The following provides an up-to-date list of information, services and benefits that have been announced by the Federal and Ontario government. This page will be updated daily to include new information and links as necessary throughout the coronavirus pandemic and as governments respond to the challenges being faced by people and businesses.
Ontario has ordered non-essential at-risk workplaces to shut down their physical locations. Businesses should continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. At-risk workplaces are ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
Essential businesses include, but are not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies, take-out and delivery restaurants, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. For a complete detailed list, click here. Essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees on the front-lines.
The due date for filing individual tax returns has been extended to June 1, 2020. Taxpayers will have until August 31, 2020 to pay any 2019 income tax amounts owed.
Ontario’s hydro rates will be reduced to off-peak hours at all times for the next 45 days in order to provide some relief to families and some businesses. This will also apply to farmers and small business owners. New rates will automatically reflect on your next bill cycle.
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.
Mortgage Deferrals: Canada’s banks have announced that mortgage payments can be deferred for up to six months. Talk to your bank for more information.
Property Tax Deferrals: Ontario is postponing the property tax reassessment in 2020 for the 2021 tax year. The Province is also giving the option to defer the education property tax payments municipalities make to school boards for 90 days. These changes can give municipalities the flexibility to provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses.
Tenants and Landlords:
Ontario has temporarily halted current eviction orders and stopped new orders from being issued until further notice.
- Temporarily raising the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for qualifying businesses from $490,000 to $1,000,000, effectively providing $355 million in tax relief for 57,000 employers across the province. More details here.
- The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is allowing employers to defer premium payments for up to six months.
The Canadian government announced $10 billion for small businesses and entrepreneurs. New relief measures for qualified businesses include:
- Working capital loans of up to $2 million with flexible repayment terms.
- Postponement of payments for up to 6 months, free of charge, for existing BDC clients with total BDC loan commitment of $1 million or less;
- Reduced rates on new eligible loans;
- Temporary wage subsidy program equivalent to 10% of wages for 3 months.
For more details, visit the following websites:
The Federal Government will be opening up $5 billion in support for farmers. The funding can be accessed through Farm Credit Canada and is meant to help ensure farmers have access to the resources they need to continue to meet demand. Visit Farm Credit Canada for details on funding and how to apply.
Temporary Foreign Workers:
Temporary foreign workers will be exempt from some travel restrictions. Workers will face health screening before travel and must be isolated for 14 days upon arrival. The exemptions will apply to seasonal agricultural workers, fish-seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers. Workers in the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program can now be employed for up to two years instead of one.
See more information here.
Those unable to work:
Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. If you are eligible, visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply.*
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) streamlines the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit for those not eligible for EI to receive up to $2,000 a month for 4 months.
Those that are eligible include:
- People who’ve lost their job due to COVID-19,
- People who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19,
- Parents who must stay home without pay to take care of kids who are sick or at home due to school and daycare closures, and
- Contract workers & self-employed Canadians not eligible for EI.
*Where to Apply: An online portal will be launching as soon as April 6 and benefits should be available within 10 days of applying. In the meantime, you can sign into your CRA Portal here. The Prime Minister stated 1,300 civil servants have been deployed to process applications submitted to date.
Ontario Works (OW): Ontario is expanding the Emergency Assistance Program by $200 million. This new funding will help individuals and families in financial crises who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food, rent, medicine, transportation and other services. Funding will also be made available to organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations, individuals and families. Individuals can apply online at Ontario.ca/community.
- Canada increased the Canada Childcare Benefitby $300 per child. Details here.
- Ontario is providing a one-time $200 payment per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including kids enrolled in private schools.
- Ontario is permitting health care and other frontline workers (i.e. doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, and correctional officers) to access safe, local emergency child care. Once made available, the list of locations will be posted here.
Primary and Secondary Students:
On March 20, the Ministry of Education launched their Learn at Home portal to provide math and literacy from the Ontario College of Teachers. Students and parents can access that here.
Effective March 30, 2020, all student loan borrowers will automatically have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020 (6 months). No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
For low-income seniors, Ontario is doubling 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.
Social Service Residential Facilities:
Ontario has allocated $20 million for residential facilities in developmental services, gender-based services and protective care for children and youth. These funds will be used to support additional staffing, respite for caregivers impacted by school closures, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, as well as transportation costs.
Ontario announced an additional $26 million for their Indigenous communities to support transportation costs for health care professionals and the distribution of critical supplies.
Canada announced $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities. Details to come.
Calling on ALL Manufacturers, Businesses, Organizations and Entrepreneurs:
The Federal and Ontario governments have launched new funds and resources to accelerate the development, testing, production and procurement of products and solutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Canadian Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF):Provides companies working on large-scale and later-stage promising research and development projects to combat the COVID-19 crisis. This includes vaccines and critical medical supplies. More information on the SIF program can be found here.
- Innovative Solutions Canada (ISB): Will be posting essential products and solutions needed from innovative businesses and entrepreneurs to combat the COVID-19 crisis. More information will be posted on the ISB website when made available here.
- The Ontario Together website: The Ontario Government wants to work with all businesses, organizations and professions who have the capability to:
- Provide and/or produce critical medical supplies (face masks, ventilators, protective eyewear, gowns, sanitizer, swabs, etc.) If you are a manufacturer with these capabilities, there may be support to help your facility re-tool.
- Have a solution to help withstand this pandemic (i.e. virtual mental health services, supply chain resiliency monitoring, financial planning and advising for small businesses, etc.)
Please visit the Ontario Together website.
- The Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit: Businesses who invest in regions of Ontario where employment growth has been significantly below average, can get a 10 per cent refundable Corporate Income Tax credit. Eligible businesses must construct, renovate or acquire qualifying commercial and industrial buildings. This could save businesses up to $45,000 in the year.