Support for Individuals

 

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A FRAMEWORK FOR REOPENING OUR PROVINCE

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FIRST STAGE:

Ontario’s first stage of reopening the province will start on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will include the following: 

  • several retail services
  • seasonal businesses
  • recreational activities for individual competitors
  • pet care services
  • indoor and outdoor household services that follow public health guidelines
  • resuming certain health and medical services

 

 

 

GENERAL SUPPORTS OFFERED

 

The health and well-being of all Ontarians is my priority as your local Member of Provincial Parliament. This is why I have compiled a list of government supports available to Ontarians’ as a result of COVID-19. We are working closely with all levels of Government to support Ontarians in financial need and those experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. While details of some of these programs are still being finalized, I hope this list will be helpful to you:

 

CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT:

  • CERB is a benefit of up to $2,000 per month for up to 4 months. You’re eligible if you are:
  • Self-employed;
  • Sick, or directed to quarantine/self-isolate, but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits;
  • Taking care of a family member with COVID-19
  • EI-eligible or non EI-eligible working parent who must stay at home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.
  • People making $1000 or less per month
  • Seasonal workers
  • Those who have run out of EI since January 1st, 2020  

Online portal is now open. Sign up for MY ACCOUNT through the CRA website – enter required information for direct deposit. This will speed up your application process.

Application dates are split up by birth-months as outlined below:

  • January – March: APPLY ON MONDAYS
  • April – June: APPLY ON TUESDAYS
  • July-September: APPLY ON WEDNESDAY
  • October-December: APPLY ON THURSDAY
  • ANYONE CAN APPLY ON FRIDAYS, SATURDAY AND SUNDAYS

You can apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), not both.

The Benefit is available for the period from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.

You Must Re-apply for CERB Every MonthCERB DOES NOT CARRY-OVER AUTOMATICALLY.
The 2nd eligibility period starts the week of April 13.
Only apply to the CERB through Service Canada or CRA, not both.

EXTRA TIME
TO FILE TAXES:

2019 Income Tax filing date has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Owe money? Balances deferred until August 31st without any accrual of interest or penalties.

Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you to not delay your 2019 return filing to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.

NEXT STEPS: This change does not require Ontarians to take any action aside from deferring your tax filings and payments.

MORTGAGE
DEFERRAL:

Banks have agreed to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to help manage hardships caused by COVID-19.

NEXT STEPS: Click on the button below to learn more. You will need to discuss your situation directly with your mortage provider. Your mortgage payments will not be deferred automatically.

FREEZING OF ELECTRICITY PRICES:

The Government of Ontario has frozen electricity prices at the lowest “off peak” rate, 24 hours a day.

Beginning on March 24 for a period of 45 days, customers will automatically pay a flat rate of 10.1 cents per kWh. This is expected to reduce the monthly bill of a typical residential customer by about 15% during this period. Hydro One will also be automatically waiving late payment fees until May 7.

NEXT STEPS: This change does not require Ontarians to take any action.

AUTO INSURANCE
RELIEF

By amending a regulation under the Insurance Act, the Government of Ontario has enabled insurance companies to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the declared emergency has ended.

The expectation of the Government is that auto insurance companies will provide relief that reflects the significant financial hardships their customers are facing due to COVID-19.

SUPPORT FOR SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHICS

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS:

  • Working with local businesses, charities and health services to coordinate subsidized meals, medicine and essential item deliveries to seniors. The Government of Ontario is investing $5 million dollars and the Government of Canada is investing $9 million that will help bring peace of mind and reduce the need for seniors to leave their homes.
  • Invested over $85 million to provide more physicians & nurses to rural and northern Ontario and enable physicians to conduct video, email and phone visits.
  • Doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for 6 months to support over 194,000 low income seniors in Ontario. The maximum payments for individuals increases to $166/ month and $332/ month for couples.
  • Investing $243 million to long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, adding staff to support infection control and purchase additional supplies.

  • Reducing minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and the impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

  • Spark Ontario: The Government of Ontario is partnering with SPARK Ontario to help seniors and the most vulnerable stay connected and healthy as they self-isolate during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Volunteer organizations can visit www.sparkontario.ca to post volunteer opportunities available in their communities. The needs of each community vary, but groups across the province are looking for volunteers to help deliver food or medicines, run errands or check-up on seniors and the most vulnerable by phone or email while they self-isolate.

    Ontarians interested in volunteering are encouraged to check the website for opportunities to make a difference where they live.

  • Seniors, people with disabilities, and others in need of assistance can also be connected to essential services in their community at any time by visiting www.211ontario.ca or by dialing 211 or 1-877-330-3212 (toll free). TTY service is also available by dialing 1-888-340-1001.

  • Ontario Community Support Program: The Ontario government is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need.

    The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario. The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.

    To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in your local community and request service, visit the link below.

    Those without Internet access or who require service in a language other than English or French can dial 211 or 1-877-330-3213 (toll free). TTY service is also available by calling 1-888-340-1001.

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES:

  • Providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Care Benefit. Approx. $550 more for the average family. This payment will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.
  • Assisting families with a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age and $250 for those with special needs.

