that meets public health requirements. These changes will also enable many sports and recreational organizations around the province to again offer sport training programming, helping more people return to sport in Ontario.

On June 24, Ontario announced the extension of the Declaration of Emergency to July 15, allowing the province to continue to make or amend emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The government continues to review all these emergency orders to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as restrictions are eased and more places in the province reopen in a safe and measured way.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at Ontario.ca/alert.
 


Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to July 15

Province Focuses on Safe, Gradual Reopening of Regions

June 24, 2020   In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 15, 2020. This extension, approved by the Ontario Legislature earlier today, provides Ontario with the additional time, flexibility, and the necessary tools to safely and gradually allow more places to reopen, while continuing to support frontline health care providers in the fight against COVID-19.

The provincial Declaration of Emergency enables the government to make, and as needed amend, emergency orders that protect the health and safety of all Ontarians. Emergency orders in force under the Declaration of Emergency include those allowing frontline care providers to redeploy staff to areas most in need, limiting long-term care and retirement home employees to working at one home, and enabling public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support the province's enhanced case management and contact tracing strategy. These measures continue to be needed to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations from the threat of COVID-19. The extension of the Declaration of Emergency will allow the province to make or amend emergency orders as needed as it continues to ease restrictions in support of its phased reopening.

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government will continue to monitor public health trends related to COVID-19 and assess on an ongoing basis whether the provincial Declaration of Emergency needs to be extended further. The government will also continue to review emergency orders currently in place to determine when and if it is safe to amend or lift them as more places in the province are allowed to reopen in a safe and measured way.

As of June 24, 33 public health unit regions have entered Stage 2 of the Framework for Reopening our Province, allowing more businesses and services to open and getting more people back to work. The Windsor-Essex County public health unit region remains in Stage 1 and the situation in the region will continue to be assessed on an ongoing basis.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at Ontario.ca/alert.
 


Ontario Investing to Help Franco-Ontarian Communities Grow and Support Recovery
Francophone Community Grants Program will continue supporting the vitality of Ontario’s francophone organizations and businesses

June 24, 2020   As the province begins its economic recovery, the government is launching the 2020-21 edition of the Francophone Community Grants Program to support Ontario's francophone businesses and community organizations, as well as those that serve French-speaking Ontarians.

"Our government is committed to supporting Ontario's Francophone community through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond," said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Francophone Affairs. "This year's investment in the Francophone Community Grants Program will help Francophone organizations and businesses implement new projects and initiatives and contribute to our recovery."

The Francophone Community Grants Program is a two-stream, application-based funding program. Funding provided under the Economic Development stream helps francophone entrepreneurs and businesses improve front-line services and better serve their French-speaking clients and partners. Under the Cultural and Community stream, the Program invests in local cultural and community initiatives, demonstrating the government's ongoing commitment to protecting and promoting the French language and culture.

The Program supports projects which strengthen the capacity of organizations to provide products and services in French, promote the recruitment and training of bilingual staff, or provide opportunities to celebrate and foster understanding of Ontario's Francophonie. This year, the Economic Development stream has been extended to include not-for-profit organizations, in addition to for-profit organizations.


Ontario Prepares for the Safe Reopening of Schools
Province Releases School Safety Plan for the 2020-21 School Year

June 19, 2020  Today, the Ontario government released its safety plan for the resumption of class for the 2020-21 school year, outlining scenarios for how students, teachers and staff can safely return to classrooms in September. The plan also provides choice to parents, enhanced online learning, and additional funding. While the decision to return to the normal school day routine will continue to be based on medical advice, boards and schools are being asked to plan for alternative scenarios that may need to be implemented in September depending on the province's COVID-19 situation.

Ontario's plan to safely reopen schools will provide options for parents - to send their children in-class or to enter online learning - with health, safety and well-being at its core. Boards will be asked to plan for the following three scenarios to be implemented in September, depending on the public health situation at the time:

  1. Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols - Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.
  2. Modified school day routine - Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.
  3. At home learning - Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their child back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teacher at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.

The government is instructing school boards to be prepared with a plan, should it be required, that includes an adapted delivery model, which could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, among a variety of other considerations to ensure the safety of students and staff.

The government's safety plan for schools was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, education sector partners, frontline workers, parents and students. While this plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice and recommendations available, parents who do not feel comfortable having their children physically return to school will have a choice to pursue online remote learning.


Ontario Supporting Indigenous-Owned Businesses During COVID-19
Government providing loans to struggling small and medium-sized businesses

June 19, 2020   The government of Ontario is providing up to $10 million to Indigenous-owned small and medium sized businesses to help them with much needed capital as the province begins to safely and gradually reopen the economy.

Loans of up to $50,000 will be available to businesses that are either ineligible for, or unable to access, existing federal and provincial COVID-19 response initiatives for small businesses. The funding is being delivered through the Support for People and Jobs Fund.

Loans will be available through Aboriginal Financial Institutions. Up to 50% of each loan will be in the form of a non-repayable grant, with no interest due on the loan portion until December 31, 2022. Businesses may use these funds to cover general expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities and taxes. They may also be used towards increasing production capacity, developing new products, moving to online marketing, or to make improvements to accommodate social distancing requirements, such as the installation of plexiglass barriers.


Ontario to Gradually Reopen DriveTest Centres Across Province
Province resumes driver testing in safe, phased approach to support physical distancing

June 18, 2020   Ontario's driver testing services provider, DriveTest, will begin offering limited services across the province beginning Monday, June 22, 2020, with the expectation of restoring full services by September. This gradual, staggered approach, based on customer date of birth, will ensure that strict protocols are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

DriveTest centres will begin serving customers based on when they were born to reduce crowding, support new requirements for physical distancing, health checks and enhanced sanitation. People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre the first week of reopening, and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week. Access to DriveTest services will continue to alternate weekly until full services are restored.

