Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) self-assessment

If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care.

Ontario Together: help fight Coronavirus - Supplies Needed

If your business or organization can provide medical products such as ventilators, swabs, masks and eye protection.


AS OF JANAURY 14, 2021: Applications are now open for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant
The Ontario Small Business Support Grant is intended to help small businesses (including sole proprietorships) in Ontario that are required to close or significantly restrict services under Ontario’s provincewide shutdown effective December 26, 2020.

Eligible businesses can receive between $10,000 and $20,000. Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with funding up to a maximum of $20,000 to help with revenue losses expected as a result of the provincewide shutdown. Apply Now and Click here for the Portal Technical Guidebook. 

Eligible small businesses include those that:

  • Are required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown, which began at 12:01 a.m. on December 26;
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 percent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019 

AS OF JANUARY 12, 2021: Ontario Declares Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives

Province Issues Stay-at-Home Order and Introduces Enhanced Enforcement Measures to Reduce Mobility

TORONTO — In response to a doubling in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, the real and looming threat of the collapse of the province's hospital system and alarming risks posed to long-term care homes as a result of high COVID-19 transmission rates, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a second provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA).

The measures include:

  • Enhanced public health and workplace safety measures.
  • Five-person outdoor gathering limit, reduced from 10.
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
  • Construction projects associated with health care and long-term care remain essential, as do projects related to transit, municipal infrastructure, energy, and mining.

Learn more.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the stay-at-home order.

AS OF DEC 21, 2020: Ontario Announces Provincewide Shutdown to Stop Spread of COVID-19 and Save Lives

TORONTO — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown. Additional restrictions will be put into place and reinforce that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Provincewide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. Read the release

AS OF DEC 21, 2020: Ontario Building on Supports for Employers During COVID-19

The Ontario government continues to provide a variety of supports to employers facing challenges as a result of COVID-19. The government will now be providing even more support to small businesses that are required to close or severely restrict their operations due to the necessary Provincewide Shutdown. This will help ensure they can continue serving their communities and employing people once COVID-19 has been eradicated. Read the release.

AS OF NOVEMBER 26, 2020:  Proposing the Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020

On November 26, the government of Ontario announced they're proposing the Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020 which, if passed, would cap delivery fees charged by food delivery companies in areas where indoor dining is prohibited due to COVID-19. Learn more.  

On November 26, the Government of Ontario announced targeted testing in school communities for asymptomatic students and staff in regions of the province that currently have a high number of active COVID-19 cases. Read the release.

AS OF NOVEMBER 25, 2020: Celebrating the Holidays

On November 25, the Ontario Government urged Ontarians to celebrate the holidays at home with their own household and virtually with everyone else. For Ontarians who live alone, they recommended celebrating exclusively with one additional household as a safe way to spend the holidays. Learn more.

AS OF NOVEMBER 24, 2020: Rapid Tests

On November 24, the Ontario government deployed new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas. These new tests will provide Ontarians with more access to innovative testing options and will help quickly identify and manage outbreaks to stop the spread of COVID-19. Learn more.

AS OF NOVEMBER 6, 2020: OntarioImplements COVID-19 Response Framework

On November 6, the Ontario government announced a new colour-coded framework categorizing public health regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort. This new framework will phase out the “Stage” system. 
Full details of the new tiered framework, Public Health Unit (PHU) region classifications, and sector-specific safety measures can be found here.

AS OF NOVEMBER 5, 2020: Government of Ontario released its 2020 Budget, “Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.”

Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover. The government has a comprehensive action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID‑19. Ontario’s 2020 Budget sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.

AS OF NOVEMBER 4, 2020: Ontario Government Broadband Investment

The Ontario government announced an additional investment of $680 million (for a total of nearly $1 billion) over six years to improve and expand broadband and cellular access across the province. The $680 million being announced is on top of the $315 million to support Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This funding will be used for shovel-ready projects starting in 2019-20, will create jobs, and connect unserved and underserved communities during COVID-19 and beyond. Details here. 

AS OF NOVEMBER 3, 2020:  Ontario releases new colour-colded framework for COVID-19 restrictions

The Ontario government released a brand new, colour-coded COVID-19 framework document today that outlines when both preventative and responsive measures should be lifted or introduced in different regions across the province.

The new document, titled the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, categorizes public health unit regions into five levels based on their local COVID-19 situation: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown (which is a measure of last and urgent resort).

COVID-19 safety plan. Use this template to document how your organization will keep workers and other people safe at your workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. How to develop your COVID-19 safety plan: A guide for Ontario workplaces explains what you should think about and gives examples to help you come up with your plan.

AS OF SEPTEMBER 19, 2020: Ontario Limits the Size of Unmonitored and Private Social Gatherings across Entire Province

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Public Health Measures Table, is reducing limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province.

Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted. Read more.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government made a regulation that changed certain Employment Standards Act (ESA) rules during the “COVID-19 period.” This regulation has been amended, extending the COVID-19 period to January 2, 2021.

