SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

GENERAL SUPPORTS

Extra Time For Tax Filing

2019 Income Tax filing date has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Owe money? Balances deferred until August 31st without any accrual of interest or penalties.

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you to not delay your 2019 return filing to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

NEXT STEP: This change does not require Ontarians to take any action aside from deferring your tax filings and payments.

 

Mortgage Deferral

Banks have agreed to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to help manage hardships caused by COVID-19.

NEXT STEP: You will need to discuss your situation directly with your mortgage provider. Your mortgage payments will not be deferred automatically.

Click here to learn more.

 

Electricity Prices Freezing

Ontario is introducing a fixed, flat “COVID-19 Recovery Rate” for residential, farm and small business electricity consumers. This new rate of 12.8 cents per kWh will apply from June 1 to October 31, 2020.

The government has also extended the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020, ensuring no one will be disconnected from their natural gas or electricity service during these uncertain times.

Click here to learn more.

Mental Health Measures

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

Services include:

  • ConnexOntario: Adults and frontline workers who are dealing with the realities of COVID-19 can call ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600 for mental health, addictions and problem gambling support.

  • BounceBack: A free, evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program that provides guided mental health self-help supports for adults and youth 15+ using workbooks, online videos and phone coaching. Call 1-866-345-0224.

  • Kids Help Phone: Children and youth 18 and under who need to talk to someone about their mental health can call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, for 24/7 virtual, phone and text support.

  • Good2Talk: A phone and texting service that provides confidential support to post-secondary students. Call 1-866-925-5454.

 

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

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

Penalty For Price Gouging

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

Affordable Prescription Drugs

People using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will no longer be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments. In addition, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families during the outbreak.

Click here to learn more.

 
 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS

The Government of Canada is providing financial support to seniors through one-time tax-free payments.

Eligibility:

Seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will receive $300.

Individuals eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive an additional $200.

Seniors eligible to receive both the OAS and GIS will receive a total of $500.  

Protecting Seniors

To help seniors who are self-isolating, we are investing:

  • $10M to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors.

  • $20M to increase infection control and active screening procedures, in addition to our $243M already committed.

  • $243M to long-term care for 24/7 screening, additional staff and cleaning

 

Interested organizations are encouraged to reach out to the City of Toronto to apply for this funding.

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

 

Doubling GAINS Payment To Low-Income Seniors

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

Those who already receive GAINS payments do not need to re-apply.

 

Long Term Care Home Investment

Investing $243 million to long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, adding staff to support infection control and purchase additional supplies.

Registered Retirement Income Funds

Reducing minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and the impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

SPARK Ontario

The Government of Ontario is partnering with SPARK Ontario to help seniors and the most vulnerable stay connected and healthy as they self-isolate during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Volunteer organizations can visit www.sparkontario.ca to post volunteer opportunities available in their communities. The needs of each community vary, but groups across the province are looking for volunteers to help deliver food or medicines, run errands or check-up on seniors and the most vulnerable by phone or email while they self-isolate.

Ontarians interested in volunteering are encouraged to check the website for opportunities to make a difference where they live.

Caregiver Communities Portal

The Ontario Caregiver Organization has launched a new portal to connect individuals who need assistance with the organizations that can provide it in their community. This can include help with pick-up and delivery of groceries, medications, and meals, as well as friendly phone calls and mental health support, among other services.

Long Term Care Homes can also use this portal to locate community-based organizations who are collecting personal protective equipment, as well as technological devices to help keep residents connected. 

Organizations that offer these services can register themselves on the portal so that they can be easily found by those that need their help.

 

Click here to learn more. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES

One-Time Child Education Payments

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

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

  • Only one parent can apply for each child 

  • The parent who applies should have custody of the child

 

To apply, please click here.

 

Educating Youth

Enhancing e-learning opportunities by creating an online portal (ontario.ca/learnathome) to keep children stimulated and focused on learning during this period of uncertainty.  The Government’s Learn At Home initiative will help mitigate ‘learning loss’ during this period, provide interactive teacher-led math supports, and empower all students to learn key skills with an emphasis on STEM education.

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

Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time.

Job Protected Leave For Employees & Families

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

  1. Under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19;

  2. Acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act;

  3. In isolation or quarantine;

  4. Acting in accordance with public health direction;

  5. Directed by an employer not to work;

  6. Providing care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19.

Suspended Issuing & Enforcing Residential Evictions

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

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

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

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

Canada Child Care Benefit

Providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Care Benefit. Approx. $550 more for the average family. This payment will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Partnership With Apple & Rogers

In partnership with Apple and Rogers, the Ontario Government is providing iPads with LTE data plans for students of low-income families. This will allow all students access to the learning at home programs ensuring everyone can continue their education. 

The iPads will be distributed by the Ontario School Boards. School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR LOW/ MODEST INCOME & THE MOST VULNERABLE

Funding For Municipal Social Services

The Government of Ontario is providing $200 million in new funding to assist people in financial need, municipalities and other service providers like food banks, homeless shelters and emergency services.

 

To apply, please click here.

 

Expanding Eligibility For Low-Income

Energy Assistance Program

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

Contact your utility provider to apply.

Expanding Access To Emergency Assistance

Under Ontario Works

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

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

Individuals can apply at Ontario.ca/socialassistance

Strengthening Victims Services

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

​​

This one-time emergency payment will help front-line staff respond to challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and quadruple the immediate supports available for accommodation, meals and transportation through the Victim Quick Response Plus Program (VQRP+).