In the first phase, all 56 full-time DriveTest centres will reopen on Monday for G1 and M1 knowledge tests, driver's licence exchanges and commercial driver's licence applications and upgrades. Commercial road tests will also be available by appointment at 28 locations across Ontario.

Details of the DriveTest reopening plan, which outline the driver testing services available, how to access DriveTest centres, and which customers are being served each week, will be updated every Monday on DriveTest.ca.


Ontario Pauses Commercial Evictions
Government protecting small businesses as the province safely and gradually reopens

June 17, 2020  The Ontario government passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.

"We know COVID-19 has had a significant impact on small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "This Legislation will allow us to protect small businesses and help them get back on their feet so they can continue to create jobs and participate in the rebuilding of the provincial economy."

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
 


Ontario Supports Ontario's Beverage Alcohol Sector During COVID-19
Buy Local to Celebrate Ontario Craft Beer Week and Ontario Wine Week

June 17, 2020   The Ontario government is encouraging consumers to mark Ontario Craft Beer Week and Ontario Wine Week by supporting local beverage alcohol producers as the province takes additional steps to help the sector recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The government is increasing choice and convenience for consumers by working to expand made-in-Ontario options at the LCBO. This includes increased marketing, converting available shelf space to profile Ontario products, and making more products available for sale, including bag-in-box wine and those made in the province. The supports are effective June 21 until October 2020.

"Buying local not only supports Ontario's wineries, breweries, cideries, distilleries and other local producers, but it also means getting a quality product to enjoy responsibly," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. "Our alcohol sector told us they are being negatively impacted by the measures that have been necessary to contain COVID-19. That's why our government is taking steps to help these local businesses continue providing good jobs for people in Ontario and producing the products consumers enjoy."

This initiative is part of a number of ways the government is supporting Ontario's beverage alcohol sector, including:

  • Pausing increases to beer and wine taxes, previously scheduled to take effect in spring 2020;
  • Temporarily allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.;
  • Temporarily allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell spirits at a lower price with food takeout and delivery orders;
  • Allowing restaurants and bars to temporarily create or extend outdoor patio spaces to safely accommodate patrons and staff once licensed establishments are permitted to reopen for business;
  • Making it easier for cideries to sell directly to consumers by temporarily removing the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit to qualify for an on-site store;
  • Extending the Ontario Wine and Grape Strategy to 2021-22, providing $7.5 million annually for VQA Support, $4.8 million annually for marketing and promotion, $250,000 for research and $250,000 for benchmarking; and
  • Extending the Small Cidery and Small Distillery Support Program to 2021-22, providing $2.6 million annually to help eligible businesses grow and scale up their operations.

With most of the province in stage two of Ontario's Framework to Reopen Our Province, many people can now enjoy Ontario-made beverage alcohol on patios of their local bars and restaurants.


Ontario Extends Emergency Orders

Province Focuses on Safe, Gradual Approach as Reopening Continues

June 17, 2020 The Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This extension will be in effect until June 30, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to safely and gradually reopen the province, while continuing to support frontline health care workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19.

While current emergency orders will remain in place until the end of the month, the government will continue to review each one on an ongoing, case-by-case basis to determine when and if they can safely be adjusted or lifted, as part of the province's framework to safely reopen the province.

Over the past week, the government announced 31 public health unit regions across the province may proceed to Stage 2 of its Framework for Reopening the Province. This will allow additional businesses and services to reopen and more people to return to work.

In addition, larger social gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed in all parts of the province, and people are encouraged to create or join a social circle. Social circles are different from social gatherings. Social gatherings of people from outside your household are limited to 10 people. A social circle is voluntary, but if adopted should include all household members, and can include family and friends outside the household up to a maximum of 10 people in the social circle, who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing. To learn how to create a social circle, please see the step-by-step guide.

To help stop the spread, people should continue to follow public health guidelines, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering where physical distancing is a challenge and washing their hands thoroughly and frequently. Anyone who is worried they may have COVID-19, or who may have been exposed to the virus, is encouraged to go for testing.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at Ontario.ca/alert.


Ontario Releases Guide on How to Develop a Workplace Safety Plan
New Toolkit Will Help Employers Create Safer Working Environments for Employees during COVID-19

June 16, 2020   The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, which will help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province.

The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers.

The government's first general workplace guide is accompanied by a template that employers can fill in to develop their own unique COVID-19 safety plan. The materials will help employers:

  • Identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact and actions such as touching faces with hands that have been contaminated by contact with surfaces and objects;
  • Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk, such as engineering controls like the installation of plexiglass to separate workers from customers, administrative controls limiting the number of workers in a space at one time, and personal protective equipment including face and eye protection;
  • Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer's workplace;
  • Implement the plan in the workplace, and review and update it as the situation evolves; and
  • Communicate the actions being taken to workers and other people entering the workplace.

Ontario Develops Additional Learning Materials for Students and Teachers
Focus is on science, technology, engineering and math

June 15, 2020   The Ontario government, in partnership with Science North and the Ontario Science Centre, is creating additional educational content for students and teachers during the school closures resulting from COVID-19. The province is providing up to $1.5 million to create made-in-Ontario videos and resources to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning. The resources will align with the four science strands in the curriculum and will help students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Science North will create resources for elementary school teachers and students, while the Ontario Science Centre will develop materials for secondary school teachers and students. All resources will be accessible and available in both English and French and will include:

  • Professional development videos for educators
  • Virtual and at-home hands-on STEM activities for students
  • Activities and student worksheets which can be printed and distributed through school boards

Resources can be accessed online at Science North and the Ontario Science Centre websites, with additional material being released weekly. Activities will use everyday objects and supplies so students can participate easily at home.

