COVID – 19 News Updates

As we all collectively team up to fight the spread of COVID- 19, we’ve made it easy to get the latest news & updates to get you and your family though this epidemic.

Source; https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/

Toronto Medical Officer of Health makes recommendations on travel, mass gatherings

12-Mar-2020

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, this afternoon, announced recommendations for anyone in Toronto who has recently arrived from outside of Canada, including the United States, to limit their social interactions with large groups of people, and avoid all contact in hospital settings, with older residents or those with chronic illnesses. This recommendation is in addition to guidelines already provided for anyone who has been to Hubei Province in China, Italy or Iran to self-isolate for 14 days.

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City of Toronto to cancel programs and close facilities as COVID-19 precaution

13-Mar-2020

Based on recommendations from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, to help slow the rate of COVID-19 infection in Toronto and protect vulnerable populations including seniors, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals experiencing homelessness, the City of Toronto is cancelling all programs and closing a number of its facilities as of 12:01 a.m. tomorrow.

Impacted programs and facilities:
• City-operated March Break camps are cancelled
• All licensed child care centres
• Community and recreation centres, greenhouses and conservatories, arenas, pools, fitness centres, and ski hills are closed
• Libraries are closed
• City-operated museums and galleries are closed
• Council and Committee meetings are suspended for the current meeting cycle
• Public consultations are suspended
• All event permits for City facilities, including civic centres, recreation facilities, and parks are cancelled (wedding ceremony permits for civic centre Wedding Chambers will be honoured)

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Provincial Offences Act courtrooms to temporarily close throughout Toronto

15-Mar-2020

Beginning tomorrow, all Provincial Offences Act (POA) courtrooms located in Toronto will be closed from March 16 to April 3. Provincial Offences Act matters will be adjourned without the individual being present and rescheduled to a later date, as per an order by Chief Justice of Ontario.

Individuals who were expected to appear in court are not required to attend and will be notified of new court dates. A notice of the new court date will be sent by mail to the address on file with the court.

At this time, court offices including public service counters remain open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. excluding holidays. Locations include:
• 2700 Eglinton Avenue W.
• 1530 Markham Rd.
• 137 Edward St., 2nd floor
• Old City Hall, 60 Queen St. W., lower level.

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Toronto Medical Officer of Health strongly recommends dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theatres temporarily close

16-Mar-2020

Today, as part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing response to COVID-19, Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa is strongly recommending all bars, dine-in restaurants, nightclubs, and theatres close to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 effective 12:01 a.m., March 17, 2020.

Businesses that provide food takeout and delivery options are encouraged to keep those options available to continue to provide the public with food options while limiting social interactions between people.

Many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theatres have already taken the important step of voluntarily closing their doors to the seated public during the pandemic response. Dr. de Villa is encouraging the rest of the industry to follow that example for the health of our entire community.

Dr. de Villa warned that if businesses fail to comply with the recommendation, she will issue orders to individual establishments under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

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City of Toronto shelters strengthen response to COVID-19

17-Mar-2020

This afternoon, Mary-Anne Bédard, General Manager of the City’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA), announced the City is strengthening prevention and response to COVID-19 in our emergency shelter system. There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Toronto’s shelter system.

SSHA is responding to COVID-19 with a three-tier approach. First, it is creating the ability for additional social distancing spacing within the existing shelter system through creation of new programs. The first spaces opened yesterday and by the end of this week the plan is for 200 spaces within City facilities that are currently empty. This will not create additional capacity in our shelters, but will allow the City to move people within existing programs, particularly the 24-hour respite sites and 24-hour drop-ins.

Second, the City is creating additional isolation spaces for people identified through screening and assessment processes that are awaiting test results. This process has been initiated and the City continues to move people who need it over this week into isolation.

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City of Toronto prioritizing critical services while safeguarding employee health

17-Mar-2020

Today, as part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and following the advice of the City’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Mayor John Tory announced measures to ensure the continued delivery of critical City services and support of vulnerable communities while protecting the health of City staff and residents.

Effective today until April 5, the City of Toronto will be scaling back and/or modifying the delivery of all non-essential services. Essential and/or critical services that will remain operational are those that:
• are required to meet legislative requirements
• support employee and public health, safety and security
• enable critical community services and supports, including COVID-19 mitigation and recovery
• support services necessary to keep essential services operating
• protect and operate vital infrastructure
• fulfill contractual, legal and financial obligations.

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State of Emergency & Current Health Situation

March 23, 2020

On March 23, Mayor John Tory declared an Emergency in the city of Toronto. The declaration of a municipal emergency is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and will ensure the municipal government can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.

