Providing Financial Relief and SupportPublished on April 07, 2020
Our PC government is taking decisive action to provide financial relief and support for all Ontarians as we continue to combat COVID-19.
Our Government has been in constant contact with its Federal counterparts and has been working hard to coordinate a response that will provide direct support to families, businesses and workers.
Please find below a detailed list of current Provincial and Federal financial supports available to Ontarians:
Support for Individuals, Workers and Families
- Providing a one-time payment of $200 per child aged zero to 12, and $250 for those with special needs aged zero to 21. Applies to all children of Ontario residents, regardless of circumstance. Apply online.
- Expanding eligibility for the Low‑income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID‑19 outbreak.
- Providing emergency electricity rate relief for families, farms and small businesses. This includes:
- A fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. This fixed electricity price will be in place from June 1 – October 31, 2020.
- Providing $8 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business to support businesses struggling with electricity bill payments as a result of the outbreak.
- $9 million for the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program, which will provide one-time payments to consumers to help pay down electricity bill debt incurred during the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications will be available through local utilities in the coming months.
- Extending the Ontario Energy Board’s winter disconnection ban until July 31, 2020.
- Providing financial aid for food and housing through COVID-19 Emergency Assistance.
- Launched a new web portal – Ontario.ca/AgFoodJobs – to connect workers with employers looking to fill positions in the agri-food sector. This new online tool will make it easier to match people to essential jobs and training resources throughout the provincial food supply chain.
- Providing a $4 per hour worked increase to frontline staff, on top of existing hourly wages and regardless of the qualified employee’s hourly wages. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month will receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for the next four months. This means eligible employees working an average of 40 hours per week would receive $3,560 in additional compensation.
- Providing $52 million from the Ontario's Action Plan financial package to better support individuals and families in financial crisis through social assistance. This funding will support those who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food costs, rent and medicine.
- Making the cost of prescription drugs more affordable for those on the Ontario Drug Benefit Program by allowing patients to not pay any co-payment until July 1 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now given in installments Additionally, existing and new Trillium Drug Program households can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce the financial burden for families.
- Investing up to $2.25 million to help farmers better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of healthy food products for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Support is also available for farmers who experience unexpected costs for housing and transportation as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak among on-farm employees.
- Making additional funding available to help you pay for things related to COVID-19 like cleaning supplies, transportation and clothing. If you are an Ontario Works or ODSP recipient, you can get this additional funding by contacting your local Ontario Works or ODSP office. Funding for COVID-19 related expenses is the same for both programs: up to $100 for single individuals and up to $200 for families.
- Providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing to help new eligible apprentices purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, and forgiving $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers.
- Providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20.
- Providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.
- Deferring the filing due date for the 2019 tax returns of individuals until June 1, 2020.
- Providing $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Canadians can apply online with CRA My Account or by phone by calling the automated toll-free line at 1-800-959-2019 (please have your social insurance number and postal code handy to verify your identity).
- Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits if you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate.
- Working with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top up to the salaries of low-income essential workers (those who earn less than $2,500 per month on a full time basis. More details will be released shortly.
Support for Seniors
- Doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment to help low-income seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak. The first doubled GAINS payments were issued in April 2020. Individuals will receive up to $166 per month and couples will receive up to $332 per month. This will provide an additional $75 million to 194,000 vulnerable seniors.
- Investing $10 million to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors.
- Reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
- Providing $9 million for local organizations to support essential services to Canadian seniors.
- Organizations who received funding under the 2019-2020 New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based stream will be able to use their funding to provide immediate and essential services to seniors.
- Providing a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
- Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
Support for Vulnerable People
- Providing $200 million in social services relief funding, which includes expanding access the Emergency Assistance program. This will help struggling individuals and families who are not able to access federal assistance to cover needs such as food, rent and medicine during this public health crisis. Funding will also be made available to organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families. Call your local office if you need to apply for social assistance or apply online.
- Providing $40 million through the COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund to support organizations that provide residential services for children and youth, people with developmental disabilities and emergency shelters for women and families fleeing domestic violence.
- Providing $26 million in support for Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.
- Investing over $2.2 million in Kingston and $1.5 million in Muskoka to provide people who are homeless or a risk of homelessness with the housing and support services they need.
- Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
- Making personal hygiene products and nutritious food more affordable for Northerners in isolated communities through Nutrition North Canada.
- Providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative to support those experiencing homelessness.
- Supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres.
- Providing $7.5 million to Kids Help Phone to ensure children and youth have access to the mental health support they need.
Support for Students
- Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students, leaving more money in people's pockets.
- Suspending repayment and interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until September 30, 2020.
- Providing support to students and new graduates through the proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. More details will be made available soon.
- Launching the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) to help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new CSSG will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall. Details to follow shortly.
- Proposing changes to the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) to allow more students to qualify for support and be eligible for greater amounts. Details to follow shortly.
Support for Businesses
- Proposing a temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million.
- Providing businesses five months of interest and penalty relief to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
- Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax Credit, the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.
- Making available $6 billion by providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
- Over $1.8 billion by deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide municipalities the flexibility to provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses, while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.
- Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.
- Partnering with the federal government to provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). The total amount of provincial-federal relief that would be provided is more than $900 million.
- Partnering with the federal government to invest up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online to provide more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending to help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.
- Allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell spirits with a food order at a lower price (reducing the minimum price of $2.00 per 29 mL to $1.34 per 29 mL) and making it easier for cideries to sell directly to consumers by temporarily removing the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit in order to qualify for a store at their cidery.
- Providing businesses with a wage subsidy up to 75 per cent through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
- Allowing employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the CRA through the Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy.
- Extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing Program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers affected by COVID-19.
- Allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020.
- Allowing businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports.
- Establishing a Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to provide $65 billion of additional support.
- Providing interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits through the new Canada Emergency Business Account.
- Increasing credit available for farmers by allowing an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.
- Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders.
- Providing $287 million to support rural businesses and communities by providing them with much-needed access to capital through the Community Futures Network.
- Providing $675 million to give financing support to small and medium-sized businesses that are unable to access other COVID-19 business supports, through Canada's Regional Development Agencies.
- Canadian banks will provide $40,000 loans, backed by the federal government, to small and medium sized businesses.
- The Bank of Canada also lowered interest rates to 0.25%, down from 0.75% announced on March 13.
- Establishing the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.
- Providing nearly $962 million through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies. This fund is specifically targeted to those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access existing support measures.
Through the Business Credit Availability Program:
- Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The program is now available at various banks and credit unions.
- EDC’s Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million, to sustain operations during this uncertain period. EDC will continue to work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75 % of new operating credit and cash-flow loans – ranging in size from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million. More details will be made available soon.
- Business Development Canada (BDC) is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The support is available until or before September 30, 2020. The program is now available at various banks and credit unions.
- BDC’s Mid-Market Financing Program will provide commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures BDC anticipates that qualifying companies will have annual revenues in excess of approximately $100 million. More details will be made available soon.
- Waiving tariffs on certain medical goods, including PPE such as masks and gloves.