QUICK FACTS

  • English and French-language materials continue to be added to Learn at Home on a regular basis to provide new and compelling content throughout the school closure period. There are now 43 English courses and 37 French-language courses available on the Learn at Home site for secondary students to review, refresh and extend their learning as part of independent study.

The ministry is working with all school boards in the Broadband Modernization Program to deliver access to reliable, fast, secure and affordable internet services at school for all Ontario students and educators. As of April 30, 2020, broadband modernization is complete at 1,983 schools and in progress at 2,954 schools


More People Can Get Back to Work as Additional Businesses and Services to Reopen This Week
Ontario Moving More Regions into Stage 2 on Friday

June 15, 2020   More people will be able to get back to work as additional businesses and services in certain regions across Ontario can begin reopening this Friday. The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health, is enabling more regions of the province to enter Stage 2 of the government's reopening framework. These regions are able to reopen due to positive trends of key public health indicators at the local level, including lower transmission of COVID-19, sufficient hospital health system capacity, local public health capacity to assist with rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing provincially.

Informed by public health advice and workplace safety guidance, and supported by the collective efforts of businesses, workers and families to limit the potential spread of the virus, the latest public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. are:

  • Durham Region Health Department;
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
  • Halton Region Health Department;
  • Hamilton Public Health Services;
  • Lambton Health Unit;
  • Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
  • York Region Public Health Services.

These regions are in addition to the 24 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12, 2020. Before opening, business owners need to review the workplace safety guidelines and public health advice.


Ontario Eases Restrictions on Wedding and Funeral Ceremonies
Attendees Will Still be Required to Practice Physical Distancing

June 13, 2020   The Ontario government is providing more flexibility on the number of attendees permitted at indoor and outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies, in recognition of the importance of being with loved ones during the moments that matter most.

Based on positive public health trends the government is extending the number of people allowed to attend an indoor wedding or funeral ceremony to a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice, including practising physical distancing from people who are not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.

The maximum number of people allowed to attend indoor or outdoor wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10 people.


Ontarians Encouraged to Establish Social Circles
Creating a Close Group of up to 10 People Will Help Reduce Social Isolation

June 12, 2020   People throughout Ontario are being encouraged to establish a social "circle" of no more than 10 people who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing. Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, updated public health advice to come into effect immediately province-wide to allow social circles of up to 10 members, including those outside the immediate household. Social circles will support the mental health and well-being of Ontarians and help reduce social isolation.

Ontarians who wish to form a safe social circle should follow these five simple steps:

  1. Start with your current circle: the people you live with or who regularly come into your household;
  2. If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including those from another household, family members or friends;
  3. Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle;
  4. Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle; and
  5. Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.

The province has developed a practical step-by-step guide to help Ontarians as they safely develop and join a social circle.


Ontario and Canada Helping Small Businesses Go Digital
$57 Million Investment in Digital Main Street Will Help Businesses Reopen, Recover and Grow Long after COVID-19

June 11, 2020   The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.

Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

In response, the Ontario government is providing significant support to small business. Along with the Digital Main Street platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario small businesses. In addition, the province has proposed a ban on commercial evictions to help businesses that have been impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.


Ontario Introduces Public Transit Safety Guidance
Measures designed to keep passengers and employees safe as more people go back to work during COVID-19

June 11, 2020   The guidance document provides transit agencies with best practices and tips to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as maintaining physical distance between people whenever possible, highly recommending that passengers wear face coverings or non-medical masks when taking transit, practicing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, installing physical barriers between drivers and passengers, using physical markers between seats and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.

The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, has identified over 40 actions to help keep staff and passengers safe when riding GO trains, GO buses and the UP Express. These strategies include:

  • Piloting health and safety kiosks that provide customers with tools and advice on how to stay safe.
  • Enhanced deep-cleaning processes for vehicles and in stations.
  • Providing hand sanitizer on every GO bus and in every station, so passengers can apply during their trip.
  • Installing dividers for safety on GO trains and buses.


Ontario Unveils a Plan to Reopen Postsecondary Education
Phased Approach Prioritizes the Health and Safety of Students and Staff

June 10, 2020  The Ontario government has developed a plan for the gradual and safe resumption of in-person instruction at postsecondary institutions across the province for the summer term. The plan was developed in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Starting in July 2020, limited in-person education and training may restart for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures. This first phase will allow institutions to reopen to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and other critical professions. Thousands of students across the province could benefit from this summer's reopening.

In September, all students will have the opportunity to attend postsecondary education through virtual learning, in-class instruction, or hybrid formats.


Beaches and Campsites to Open at Ontario Parks
People encouraged to enjoy the outdoors responsibly during COVID-19

June 10, 2020   As part of the Ontario government's Stage 2 reopening plan, more facilities and services will be available at provincial parks in certain regions beginning on June 12, 2020. Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds, providing more washrooms and drinking water, along with roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields. It's important to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.

