Government Supports
Government Partnerships

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.

Government Supports

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, some construction projects, businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. This is an ever-changing list. To see the latest 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.

Reopening the Economy: The Ontario government has been working closely with four provincial health and safety associations (HSAs) to release over 60 sector specific health and safety guidelines for businesses in order to prepare them for reopening. The full list of guidelines can be found here.

Consumers: Frustrated with price gouging? Report it here.

Income Taxes:

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.

Energy Costs:

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.

Ontario is deferring a portion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges for industrial and commercial electricity consumers that do not participate in the Regulated Price Plan for the period starting from April 2020. This relief will prevent a marked increase (at least 15%) in GA charges due to the low electricity demand.

Property Owners:

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.

Insured Mortgage Purchase Program

The Canadian Government will purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market. Details here.

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.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

This program will lower rent by up to 75% for small businesses strongly affected by COVID-19 for the months of April, May and June. This will be in the form of forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of the three monthly rent payments, with the property owner covering 25% and the tenant paying the remaining 25%

The mortgaged property owner must agree to reduce eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.

Eligible small businesses, charities and not-for-profit companies include those paying less than $50,000 in rent per month and/or who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.

More details here.

Employers

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: Encourages employers to keep their staff on pay-roll or rehire them after being laid off due to COVID-19. The Federal Government will subsidize 75% of an employee’s salary on the first $58,700 earned, which will mean up to $847/week. This will be backdated to March 15, 2020. More details here.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • If your revenues have decreased by by 15% in March and 30% in April and May
  • The number of employees will not determine eligibility
  • Companies both big or small
  • Applies to NFP organizations and charities

Note: Expectation for employers to pay the remaining 25%. There will be consequences and penalties if this is taken advantage of and/or if employers try to double dip.

The Work-Sharing program is getting extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. This program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.Details here.

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.

Small Businesses/Entrepreneurs:

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:

Export Development Canada (EDC)

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): For small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. This $25 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000. The Borrower’s total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year must be between $20,000 and $1.5 million. You can apply through your organization’s financial institution.

Rural Businesses and Communities: Canada is investing $287 million to provide access to capital through the Community Futures Network. Apply through your Regional Development Agency here.

Canadian Heritage Grants: A $500 million COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for cultural, heritage and sport organizations that will help address the financial needs of affected organizations so they can continue to support artists and athletes. Details to come here.

IRAP Innovation Assistance Program: Small and medium-sized Canadian businesses unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Business Credit Availability Program can apply for financial assistance. Applications open April 22 here.

Truckers:

The Ontario government is launching a 511 app which will provide truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province The app is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Farmers:

  • The Federal Government will be opening up $5 billion in loans for farmers through Farm Credit Canada
  • $77 million will go directly to food processors to provide safety of workers, purchase PPE, adapt to health protocols like physical distancing and expand domestic processing capacity to increase the amount of food made in Canada;
  • $125 million to help cattle and hog producers who are raising more animals than can currently be processed, therefore seeing their costs increase in keeping these animals longer;
  • $50 million Surplus Food Purchase to purchase large quantities of certain products that risk going to waste and will redistribute it accordingly to food banks and other organizations;
  • $62.5 million for the seafood and fish processing sector.

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.

Front-line workers

The Ontario government is providing a temporary pandemic pay of $4/hour worked on top of their regular wages. In addition, the government will be providing monthly lump sum payments of $250 for four months to eligible frontline workers who work over 100 hours per month. The pandemic pay will be effective for 16 weeks, from April 24, 2020 until August 13, 2020. To see the full list of eligible workers, click here.  Eligibility is based on low wages and staff shortages.

Those who’ve lost work/hours:

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: Login or register through your CRA Portal here.

Essential workers earning less than $2,500/month: can soon receive a top up. This will provide a boost to those on the front-lines. Details will be released when an agreement is made with Ontario.

The Work-Sharing program is getting extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. This program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.Details here.

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.

Parents/Guardians:

  • 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. Apply here.
  • 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. Eligibility and the list of locations is posted here.
    • Toronto: applications can be made here.
    • Waterloo Region: applications can be made here.
  • Emergency Child Care: Ontario is permitting health care and other frontline workers to access safe, local emergency child care. Eligibility and the list of locations is posted here.

Children and Youth:

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.

$7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with the mental health support they need during this difficult time. Call or text 1-800-668-6868 if you need help.

Post-Secondary Students & Recent High School Grads:

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.

Once posted by your professors/instructors/TAs, visit eCampusOntario to complete your year-end assessments online. More information to come.

$9-billion Federal package to support students which includes:

  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit – $1,250 per month for eligible students from May through August 2020, and $1,750 for students with dependents and those with permanent disabilities.
  • Connecting students to meaningful employment and service opportunities through:
    • $153.7 million Youth Employment and Skills Strategy in high-demand sectors such as agriculture, technology, health and essential services, creating over 6,000 additional job placements.
    • Canada Summer Jobs program, including increased wage subsidies, expanded eligibility and new flexibilities for employers, to ensure it can continue to support up to 70,000 student job placements in 2020-21.
    • New Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to support student’s post-secondary education costs in the fall.
    • Many additional supports can be found here.

Seniors

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.

Reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020. Details here.

Social Service:

Community Support Fund: $350 million to national organizations such as the United Way, Community Foundations Canada and the Red Cross. A portion of this fund will go directly to smaller independent front-line organizations.

Residential Facilities: Ontario has invested $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.

Homeless:

$157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative. The funding could be used for purchasing beds and physical barriers for physical distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters. Learn more here.

$50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres in order to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. Learn more here.

Indigenous communities:

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.

Mental Health Support

Visit the mental health portal here or on the Canada COVID-19 App for those who need support during this time.

The Ontario government is expanding virtual mental health services through a $12 million commitment to help mental health agencies hire and train more staff, purchase the necessary equipment and technology they need to help patients and support the creation and enhancement of virtual and online supports for mental health services including:

  • Virtual mental health support services:
  • Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT): Clients can self-refer to programs through the various service providers listed
  • Supports for frontline health care workers: Online iCBT is available to frontline health care workers experiencing anxiety, burnout or post-traumatic stress disorder. Those requiring intensive levels of care could be referred to virtual face-to-face care, as well as weekly online peer discussion groups and access to confidential support from a clinician.

Government Partnerships

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.

  1. Calling all suppliers! Are you a business that can supply products and/or services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19? Visit Canada’s Buy and Sell website here.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Pharmaceutical Companies: $1.1 billion ($750 million new monies) for:
    1. Research on vaccine and other treatments: additional $150 million
    2. Support for clinical trials: over $662 million
    3. Expanding national testing and modelling: $350 million creating the COVD-19 Immunity Task Force
  6. Workforce Matching Portal: matches people with skilled medical training to healthcare employers in order to fill in gaps on the front lines. Employers and interested health care professionals can visit the portal here and create a profile.
  7. 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.