Here are some of the provincial measures that have been put in place to assist people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:
• Eviction moratorium
The Ministry of the Attorney General granted an order suspending the enforcement of residential evictions until ordered otherwise by the court. Tribunals Ontario will not issue any new eviction orders until further notice.
• OSAP payment deferral
A six-month deferral on OSAP payments has been announced.
• One-time Payout for Children Out of School
Families with school age children are eligible for one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools.
• Government documents extended
The validity period for divers’ licenses, health cards, license plates, Ontario photo cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates and other products has been extended.
• Electricity disconnections banned
Effective immediately, the Ontario Energy Board is extending the current ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for all residential customers to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers will now be protected by the ban. OEB is also calling on distributors to be more flexible on arrears payment arrangements.
• COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool
Interactive self-assessment tool that asks a series of questions to help inform those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19.
• Learning supports while schools are closed
Several learning tools have been launched to support students and parents seeking learning opportunities, including through TVO. A second phase will be launched should schools remain closed.
• Waiting period for OHIP coverage waived
The three-month waiting period for OHIP coverage has been waived.
• Changes to the Emergency Assistance Program
The Emergency Assistance Program has been expanded to assist people with limited income, assets or credit, who are in crisis or in an emergency situation, and those who are not eligible for federal assistance.
• Child care services provided to frontline staff
Certain child care centres will be exempt from the order to close, to provide child care support for frontline workers. These child care centres will be required to follow existing health and safety requirements and have a plan should any staff, children or parents be exposed to the virus. A list of locations will be made available here once they open.
• Benefits for Seniors
The government is providing financial support in the form of a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. Seniors who also currently receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive an additional one-time payment of $200 (for a total of $500.) If the individual is already receiving OAS (and GIS if eligible,) there is no need to apply for the one-time top up. The payment will automatically be issued. While no specific timeframe was given, it is expected to happen shortly especially since this measure is not dependent on any legislation.
• FEDNOR- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is a special one-time relief fund established by the Government of Canada to support businesses and organizations economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will help to address gaps left by other measures as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and complement those already provided by other levels of government, as well as take into account regional needs and realities. Full details on eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
• The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and Distinctions-Based support for Indigenous Students
The proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). In the Prime Minister’s announcement on April 22, 2020, it was highlighted that this benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit will be available from May to August 2020. Students can earn up to $1000 a month from other sources and still be eligible for the benefit.
The distinctions-based funding for First Nations students will be likely be distributed through the existing channel which is to apply through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. More details should be available through your regional ISC office.