The following is a list of recreational activities and facilities that will be opening soon at provincial parks in regions entering Stage 2:

  • On June 12, beaches at Ontario Parks will begin opening to the public as maintenance and water testing are completed.
  • On June 15, campers enrolled in this year's Ontario Parks' Seasonal Campsite Program will now have access to their campsites at the majority of participating provincial parks. Those who were preselected in 2019 for the program will be contacted by Ontario Parks directly regarding the status of their reservation.
  • Beginning the week of June 22, all other campgrounds in regions entering Stage 2 will gradually open at provincial parks, along with washrooms, water taps and trailer sanitation stations.
  • Roofed accommodations (e.g., yurts, cabins and lodges, where available), park store and rental operations, visitor centers, and sports fields will be phased in over the next several weeks.  

Facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season.  

Visitors should check OntarioParks.com to see what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.
 


Ontario Helping Parents Return to Work

Province Reopening Child Care with Strict Protocols to Keep Kids and Staff Safe

June 9, 2020   As the province continues to implement its Framework for Reopening the Province, child care centres and home care providers across Ontario will be able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements in place, similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres. Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:

  • Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;
  • COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
  • Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting.  Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
  • Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
  • Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
  • No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
  • Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.

Effectively immediately, staff can re-enter child care facilities and begin preparation for reopening. When these operators have met all the strict and stringent guidelines for reopening, they will be permitted to reopen.

Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with strict health and safety protocols in place, the government is now enabling summer day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer. Strict health and safety guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health in partnership with public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities, and distributed to local public health teams earlier this month. At this time, overnight camps are not permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.


Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days
Restrictions Being Eased in Communities Where It Is Safe to Do So

June 8, 2020   Ontario government announced that it is getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open by moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province.

Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.

Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. include:

  • Algoma Public Health
  • Brant County Health Unit
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  • Huron Perth Public Health
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  • Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Peterborough Public Health
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Public Health Sudbury & Districts
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Southwestern Public Health
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

"We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus," said Premier Ford. "Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet."

Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on:

  • Child care;
  • Summer camps;
  • Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
  • Training centres; and
  • Public transit.

At the beginning of each week, the government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of these regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.

Everyone, regardless of where they live in the province, must continue to follow public health advice, including to practise physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.

The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released more than 100 health and safety guidance documents at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including retail, restaurant and food services and child care ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review these guidance documents and implement appropriate measures to help protect their workers and customers.
 


Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Support Its Reopening Efforts
Province Extends the Suspension of Limitation Periods and Time Periods for Legal Proceedings until September

June 6, 2020  The Ontario government, after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 19, 2020. Extending these emergency orders will give employers of frontline care providers the necessary flexibility to respond to COVID-19 and protect vulnerable people and the public as the province gradually and safely reopens.

Current emergency orders that have been extended include those that enable frontline care providers to redeploy staff where they are needed most, allow public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing, and prohibits long-term care and retirement home employees from working at more than one home or for another health service provider.

Additionally, due to COVID-19's unprecedented impact on the justice system, the province is extending the suspension of limitation periods and time periods in proceedings until September 11, 2020 under s.7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This will ensure people will not experience legal consequences if the original time requirements of their case are not met while this order is in effect. The province is working closely with the courts to ensure operations can resume as soon as it is safely possible.

Review the original media release for the emergency orders under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act which have been extended until June 19, 2020:


Ontario Creates Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity

New Council to Advise Government on Challenges Facing Youth, Especially during COVID-19

June 4, 2020  Today, the Ontario government announced the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity, a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. The council will also advise government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair. Membership will be intergenerational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.

The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today, such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities, will serve as chair of the council for the first year. He will work to engage directly with young people and communities across the province to identify strategies to remove barriers for youth at risk to help ensure they are not left behind.

The Ontario government is further supporting Black communities to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 by allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth. This funding will be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports and address the immediate needs of children, youth and families.

Those interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18, 2020. Eligible candidates should have expertise in areas such as community service, business, education, and government services such as youth justice and child welfare.


Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency until June 30

Extension Key to Protecting Ontarians as Province Safely Reopens

June 2, 2020   In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency to June 30. The decision supports the government's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way. The extension, under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was approved by the Ontario legislature earlier today.

"Extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency will allow us to safely and gradually reopen the province, while we continue to use every resource at our disposal to battle this deadly virus," said Premier Doug Ford. "We are not out of the woods yet, so it is critical that we exercise caution to keep everyone safe, including protecting our most vulnerable citizens in long-term care homes, retirement homes and group homes."

As Ontario charts a path to recovery, the Declaration will support the continued enforcement of emergency orders that give hospitals and long-term care homes the necessary flexibility to respond to COVID-19 and protect vulnerable populations and the public as the province reopens.

Current emergency orders include allowing frontline care providers to redeploy staff where they are needed most, enabling public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing, limiting long-term care and retirement home staff to working at one home, and preventing unfair pricing of necessary goods.

The Declaration of Emergency may be further extended with the approval of the legislature, as set out in the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and at Ontario.ca/alert.


Ontario Provides Consumers with Greater Stability and Predictability with Their Electricity Bills

June 1, 2020   As Ontarians continue to work and learn from home, we are extending the suspension of time-of-use price to provide consumers with greater stability and predictability with their electricity bills.

To extend this support responsibly, we will introduce a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This fixed electricity price will be in place from June 1 - October 31, 2020. 

The COVID-19 Recovery Rate will be in place until October 31, 2020, followed by a new customer choice initiative. Starting November 1, 2020, customers will be able to choose a plan that best suits their household and lifestyle with the option of either TOU electricity rates or tiered pricing, which will provide a set rate for electricity up to a certain level of consumption.

The COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8¢/kWh is based on the average cost of electricity, set by the Ontario Energy Board.



Backcountry Camping available at Ontario Parks and on Crown Lands Starting June 1
Province providing more activities to help people get outside and enjoy nature while physical distancing

May 30, 2020   The Ontario government is gradually reintroducing camping in Ontario Parks and recreational camping on Crown land, starting June 1, 2020, to give people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, while staying safe and practicing physical distancing.

