Monique Taylor MPP, Hamilton Mountain

Government of Ontario

COVID-19 Information for Constituents

Published on March 15, 2020

I know many in our community are concerned about the spread of the COVID-19. Our team will do our best to provide updates and direct constituents to reliable sources of information. Below are some helpful resources. This page is updated regularly.

 

Provincial state of emergency & province-wide closures

On March 17, Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency. On March 23, the Premier announced that all non-essential workplaces are to close, and that the state of emergency may be extended. There is a prohibition on any gathering of 50 people or more. Schools will be closed until further notice.

The list of workplaces that may remain open can be found here. Businesses can ask questions about closures of at-risk workplaces by calling the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Hours: Monday - Sunday, 8:30am - 5:00pm.

What's not closed: Grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, public transit, office buildings, and manufacturing. Also, no new eviction orders will be made, nor existing eviction orders be enforced.

City of Hamilton closures list can be found here: hamilton.ca/covidclosures

 

Public health updates are available daily on the following websites:

COVID-19 self-assessment tool

The Ministry of Health's self-assessment tool has been updated. Use this to determine what steps you should take should you exhibit symptoms: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0

 

Information from the City of Hamilton

Find out how Hamilton is preparing, the number of cases in Hamilton, and how to protect yourself. Includes the phone number for Hamilton's COVID-19 hotline.

Hamilton.ca/coronavirus 

 

Information from Ontario’s Ministry of Health

Find out how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick, and how to recognize possible symptoms. Updated twice daily, in 30 languages.

Ontario.ca/coronavirus

 

Information from the Government of Canada

Updates on the national response, travel advice, and preparedness.

Canada.ca/coronavirus

 

Information on Travelling from the Government of Canada

All Canadians travelling abroad have been asked to return to Canada. Canadians stuck abroad who need help can call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885 or email at sos@international.gc.ca

Travel.gc.ca

 

For Medical Advice:

Telehealth Ontario

For medical advice, you may contact Telehealth Ontario, a free, confidential service. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information is available in multiple languages. 

Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

 

Hamilton Public Health

The City of Hamilton has established a COVID-19 hotline to answer questions from residents: 905-546-2424 ext. 7970 or phscovid19@hamilton.ca

 

Assessment Centres

Hamilton has two COVID-19 Assessment Centres that are now open. These clinics will assess whether people need more medical care and/or testing for COVID-19 based on symptoms (cough or fever), travel history and/or exposure to known cases.

See what to do before going to an assessment centre, and where the centres are located at: https://www.hamilton.ca/public-health/covid-19/covid-19-assessment-centres

 

COVID-19 self-assessment tool

The Ministry of Health's self-assessment tool has been updated. Use this to determine what steps you should take should you exhibit symptoms: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0

 

If you have recently traveled 

If you have travelled outside Canada, Hamilton Public Health Services asks that you self-isolate, and monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for 14 days after you arrive in Canada.

If you have these symptoms, call the Hamilton Public Health Services’ COVID-19 Hotline 90-546-2424 ext.7970. They will provide advice on what you should do.

For more information, see: https://www.hamilton.ca/public-health/covid-19/guidance-travellers-and-covid-19

 

Financial Concerns

On March 25, the Federal government announced some new benefits for workers and self-employed people impacted by COVID-19 closures. These benefits will become available in April 2020, details about how to apply will be posted here.

 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

  • workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. 

For more details, see: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

 

Apply for EI

If you have lost your job and you qualify, you can apply for employment insurance here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Rejected EI claims will automatically roll into the Federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Hydro rate relief

On March 24, the government announced that time-of-use pricing has been suspended for 45 days. See here for more information. Electricity and natural gas will not be disconnected for nonpayment during this state of emergency.

Student loans

The Federal Government has introduced a six-month interest-free grace period on the student loans. Ontario has announced that it would match this for OSAP loans.

Mortgage relief

The six major banks have stated they would considered easing mortgage payments on a case by case basis. It is reccomended that you call your bank to see what can be done.

Rent relief

The Premier has stated that no one will be evicted during this pandemic. Unfortunately, he has not yet offered any sort of real rent relief. The Ontario NDP is continuing to push for a guarantee that no one can be punished for missing rent, and for the government to directly help renters through direct payments. See this letter from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to Premier Ford.

Child benefit

Ontario is offering a 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.

 

Businesses

 

Federal Business Support 

The Federal Government is providing support to businesses, including credit and wage subsidies. See this Government of Canada webpage or this page: Innovation Canada

On March 27, the Federal Government announced:

  • A 75% wage subsidy for qualifying SME businesses, backdated to Sunday, March 15.
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account, where banks will offer $40,000 loans to small businesses, interest free for the first year, and $10,000 will be forgivable for qualifying businesses.
  • Deferring HST/GST on import/export duties until June.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is offering support to small businesses - see: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/small-business-resources-dealing-covid-19. They have waived their membership fee.

 

Hamilton Business Recovery

The City, in partnership with Hamilton’s three Chambers of Commerce, is forming an economic recovery working group and website to assist businesses. For resources and support, see: https://www.hamiltonchamber.ca/covid19/

 

Call for Submissions: How can your business help the COVID-19 response effort?

Both the Federal and Provincial Governments are asking businesses and manufacturers to help supply what the government needs to help fight COVID-19. That includes goods (medical supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.) and services. They are also receiving proposals for other ways businesses can help.

 

Queen's Park Updates

As of March 13, the Legislature is set to resume operations on Monday, March 23. However, all parties approved an emergency measure to potentially suspend operations. All party leaders, including NDP leader Andrea Horwath, met with the Premier on March 11 for an update on the province’s response.

The Ontario NDP has also been advocating for stronger protections for workers, by calling for the government to reinstate paid sick leave and to halt the requirement for sick notes. Click here for an update on the March 19 emergency legislation.

The Ontario NDP has also released its own comprehensive plan and recommendations for the Premier. The Ontario government will be introducing a financial update in the legislature on March 25. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for that financial statement to include a plan to send $2,000 Ontario Emergency Income cheques to households experiencing unemployment or lost income during the COVID-19 crisis.

Click here for the Ontario NDP's comprehensive plan to support families and businesses

 

Financial Update

On March 25, the Ontario Government provided a financial update in lieu of the annual budget. This included an action plan that responds to the COVID-19 crisis. It includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and it also will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals. See: https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2020/03/ontarios-action-plan-responding-to-covid-19.html