SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE

 
 
 
 

GENERAL SUPPORTS

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.

 

Targeted Relief to Keep Electricity Bills Low

We are keeping the cost of energy low for families, small businesses and farmers by stabilizing electricity rates and providing customers with more choice and energy assistance programs.

Customers eligible for the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) will automatically receive a 33.2% reduction off their energy bill when new electricity rates for Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers come into effect November 1, 2020.

As of November 1st, customers who pay time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates will have the flexibility to choose an electricity bill structure that best suits their lifestyle, choosing between TOU and tiered rates (flat-rate).

Our government is also making it easier for families and businesses to receive support on their overdue electricity bills through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). Any residential, small business or registered charity customer with overdue electricity or natural gas bill will now be eligible to apply. A residential customer can receive up to $750 for their electricity bill and an additional $750 for their natural gas bill. Small businesses can receive up to $1500 each.

Contact your energy provider if you would like to opt-in for tiered rates:

Alectra Utilities, Innpower, or Hydro One.

More electricity support programs are available for low-income individuals at the Ontario Energy Board website. 

Mental Health Measures

The Government of Canada will work with the provinces to invest $240 million to develop and expand virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians. This is in addition to the Government of Ontario’s commitment to providing emergency funding of up to $12 million to expand online and virtual mental health supports for Ontarians.

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.

Investing $176 million to help expand access for critical mental health and addictions support during COVID-19. Funding will be used to address urgent gaps in care, enhance access to mental health and addiction services and create new community-based supports. Part of the province’s investment will be allocated to the following:

  • $4 million for nurse practitioners for detox services to improve the medical management of clients who are withdrawing from substance use in residential withdrawal management facilities;

  • $8 million for addictions day and evening care to increase access to intensive non-residential addictions and substance use treatment services for youth and adults;

  • $3.5 million for in-home/mobile withdrawal management services to increase access to community withdrawal management services for hard to service clients, including those located in rural areas; and,

  • Over $900,000 for an additional four inpatient beds at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to support capacity pressures at CAMH.

 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS

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.

Dental Care for Low-Income Seniors

Low-income seniors can access free, comprehensive dental care through the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. 

A Senior is eligible for the Program if they:

  • Are 65 years of age or older;

  • Are a Resident of Ontario;

  • Are a Single senior with annual net income of $19,300 or less, or senior couples (one or both people aged 65 or older), with a combined annual net income of $32,300 or less; and

  • Have no access to any other form of dental benefits, including through government programs such as Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Ontario Works (OW), or the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB).

Eligible seniors can apply at seniors.accerta.ca

Ontario 211

Seniors, people with disabilities, and others in need of assistance can also be connected to essential services in their community at any time.

Visit www.211ontario.ca or by dialling 211 or 1-877-330-3212 (toll-free). TTY service is also available by dialling 1-888-340-1001.

Ontario Community Support Program

The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association 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. 

To find a Meals on Wheels provider and request service, visit the Ontario Community Support Association's website. 

Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit

Providing a new, refundable tax credit for the 2021 tax year, to help seniors retain their independence and live in their homes safely and longer. 

The credit applies to expenses that assist in making homes safer and more accessible for seniors. This is available to senior homeowners, renters, or people who live with relatives who are seniors. 

Find out if you're eligible at Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit | Ontario.ca

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES

Support For Learners Program

The Government of Ontario has launched the Support for Learners program. Through this program, our government will again be providing financial relief for families facing new education-related expenses in the COVID-19 era with support totalling $380 million.

 

Starting November 30, 2020, parents or guardians residing in Ontario can complete a simple online application through the Support for Learners web page. Applications will remain open until January 15, 2021.

$200 /child ages 0-12

$250 / child or youth 0 - 21 with special learning needs

Visit Ontario.ca/SupportForLearners to apply now!

 

Support At Home Program

The Government of Ontario expanded the Support for Learners program to include all secondary school students. Starting in January 2021, all secondary school students will be eligible under an expanded Support for Learners program.

Parents will receive a one-time payment of $200 to help with education expenses. Support will be available for those who attend a public or private school or are homeschooled. 

Application instructions will be available on the Support for Learners web page and it will remain open for the Support for Learners program for children or youth aged 0 to 12, or 0 to 21 with special needs.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. The CRCB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you are eligible for the CRCB, your household can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period.

If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.

If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Updated Screening Protocols For Children

Ontario has amended the COVID-19 School and child care screening guidance on the advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health to provide information that will help parents determine when it is most appropriate for students, children and their families to seek a test for COVID-19.