As of June 1, backcountry camping will be available at Ontario Parks, including access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails. Ontario Parks will also be expanding day-use activities to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas.

The closure of all other overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves has been extended to June 14 and will continue to be reassessed. All buildings and facilities including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitor centers, park stores, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. Some washroom facilities may be available.

Ontario Parks will begin collecting fees for day-use and backcountry camping access as of June 1. Please visit Ontario parks and click on the "Fees" tab to find out more. Advanced reservations or registrations will be required at most of the 20 operating provincial parks that are offering backcountry camping.
 


Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak
Public health and safety remain top priorities

May 27, 2020   The Ontario government continues to protect the health and safety of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak by extending all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Additionally, there continues to be restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women's shelters.

"We are extending these emergency orders to protect the health and safety of all individuals and families as we begin to gradually and safely reopen our province," said Premier Doug Ford. "To build on the progress we have made to contain COVID-19, people should continue to follow these simple public health guidelines, practise physical distancing, wear a mask when it is a challenge to physical distance, and wash their hands regularly. If you think you have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to the virus, go to an assessment centre and get tested. Please stay safe."

The following emergency orders have been extended until June 9, 2020:

The following orders have also been extended:

Ontario Helps People Impacted by COVID-19 Get Back to Work
New Programs Focus on Hospitality Workers and Apprentices

May 22, 2020   As the economy gradually reopens, the Ontario government is helping people affected by COVID-19 get back to work. The province is investing in Ontario's first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools.

The government is providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. This will help new eligible apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers. The funding amounts will be distributed as follows:

  • $1,000 for those in motive power sector trades;
  • $600 for those in construction and industrial sector trades;
  • $400 for those in service sector trades.

To be eligible for the new grant, apprentices must have:

  • completed level 1 training on or after April 1, 2020;
  • an active registered training agreement; and
  • been registered as an apprentice for at least 12 months.

The government is also forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers. The Loans for Tools Program allowed thousands of new apprentices to buy tools, equipment, clothing, manuals and code books required for their trade. About 19,000 apprentices who participated in the program owed, on average, $495.
 


Ontario Makes it Easier to Conduct Business during COVID-19
Legislative changes allow corporations to operate virtually and electronically

May 22, 2020   The Government of Ontario is making it easier for people to conduct business and practice physical distancing in the new COVID-19 environment. The province is permitting Ontario corporations to conduct virtual meetings and to defer certain annual meetings in specified circumstances and is allowing the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of documents, electronic signatures on documents, and electronic filing of documents. These changes are part of COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020.

Providing temporary flexibility to hold meetings virtually, defer annual meetings in specified circumstances, and submit e-filings will help Ontario corporations to safely meet their obligations during the COVID-19 outbreak while reducing the number of touchpoints needed to file documentation. Additionally, the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020 will permanently allow the Ministry to accept copies of documents signed by electronic signature, providing greater flexibility to businesses moving forward.
 


As Ontario Reopens, People Urged to Continue Following Public Health Advice
Face coverings now recommended when physical distancing is a challenge

May 20, 2020   As the Ontario government carefully and gradually reopens the province, those taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19. To assist the public, the Ministry of Health today released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible, along with additional safety measures for provincial transit agencies.

In order to assist people and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health released the following face covering recommendations:

  • Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;
  • Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries;
  • Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.

Workers and employers may also consider using face coverings as an additional public health measure in addition to mandatory occupational health and safety measures.

To assist provincial transit agencies in protecting transit staff and riders in this new environment, the Ministry of Health is also recommending the following measures be put in place:

  • Physical distancing of at least two metres by admitting fewer passengers and using physical markers between seats;
  • The use of face coverings, particularly when physical distancing is not feasible;
  • Ensuring the availability of alcohol-based hand rub upon entering and exiting the vehicle;
  • Implementing engineering controls like plexiglass windows between drivers and passengers; and
  • Enhanced cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces.

Health and Safety Top Priority as Schools Remain Closed
Government unveils plans for reopening child care, day camps and initiatives to strengthen learning into the summer

May 19, 2020   The Ontario government is protecting the health and safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak by keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year.  At the same time, the government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols for the safety of Ontario's youngest learners and their staff.

Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August of this year with strict health and safety guidelines to be developed in partnership with local public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities. Overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in the summer of 2020. 


Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Keep People Safe
Some Outdoor Recreational Amenities Reopening with Restrictions


May 19, 2020   The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020. That includes the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women's shelters.

Today, the province officially enters the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective as of Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province's reopening plan.

In addition, the government has approved an exemption to the emergency order related to gatherings to allow Ontarians to attend drive-in religious gatherings, under certain conditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The conditions include keeping vehicles two metres or more apart, only members of the same household can be in one vehicle, people will not be able to leave their vehicles, and no more than five people can conduct the service at one time from outside a motor vehicle and they must stay at least two metres apart.


Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen
Additional seasonal, retail and household businesses must follow public health guidelines

May 14, 2020  The Ontario government announced the retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government's reopening framework. The workplaces opening as part this stage are well-positioned to put workplace safety measures in place and get more people back to work, while not overburdening public transit and other services.

As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020:

  • Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
  • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will include:

  • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
  • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
  • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling; in-person services, in addition to virtual services, delivered by health professionals; and scheduled surgeries, all based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing. As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional resources will be made available to help protect the safety of workers and the general public.

To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. 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.