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

COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund

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

The following would be eligible for CRRF:

  • Children’s residential services, including residential programs for Complex Special Needs, Child Welfare, Youth Justice, out-of-home respite for children with physical and/or developmental disabilities, and children’s developmental services

  • Gender-based violence residential programming, including Anti-Human Trafficking and Violence Against Women

  • Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy residential programming

  • Intervenor services

  • Adult Developmental Services residential supports.

 

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

 

For more information, please click here.

Reaching Home Initiative

$157.5 million to support a range of needs, including beds, physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.

 

Click here to learn more.

Women's Shelters

The Government of Canada is providing women’s shelters and sexual assault centers with an additional $50 million to help increase the capacity to deal with COVID-19.

 

Click here to learn more.

Ontario Community Support Program

The Ontario government is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need.

The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario. The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.

To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in your local community and request service, visit https://www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca/

Those without Internet access or who require service in a language other than English or French can dial 211 or 1-877-330-3213 (toll-free). TTY service is also available by calling 1-888-340-1001.

Emergency Community Support Program

The Government of Canada has launched the Emergency Community Support Fund to invest $350 million to support charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to the most vulnerable Canadians.

  • The investment will flow through national organizations that can get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:

  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
     

  • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
     

  • Scaling up helplines that provide information and support
     

  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
     

  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers
     

  • Replacing in-person contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet.

Click here to learn more.

 
 
 
 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS

Providing Digital Learning Supports

For Post-Secondary Students

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

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

 

Deferring OSAP Repayment and Interest

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

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

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

 

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

The government introduced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The CESB would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities. This will benefit post-secondary students and recent graduates who are ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or for Employment Insurance, but who are unable to find full-time employment or are unable to work due to COVID-19.

Eligibility:

  • students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate

  • students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019

  • high-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months

  • Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.

  • you must have earned less than $1000 in employment or self-employment income (before taxes) during the 4-week period you are applying for.

Applications opened Friday, May 15.

Click here to learn more.

Financial Assistance From The Government of Canada

(For Post-Secondary Students)

Grants: Canada Student Grants will be doubled for all eligible full-time students, up to $6,000, and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.

Loans: The maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 through the Canada Student Loans Program will be increased from $210 to $350.

Eligibility for assistance: Broader eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.

Graduate Students

Expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships will be extended. Existing federal research grants to support students and post-doctoral fellows will be supplemented by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

Funding For Colleges, Universities &

Indigenous Institutions

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

Temporary Changes To 

Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Government of Canada has announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program in order to help employers (with 50 or fewer full-time employees) hire youth (age 15-29) this summer, including:

  • An increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.
     

  • An extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.
     

  • Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.
     

  • Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.
     

  • Allowing employers who missed the deadline of February 28, 2020, to apply now.

 

The earliest job start date is May 11, 2020.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY

Indigenous Students

Increase of $75 million in 2020-21 to existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation post-secondary students.

Indigenous Community Support Fund

$305 million will be allocated to address the immediate needs of First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.

Additional Support 

Providing new, additional support of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.

Click here to learn more.

May 21, 2020  - The Government of Canada will provide an additional $75 million to Indigenous organizations that are addressing the critical needs of Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off-reserve. 

Click here to learn more.

The Government of Canada will invest an additional $650 to provide critical support to Indigenous families and communities during the pandemic. This support includes:

  • $285 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.

  • $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses.

  • $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing.

Click here to learn more.

 

SUPPORT FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS

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. Details include:

  • $4 per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages.

  • If you work at least 100 hours in a designated 4-week period, you will also be eligible to receive an additional lump sum payment of $250 for that period. The designated 4-week periods are:

April 24, 2020, to May 21, 2020

May 22, 2020, to June 18, 2020

June 19, 2020, to July 16, 2020

July 17, 2020, to August 13, 2020

  • The average total benefit of $3,560

  • Effective 16 weeks, from April 24 until August 13

  • Over 350,000 frontline workers will be eligible to receive the temporary payment including those in health care, long-term care, social services and correction, paramedics, respiratory therapists, public health nurses and addictions and mental health workers.

  • If you are an eligible frontline worker, you will receive the temporary hourly pandemic pay directly from your employer. The government is still working out how lump sum payments will be made. This page will be updated with new information as it is available.

Click here to learn more and see if you are eligible. 

 

SUPPORT FOR SKILLED TRADES WORKERS

The provincial government has announced a $7.5 million Ontario Tools Grant to assist new apprentices purchase the equipment they need to help start their careers. Applications for this new grant will be available in August 2020.

Ontario is also forgiving $10.6M in outstanding loans to about 19,000 people who borrowed money to buy tools, equipment and manuals at the beginning of their careers.

Click here to learn more. 
 

 

SUPPORT FOR HOSPITALITY WORKERS

Ontario is investing almost $2 million and partnering with UNITE HERE Local 75 to launch and run a Virtual Action Centre. The centre will offer counselling, training and job search supports for as many as 7,000 unemployed workers in the hospitality sector who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to learn more. 
 

 

Community Resources

Ontario Action Plan 2020

Constituency Office

237 Mapleview Drive East, Unit 1

Barrie, ON L4N 0W5

Phone: 705-722-0575

Fax: 705-722-8835  

Email: andrea.khanjin@pc.ola.org

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