Watch Now

Economic Support

The Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force was launched to help protect Toronto’s economic success in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The economic impact of this pandemic will take a toll on the livelihoods of Toronto residents and businesses. The City is doing everything possible, in full cooperation with the provincial and federal governments, to minimize that impact and see an economic recovery take place as soon as possible.

The Task Force will identify immediate and longer-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses, with a focus on supporting those segments of the economy that are most strongly impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, hospitality and entertainment.

The focus of the Task Force will be on quickly determining what current supports and stimulus work needs to be done. The City will work with industry partners to identify actions to support businesses, workers, and residents in responding to the economic impact of COVID-19. This Task Force will enable the City to better respond to the evolving challenges with its partners in government, business and non-profits.

Banking

Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as:

  • pay disruption due to COVID-19;
  • childcare disruption due to school closures; or
  • those facing illness from COVID-19.

This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

Find Out More

Extension/Grace Periods

Extend a grace period for tax and other City of Toronto payments for businesses (payment and payment penalties) first for 30 days starting March 16.

The City is prepared to provide a grace period for payments and payment penalties for businesses for 30 days, starting March 16, 2020.

Property Tax Payments:

  1. for businesses on the regular three-installment payment plan, the April 1 property tax installment due date would be extended to May 1, 2020. Similarly the May 1, 2020 installment due date would be extended to June 1, 2020.
  2. for businesses on the 11-installment pre-authorized payment plan, each installment due date would be extended by 30 days..
  3. late payment penalties (applied on the first day following the installment due date where payment in full is not received) would be waived for 30 days, starting March 16, 2020.
  4. as Interim 2020 bills have already been mailed that specify the regular installment due dates, the City will use other means (website, social media, other advertising), to identify this grace period to business owners. Property tax accounts will be adjusted as necessary to reflect these relief measures.

*Update*

Source; Global News

Mayor John Tory Announces 60-Day Grace Period For City – Related Payments

Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced a 60-day grace period for City of Toronto residents and businesses on city-related payments due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The deferral is retroactive to March 16 and would cover property taxes, water and solid waste utility bill payments for all residents and businesses, Tory said in a statement issued on Friday.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned people’s lives upside down overnight,” Tory said.

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Utility Bill (Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable):

Approximately 30,000 utility bills are issued to business and residential property each week. Utility bills normally prescribe a due date approximately 21 days after the billing date. The City is prepared to extend the due date for all utility bills issued to businesses by an additional 30 days, to give utility customers an additional 30 days to make payment to take advantage of the early payment discount. This will be implemented immediately.

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

*Update*

Hydro Time Of Use Update Rates

Time-of-use pricing – Starting March 24, residential and small business hydro customers will pay the off-peak rate (10.1¢/kWh) 

 no matter what time of day the electricity is consumed. The Government of Ontario 

 Time-of-use pricing – Starting March 24, residential and small business hydro customers will pay the off-peak rate (10.1¢/kWh)  matter what time of day the electricity is consumed. The Government of Ontario indicated this will be in place for at least 45 days. This pricing will be applied automatically – no customer action is required. Some customers may receive a bill before their utility or unit sub-meter provider is able to implement the price change, in which case they will receive a credit on the following bill.

COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Brief Summary

Provide additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments. This measure would deliver almost $2 billion in extra support.

Introduce an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. This measure could provide up to $10 billion to Canadians, and includes:

Workers, including the self-employed, who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent or other dependents who are sick, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.

EI-eligible and non EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.

Introduce an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

Provide additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit. This measure would inject $5.5 billion in the economy.

Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11.

Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, and allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act.  No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in households having more money available during this period.

Provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities.  This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep their jobs.

Provide increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak. Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.

Reduce minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

Implement a six-month, interest-free, moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans.

Provide $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund, to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.

Support women and children fleeing violence by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. This includes funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.

Provide an additional $157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness through the Reaching Home program.

Measures for Businesses:

Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.

Increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. The Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations.

For full details Click Here to read more.

*Update*

March 25th, 2020

Education

Source; Global News

March 20th, 2020

The Ontario government announced the launch of a new online platform entitled, “Learn at Home” for students out of school amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Premier Doug Ford, education minister Stephen Lecce and health minister Christine Elliott made the announcement of the launch of the first phase of the endeavour at Queen’s Park on Friday.

Lecce also took the time to reassure students who were supposed to graduate this year, that no graduation will be compromised.

The minister said he is working with colleges and universities to ensure there’s “a continued application process that doesn’t get delayed” and to ultimately make sure that students are able to graduate.

Click Here to learn from home.

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