Declaration of Emergency Extended While Ontario Gradually Reopens the Economy
New legislation will allow for more virtual or remote transactions during COVID-19
 

May 12, 2020   The Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely.
 

Passed during a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature today, the Declaration of Emergency has been extended until June 2. The declaration will allow Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people. Since the emergency was first declared on March 17, the government has taken over 150 actions to help protect individuals, families, and businesses from the impacts of COVID-19.
 

A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
 


School Boards Encouraged to Celebrate Student Achievement When it is Safe to Do So

May 11, 2020 Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, encouraged school boards to proceed with celebrations of student achievement subject to health and safety limitations during the COVID-19 outbreak:

"Students have worked incredibly hard this school year, and we know that the COVID-19 outbreak has forced some schools to cancel or delay important milestones to recognize student achievement, such as prom and graduation ceremonies. I am encouraging boards to reschedule these events based on input from local medical officers of health. In some cases, this might mean facilitating graduation ceremonies and proms during the summer or fall when it is safe to do so.”
 


Ontario Opening Provincial Parks and Conservation ReservesAccess for Limited Recreational Activities at Ontario Parks Permitted While Maintaining Physical Distancing

May 9, 2020   The Ontario government is opening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The first areas will open on Monday, May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday, May 15, 2020. At this time, recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month. 
 


Ontario Eases Restrictions on Professional Sports Training Facilities

May 8, 2020  Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries,

I am pleased to announce that beginning today in Ontario, professional sport training facilities will be permitted to reopen, provided their respective sports leagues have established health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.


Ontario Extends Electricity Rate Relief During COVID-19
Residential, farm and small business customers continue to benefit from temporary relief measure

May 6, 2020   The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This electricity rate relief, initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, 2020, has been extended by an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The rate relief is intended to be in place for an additional 24 days.  


EXTENSION OF MANDATORY CLOSURES - May 19th 

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is also extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020. The emergency orders include:


Certain Businesses Allowed to Reopen Under Strict Safety Guidelines
Steady Decrease in COVID-19 Cases Required Before Beginning Next Stage of Reopening

May 1, 2020   The Ontario government is allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.

Today's announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has provided general recommendations on how the openings of businesses and workplaces could be implemented to support safe operations, including strict adherence to health and safety requirements.

"We are allowing certain businesses to reopen under strict guidelines because we are confident they can operate safely and adapt to the current environment," said Premier Ford. "While further reductions in the spread are needed before we can begin reopening the province, we have the right framework and the right workplace guidelines in place to do so gradually and safely." 

The government, in partnership with Ontario's health and safety associations, has developed more than 60 guidelines in response to COVID-19. These sector-specific measures will help employers prepare their workplaces so they can be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected.

By following the proper health and safety guidelines these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
  • Lawn care and landscaping;
  • Additional essential construction projects that include:
    • shipping and logistics;
    • broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
    • any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
    • municipal projects;
    • colleges and universities;
    • child care centres;
    • schools; and
    • site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes;
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.
     

"Ontario workers and businesses have shown exemplary cooperation and resilience throughout the course of this crisis," said Minister Fedeli. "We're beginning to ease restrictions on select businesses as we carefully and methodically re-open Ontario's economy and continue together on our path to renewed prosperity."

Although certain businesses are being permitted to reopen, it is critical that people continue to stay home, practise physical distancing and only go out for essential reasons, to pick up groceries, prescriptions or to keep a medical appointment. It is through these simple actions that Ontario is making progress to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"As we begin planning for the next phase of our fight against COVID-19, Ontarians should continue to stay home as much as possible to ensure we stop as quickly as possible the spread of this virus," said Minister Elliott. "While we have made tremendous progress in our shared battle against this new virus, we are not done yet. We need to keep up the fight by continuing to practise physical distancing and good hygiene habits."
 

On April 27, the government released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts are using to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.
 

While the government remains in Phase One of Ontario's Action Plan in response to COVID-19, Protect and Support, allowing certain businesses and workplaces to open under strict guidelines demonstrates the government's commitment to balance the needs of the economy with the health and safety of the people of Ontario.
 

"People's efforts are paying off and we can see a light at the end of the tunnel," said Minister Phillips. "Our response has always been based on the current status of the outbreak in our province, and on what makes sense for Ontario. To be clear ― we haven't moved into the reopening phase of our response to COVID-19. Not yet. But based on the best public health advice available to us, we are a step closer."
 


Ontario Providing Employers with Workplace Safety Guidelines
Province Takes Critical Steps to Help Businesses Adapt to New Environment

April 28, 2020   The Ontario government is ensuring employers have the safety guidelines they need to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19 as it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy.

The government safety guidelines released today will provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector. These measures build on more than 60 guidelines developed by Ontario's health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees. 

"We all want to reopen our businesses, services and favourite places across the province, but we must do it in a safe and responsible way," said Premier Ford. "That's why we are providing clear guidelines to employers, with practical measures to help them keep staff and customers safe while preventing the spread of COVID-19. By taking these steps, we will be prepared to get people back to work when the time is right."
 

These new sector-specific guidelines feature recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19, including:

  • Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
  • Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays.
  • Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing handwashing before and after breaks.
     

The government is also issuing posters to promote a variety of useful safety tips. The posters offer helpful advice on physical distancing and sanitation. They are downloadable from the Ontario.ca website so employers can print and post them in their workplaces.
 

"We are truly in extraordinary times and employers and employees are facing situations they have never had to deal with before," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "It is incumbent on our government, with the advice of health officials, to provide the guidance and tips outlining the safest ways to reopen workplaces and help prevent the spread."
 

