COVID-19 Info Update – Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19

Posted by: Ira Timothy
in: All News

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips released a $17 billion aid package to support Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. The government announced several measures aimed at helping residents, businesses, the health care sector, and urban Indigenous populations.The total package contains $7 billion in direct support to various communities as well as $10 billion in business tax and other tax-related deferrals. Ontario’s Action Plan includes:Government budget

  • $2.5 billion reserve “to provide continued flexibility to respond to changing global circumstances”

Health care

  • $1 billion COVID-19 contingency fund to respond to “emerging needs”
  • $935 million aimed at addressing hospital capacity issues as well as for ICU/critical care beds, equipment, COVID assessment centres
  • $124 million for transitional projects (moving less severe hospital patients to other settings to free up hospital capacity)
  • $243 million for emergency long-term care home capacity and virus containment
  • $160 million for public health units for COVID-19 monitoring, lab testing, virtual care and TeleHealth Ontario
  • $75 million for personal protective equipment for frontline staff
  • $80 million for paramedics
  • $70 million for new infection control measures at retirement homes, shelters, residential care facilities

Parents and students

  • $340 million for one-time payments of $200 for each child 12 and under, $250 for each child 12 and under with special needs

Seniors

  • Doubling of guaranteed annual income system payments for low-income seniors
  • New coordination of meal and medicine deliveries

Hydro

  • $1.5 billion increase in electricity relief
  • For a 45-day period, time-of-use electricity rates will be suspended, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50% compared to on-peak rates.
  • Expansion of the low-income energy assistance program’s eligibility and ensuring no disconnections for nonpayment

Post-secondary education debt

  • OSAP repayments suspended for six months

Indigenous Peoples

  • $26 million in emergency assistance for urban Indigenous communities

Workers

  • $100 million for skills training for workers impacted by COVID-19
  • Previously announced job-protected leave for employees in isolation, quarantine and those caring for children

Businesses

  • $6 billion in provincial business tax interest and penalty relief for five months
  • $355 million for a temporary increase in Employer Health Tax exemption (companies with less than $1 million will be exempt from paying, estimated to help 57,000 businesses)
  • 10 per cent corporate tax credit for regions with “lagging employment growth”
  • $1.9 billion for the deferral of WSIB premiums for up to six months

Municipalities

  • $1.8 billion to pay for the three-month deferral of property tax payments municipalities are required make to school boards for three months
  • Municipalities urged, but not required, to provide deferrals to municipal taxpayers

RESOURCESOntario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19:https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

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