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

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 Reserves

Access 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 30, 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 17, 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.