The government will work with Ontario's health and safety associations to bring forward additional workplace safety guidelines for more sectors in the coming days and weeks.
 

Starting this week, 58 new inspectors will join the hundreds of existing provincial labour inspectors on the ground. The inspectors, which include workers from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) and the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), will be tasked with communicating COVID-19 safety guidelines to essential workplaces or enforcing emergency measures, including physical distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses.
 


Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province 
Premier and Ministers Commit to New Phased Approach for a Safe Restart and Recovery

April 27, 2020  The Ontario government released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.
 

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.
 

  • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
     

Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.
 

Starting this week, 58 new inspectors will join the hundreds of existing provincial labour inspectors on the ground. The inspectors, which include workers from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) and the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT), will be tasked with communicating COVID-19 safety guidelines to essential workplaces or enforcing emergency measures, including physical distancing and the closure of non-essential businesses.



School Closures Extended to Keep Students, Staff and Families Safe
Students Will Still Be Able to Complete School Year

April 26, 2020 Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020, as part of an effort to keep students, staff and families safe from COVID-19.
 

The extension was based on expert advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health officials on the COVID-19 Command Table and is part of the government's ongoing effort to stop the spread of the virus. The advice was to extend school closures for an additional period of time to permit updated modelling and data to inform next steps, given the government's absolute commitment to safety.

"Regardless of what transpires over the coming weeks, Ontario's students will be able to complete their school year with confidence," added Minister Lecce. "In particular, for students in their final year, we are removing all impediments to ensure students graduate and pursue post-secondary education." 


Ontario Supporting Frontline Heroes of COVID-19 with Pandemic Pay
Government Recognizes the Dedication and Sacrifice of Frontline Workers

April 25, 2020   In recognition of the dedication, long hours and increased risk of working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government is providing frontline staff with a temporary pandemic payment.

This increase will provide four dollars per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employee's hourly wage. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months. This means that eligible employees working an average of 40 hours per week would receive $3,560 in additional compensation. Those eligible to receive the payment will be staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals.


Ontario Parks to Remain Closed until May 31, 2020
Extension required to keep people safe and stop the spread of COVID-19

April 25, 2020 TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, issued the following statement on Ontario Parks operations in response to COVID-19:

"In order to keep Ontarians safe during this COVID-19 outbreak, our government is extending the closure of Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves to May 31, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities, access points and all public buildings.

Provincial parks and conservation reserves will continue to remain fully closed to all recreational activities.

Reservations for arrivals up to, and including, any further closure extension date will be automatically cancelled and reservation holders will receive a full refund with no penalty. We are also providing penalty-free refunds to reservation holders who wish to change or cancel their 2020 camping reservation, regardless of arrival date.

Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information.


Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19
New order issued to support people with mental health and addictions issues

April 23, 2020  On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 6, 2020. This extension will help protect the health and well-being of people across the province and stop the spread of COVID-19.
 

This Emergency Order extension includes the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and limiting staff from working in more than one retirement home or long-term care home.
 

"We are making steady progress in our battle against this deadly virus, but we are not out of the woods by a long shot. It is absolutely necessary to extend these emergency orders to continue keeping all Ontarians safe and healthy," said Premier Doug Ford. "Every effort made by each of us to stay home, practise physical distancing and wash your hands has been, and will continue to be, the key to stopping the spread of this virus."
 

In addition, the government has introduced a new measure to allow mental health and addictions agencies to redeploy staff within different locations or between programs, and employ extra part-time staff, temporary staff or contractors in order to ensure people continue receiving the high quality care they expect and deserve during the COVID-19 outbreak. Agencies would be required to provide appropriate training and education to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.


Ontario Takes Further Action to Protect Vulnerable People from COVID-19

Province makes it easier to reassign staff where they are needed most

April 21, 2020   To help stop the spread of COVID-19 among the province's most vulnerable citizens and ensure frontline services can continue to be delivered in priority areas, the Ontario government has issued new temporary emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

"Every day, incredible sacrifices are being made by frontline workers in every region of the province to care for our most vulnerable citizens," said Premier Doug Ford. "In order to better protect our seniors, people with various abilities, and the homeless population, along with our heroic frontline workers, our government is adopting emergency measures to provide flexibility in a variety of staffing arrangements to help stop the spread of this terrible virus."


Ontario Enables Auto Insurance Companies to Provide Driver Rebates During COVID-19
Regulatory Changes Open the Door for Auto Insurance Rebates


April 16, 2020   The Ontario government is enabling 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.

By amending this regulation insurance companies would be able to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended.


Ontario Extends Declaration of Emergency to Continue the Fight Against COVID-19
Sustained Measures Necessary to Stop the Spread and Protect Public Health


April 14, 2020   On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, the Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days. This will allow the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Passed during a special sitting of the Ontario legislature and with the full cooperation of all parties, the Declaration of Emergency has been extended until May 12. The extension of the provincial declaration of emergency allows Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as the closure of all non-essential workplaces, outdoor amenities such as parks and recreational areas, public places and bars and restaurants, as well as restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and prohibitions against price-gouging. A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
 


Ontario Takes Further Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Province Extends Emergency Orders until April 23
 

April 11, 2020  To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of people across the province, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until April 23, 2020, including the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging.
 


Ontario Government Supports Families in Response to COVID-19
Province Providing One-time Financial Assistance During School and Child Care Closures
 

April 6, 2020 The Ontario government is offering direct financial support to parents while Ontario schools and child care centres remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
 

The new Support for Families initiative offers a one-time payment of $200 per child 0 to 12 years of age, and $250 for those 0 to 21 years of age with special needs.  This one-time funding will allow parents to access additional tools for our kids to use while at home and studying remotely. Families can complete a simple online application at Ontario's Support for Families web page to access this financial support.