Click here to learn more.

Learn At Home

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. 

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.

Ontario Child Care Benefit

Families can claim up to 75% of eligible child care expenses, including services provided by child care centres, by family members or in day-camps.

To learn more, visit Ontario Child Care Tax Credit | Ontario.ca

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.

Tax Relief for Low-Income Ontarians

Provides up to $850 a year in provincial income tax relief to low-income workers. A single person who works full-time at minimum wage will receive $850 in tax relief and pay no Ontario income tax.

To learn more, visit Low-Income Workers Tax Credit | Ontario.ca

Extended Validation Periods for Drivers Licenses and Vehicle Permits

Extensione of the validity of government driver, vehicle, and carrier products and services that expired on or after March 1, 2020. These will continue to remain valid past their expiry date until further notice. 

To learn more, visit Extended validation periods for driver, vehicle and carrier products and services | Ontario.ca

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

 

Click here to learn more.

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

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.

 

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.

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

Temporary Deferral of OSAP Repayment and Interest

Providing a 6-month moratorium on the repayment of student loans. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time.

From March 30, 2020, to September 30, 2020, you were not required to make any loan payments, and interest did not accrue on your student loans. Any payments made during this period went entirely towards your loan principal.
 

As of October 1, 2020, you are required to resume repaying your loan, meaning:
 

  • Payments will be withdrawn from your account if you are on the pre-authorized debit
     

  • If you make payments through online banking or cheque, you are required to send in payments

 

If you need help with repaying defaulted loans, you can bring them back into good standing through the Ontario Student Loan Rehabilitation Program.

Once your outstanding loans are in good standing, you can apply for further aid from OSAP, including reduced loan payments through the Repayment Assistance Plan.
 

Learn about other supports from the federal government for students and recent graduates impacted by COVID-19.

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.

Click here to learn more.

eCampus Ontario

To ensure students can successfully complete the academic year, Ontario has finalized an agreement with eCampusOntario to make digital learning supports available to postsecondary institutions.

Click here to learn more.

 
 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY

Indigenous Community Support Fund

The Federal Government has provided $685 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.

These funds could be used for measures including, but not limited to:

  • support for Elders and vulnerable community members,

  • measures to address food insecurity,

  • educational and other support for children,

  • mental health assistance and emergency response services.

  • preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Click here to learn more.

Public Health Support

The Federal Government is providing $100 million to support a range of federal health measures, including support for preparedness in First Nation and Inuit communities.

Click here to learn more.

Boosting the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program

The Federal Government is providing $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address the increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nations communities and connect individuals to other government programs.

Click here to learn more.

 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS

Pandemic Pay

The eligibility period for Ontario’s pandemic pay is now over. Eligible employees received payments for work performed between April 24, 2020, and August 13, 2020. Ontario’s pandemic pay program was the largest in the country with over $1.5B available for distribution to the pockets of frontline workers. Ontario claimed the full amount of federal funding, resulting in over $1.5 billion in provincial and federal funding made available to support the critical work of over 375,000 eligible frontline employees working for over 2,000 employers.

PSW Wage Increase

Ontario recently announced an investment of $461 million to temporarily increase wages for personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors.

The increase ranges from $2-$3 per hour and is available from October 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, to 147,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services.

  • $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care;

  • $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care;

  • $2 per hour for approximately 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals; and

  • $3 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.​

 

The wage builds on the province’s recent $26.3M investment to support PSWs & supportive care workers, including:​

  • $14M for training

  • $10.3M for the new PSW Return of Service Program

  • $1.3M to train 160 supportive care workers

  • $700K in accelerated PSW training for 220 students.

 

Ontario is investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers to ensure Ontario’s health care system can meet any surge in demand while continuing to provide safe and high-quality care to patients and long-term care residents.

 
 
 

SUPPORT FOR SKILLED TRADES WORKERS

The provincial government has announced a $7.5 million Ontario Tools Grant to assist new apprentices to 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. 
 

 

SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

The Government of Canada will provide special one-time, tax-free payments to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020.

The payment amount is determined as follows:

  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate. 

  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.

  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

 
 

Support for Farmers

The government of Ontario cares about the well-being of farmers and farm families and recognizes they face unique challenges that can lead to mental health issues.

If you are struggling with the impact of these stresses, you are not alone. Visit Mental Health for Farmers ndash; First Aid Kit (gov.on.ca) and see all the resources available for you to support whenever you are emotionally impacted, or in distress or crisis due to the challenges in the agricultural industry.

Community Resources

2020 Ontario Budget