    *If you have applied for support under the Government of Ontario’s Support for Parents website you will automatically recevie payment, if not, please click on the link below. 
  • One-time special payment for low and modest income families through the Goods and Services Tax Credit. The average benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. These payments began rolling out on April 9th.
  • Learn at Home: Providing Ontario based content to keep your children focused on learning with interactive teacher-led STE(A)M supports, empowering all students to continue learning during COVID-19.

  • Working with rural and remote school boards to identify options for providing materials to students who may have limited access to internet.
  • In partnership with Apple and Rogers the Ontario Government is providing iPads with LTE data plans for students of low income families. This will allow all students access to the learn at home programs ensuring everyone can continue their education. 

    The iPads will be distributed by the Ontario School boards. School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad.

SUPPORT FOR LOW/MODEST INCOME & THE MOST VULNERABLE:

  • The Government of Ontario is providing $200 million in new funding to assist people in financial need, municipalities and other service providers like food banks, homeless shelters and emergency services.
  • Reaching Home Initiative: $157.5 million to support a range of needs, including: beds, physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
  • One-time special payment in May through the Goods and Services Tax Credit. The average benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.

  • NEXT STEPS: This change does not require Ontarians to take any action.
  • Women’s Shelters: The Government of Canada is providing women’s shelters and sexual assault centers with an additional $50 million to help increase capacity to deal with COVID-19.
  • Energy Bills: Increasing supports for low-income families with their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring there will be NO disconnects during COVID-19.
  • Financial Crisis Assistance: To support individuals, expanded access to temporary emergency assistance for those in financial crisis.
  • Ontario Community Support Program: The Ontario government is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need.

    The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario. The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.

    To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in your local community and request service, visit the link below.

    Those without Internet access or who require service in a language other than English or French can dial 211 or 1-877-330-3213 (toll free). TTY service is also available by calling 1-888-340-1001.

Emergency Community Support Fund: The Government of Canada has launched the Emergency Community Support Fund to invest $350 million to support charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to the most vulnerable Canadians.

  • The investment will flow through national organizations that can get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:
  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications

  • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments

  • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support

  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits

  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers

  • Replacing in-person contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet

SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS:

Canada Emergency Student Benefit: Through this program, eligible post-secondary students will receive $1250 per month from May to August. Students with dependents or a disability will receive $1750 per month.

  • Eligibility: Post-secondary students currently in school, planning to start in September, or who have graduated since December 2019. You must also make less than $1000 to be eligible.

More details to follow on this program.

Financial Assistance from the Government of Canada (All Post Secondary Students)

Grants: Canada Student Grants will be doubled for all eligible full-time students, up to $6,000, and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.

Loans: The maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 through the Canada Student Loans Program will be increased from $210 to $350.

Eligibility for assistance: Broader eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21.

Support for Graduate Students: Expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships will be extended. Existing federal research grants to support students and post-doctoral fellows will be supplemented by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

Canada Student Service Grant : The Government of Canada will compensate students who choose to volunteer for their country and community against COVID-19 up to $5000, depending on their hours. This will provide students with valuable skills and work experience as well as income to support their education. 
 
More details to follow on this program.

Student Loan Payment Deferral: Providing a 6 month moratorium on the repayment of student loans. No payment will be required and interest will not accrue during this time.

  • To ensure students can successfully complete the academic year, Ontario has finalized an agreement with eCampusOntario to make digital learning supports available to post secondary institutions.

     

  • Providing $25 million to Colleges, Universities and Indigenous Institutions to allow them to address priorities on their campus related to COVID-19.

iPads for Low Income Students: In partnership with Apple and Rogers the Ontario Government is providing iPads with LTE data plans for students of low income families. This will allow all students access to the learn at home programs ensuring everyone can continue their education.

The iPads will be distributed by the Ontario School boards. School boards will determine requirements for student eligibility to receive an iPad.

Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program: The Government of Canada has announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program in order to help employers (with 50 or fewer full-time employees) hire youth (age 15-29) this summer, including

  • An increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.

  • An extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.

  • Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.

  • Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.

  • Allowing employers who missed the deadline of February 28, 2020, to apply now.

The earliest job start date is May 11, 2020.

SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES:

  • Support for Indigenous Students: an increase of $75 million in 2020-21 to existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation post-secondary students.
  • The Indigenous Community Support Fund will allocate $305 million to address the immediate needs of First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.

  • Providing $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities for emergency assistance and expanded health care professionals, emergency planning and self-isolation needs.

SUPPORT FOR FRONT LINE WORKERS:

In recognition of the dedication, long hours and increased risk of working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario Government is providing front line staff with a temporary pandemic payment. Details include:

  • $4 per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages
  • Monthly lump sum payments of $250 for four months for employees
  • Average total benefit of $3,560
  • Effective 16 weeks, from April 24 until August 13
  • Over 350,000 front line workers will be eligible to receive the temporary payment including those in health car, long-term care, social services and correction

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