Parents already receiving Support for Parents (this was the payment for those parents who were eligible during the school strikes) through direct deposit will be automatically eligible for this financial support and do not need to submit a new application.


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 Extends School and Child Care Closures to Fight Spread of COVID-19
Province announces second phase of Learn at Home to support continuity of learning

March 31, 2020  Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020.  Further action to keep our kids safe and healthy by having them stay home," said Premier Ford. "At the same time, we cannot put the school year in jeopardy. That's why we're providing additional tools for at-home learning and ensuring students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to postsecondary education can finish their academic year and get the credits they need to graduate."

The second phase of Learn at Home features a new set of expectations for the education community, including:

  • Reconnecting students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers;
  • Re-establishing teacher-led learning by grade groupings as follows:

Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math)

Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies)

Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies)

Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation)

  • Leveraging digital resources and identifying alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity, such as phone and mail;
  • Developing a program of training for educators to support them in virtual learning delivery;
  • Requiring final report cards for all students;
  • Prioritizing and supporting students on track to graduate;
  • Distributing laptops and/or devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction;
  • Maintaining a responsive posture for health care and community partner requests; and
  • Establishing formal COVID-19 working groups with education sector unions to work together, share ideas and to find solutions in the support of students.

Ontario Extends Emergency Declaration to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
All Outdoor Recreational Amenities across Province Now Closed
 

March 30, 2020  In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. In addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.


Ontario Launches New COVID-19 Website
 

March 30, 2020 Ontario has launched a new dedicated web page and is changing how COVID-19 cases are being reported to provide a more relevant summary of data from Public Health Ontario that offers expanded information every day at 10:30 a.m.
 


Ontario Prohibits Gathering of More than Five People with Strict Exceptions
 

March 28, 2020  Based on the best advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately.


Ontario Protecting Consumer from Price Gouging
Offenders face fines of up to $500,000 for charging unfair prices on necessary goods.
 

March 28, 2020  Premier Doug Ford announced new penalties to combat price gouging and hold offenders accountable for raising prices significantly on the necessary goods Ontarians need to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.


Updated: Ontario Enabling Financial Relief for Businesses
New financial measure will allow insurance premium payment deferrals for six months.
 

March 26, 2020  The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.


Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
 

March 25, 2020  Finance Minister Rod Phillips released Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update).

The government's action plan is a first step in its response to COVID-19 and includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs. It also will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.


Stop the Spread Business Information Line Now Open at 1-888-444-3659
 

March 25, 2020 The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.


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

March 24, 2020  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.
 

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
 

March 23, 2020  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
 

March 23, 2020  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.
 

Based on the advice of Dr. Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the experts at our Command Table, Ontario is taking further action to contain the spread of COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "These enhanced measures are necessary to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. Nothing is more important."


Ontario Urges Business to Join the Fight Again COVID-19
New Government Website Removes Barriers for Companies to Provide Essential Goods and Services 

March 21, 2020 Government is launching Ontario Together, a new website that will help businesses and their employees work with the province to meet the challenges of COVID-19. This initiative will remove barriers allowing Ontario's manufacturing sector to redeploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment like ventilators, masks and swabs.


Ontario Expands Coverage for Care
Enhanced Health Care Coverage Critical to Support Efforts to Contain COVID-19

March 20, 2020  Anyone in need of care can receive it, Ontario is waiving the three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. Additionally, the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage. Together, these measures will ensure that no one will be discouraged from seeking screening or treatment for COVID-19 for financial reasons.



Update on Ontario Parks Operations in Response to COVID-19

March 18, 2020  All provincial parks will be closed to the public from March 19, 2020 until April 30, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities and all public buildings.


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

March 19, 2020 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.


Ontario Extending Validation Period for Driver, Vehicle and Carrier Products, Services and Health Cards
New Measurers and Regulations will Reduce In Person Visits to Help Contain Spread of COIVD-19
 

March 19, 2020 These new regulations include extensions for driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates, among others. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services.


Ontario Enacts Declaration of Emergency to Protect the Public
Significantly Enhanced Measurers will Help Contain Spread of COVID-19
 

March 17, 2020 The Government of Ontario announced that it is taking decisive action by making an order declaring an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In doing so, Ontario is using every power possible to continue to protect the health and safety of all individuals and families.
 

"We are facing an unprecedented time in our history," said Premier Ford. "This is a decision that was not made lightly. COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions. We are taking this extraordinary measure because we must offer our full support and every power possible to help our health care sector fight the spread of COVID-19. The health and wellbeing of every Ontarian must be our number one priority."
 

As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:

All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;

All public libraries;

All private schools as defined in the Education Act;

All licensed child care centres;

All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;

All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and

Concert venues.
 

Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship. These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.


Premier Ford Announces Job Protection for Workers during the COVID-19 Situation
Ontario to Protect Workers who Take Leaves from Work
 

March 16, 2020 The proposed legislation would, if passed, provide job protection for employees unable to work for the following reasons:
 

· The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.

· The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

· The employee is in isolation or quarantine.

· The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.

· The employer directs the employee not to work.

· The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.
 

The proposed legislation would also make it clear that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave. The measures would be retroactive to January 25, 2020, the date that the first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ontario.
 

Many workers will be eligible for Employment Insurance sickness benefits. As well, we are reviewing current access and eligibility to emergency assistance which is available through the Ontario Works (OW) program to support individuals who are impacted by the coronavirus and who are not able to meet their basic living expenses.