During the COVID-19 period (March 1, 2020 to January 2, 2021):

  • A non-unionized employee whose employer has temporarily reduced or eliminated their hours of work for reasons related to COVID-19 is deemed to be on a job-protected Infectious Disease Emergency Leave,
  • A non-unionized employee is not considered to be laid off under the ESA if their employer temporarily reduces or eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19, and
  • A non-unionized employee is not considered to be constructively dismissed under the ESA if their employer temporarily reduces or eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.

Beginning on January 3, 2021:

  • Employees will no longer be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. 
  • The ESA’s regular rules around constructive dismissal resume. This means a significant reduction or elimination of an employee’s hours of work or wages may constitute a constructive dismissal, even if it was done for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • The ESA’s regular rules around temporary layoff resume. For practical purposes, an employee’s temporary layoff clock resets on January 3, 2021.

AS OF AUGUST 5, 2020:  Ontario Government Investing in Non-Profits

The Government of Ontario announced today $83 million is being invested through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to provide grants to help eligible non-profit organizations, including food banks, child and youth programs and Royal Canadian Legion branches, recover from COVID-19 and continue the delivery of vital programming in their communities. More details here.

AS OF JULY 13, 2020: The Ontario government announced public health unit regions that will be allowed to move into Stage 3, on Friday, July 17, 2020.

As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:

  • Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;

  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;

  • Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.

Social circles in all stages at this point will also be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide, regardless of stage.

Not permitted during Stage 3:

  • Amusement parks and water parks;

  • Buffet-style food services;

  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;

  • Overnight stays at camps for children;

  • Private karaoke rooms;

  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;

  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;

  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health guidance necessary to keep the people of Ontario safe, visit

For questions on restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, review the Stage 3 Emergency Order on the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

AS OF JULY 9, 2020: Ontario Extends Emergency Orders

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 22, 2020. Learn More.

AS OF JULY 3, 2020: Ontario Supporting Restaurants as Province Safely Reopens

The Ontario government is helping restaurant and bar owners reopen and safely serve more customers by issuing a new emergency order which will allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of patios and allow covered outdoor dining areas to serve customers.

The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering.  At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors. Learn more.

Ontario Launches Online Training to Promote Safe Workplaces
The Ontario government is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for job seekers and employees.  There will be 10 courses offered, including topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and preventing workplace violence and harassment. Learn more.

AS OF JUNE 25, 2020: Declaration of Emergency Extended to July 15 and Stage 2

  • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended the provincial Declaration of Emergency under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to July 15, 2020.
  • The Windsor-Essex region will enter Stage Two of the Framework for Reopening our Province today. Leamington and Kingsville will be not be allowed to reopen with the rest of the region at this time.
  • For a complete list of regions and businesses entering stage 2, click here. 
  • For the province's new general workplace guide, to help businesses develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients, click here. 

AS OF JUNE 22, 2020: Temporary Extension for Recalling Laid Off Employees

On June 22, the temporary extension of time periods given to employers to recall employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect. For more information please click here. 

AS OF JUNE 12, 2020

Today, the regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province begins. Ontario is expected to announce on Monday additional regions can join stage 2. The full guide to stage 2 can be found here.

Effective today the limit on social gatherings will increase from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Ontario is changing its public health advice to households. Multiple households to a max of 10 people can now have close contact. The province is calling these "social circles."

AS OF JUNE 11, 2020

The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, announced the Digital Main Street platform. The $57-million program will help small businesses create and enhance their online presence. The platform will help support 22,900 Ontario businesses and create jobs for more than 1,400 students. 

AS OF JUNE 8, 2020: Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days

Today, the Ontario government announced that it is getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open by moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province.  Read More

Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the limit on social gatherings will increase from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. For a complete list of regions entering stage 2 and businesses that can reopen, please click here.

BANNING COMMERCIAL EVICTIONS . The Premier has ordered legislation to ban all commercial evictions for those who qualify for the commercial rent relief program. The ban on evictions took effect on June 3 and will last until August 31. Learn more. 

ONTARIO EXTENDING OUTDOOR PATIOS. The Ontario government will allow restaurants and bars to temporarily extend outdoor patio spaces to safely accommodate patrons and staff once licensed establishments are permitted to fully reopen for business. Learn more.

AS OF JUNE 5, 2020: The government of Ontario has extended the declaration of emergency to June 30. Further details on stage 2 of re-opening are expected next week. Learn more.

AS OF JUNE 4, 2020:  Premier Ford confirmed the province is close to lifting the current restriction on short-term rentals in Ontario — just in time for the summer season. More details to come. 

The Ontario government appointed Dr. Jane Philpott as the special advisor to support the design and implementation of the new Ontario Health Data Platform (formerly known as PANTHR).

AS OF MAY 27, 2020: Ontario Emergency Order Extended

Today, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 9, 2020. Click here for a full list of extended emergency orders

UPDATE: The province continues to update its COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool. The Tool now directs Ontarians with any of 17 listed COVID-19 symptoms to self-isolate and contact a doctor or Telehealth Ontario for further instructions as they may be eligible for testing. 

AS OF May 14, 2020: Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen. 

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

  • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.

  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.

  • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.

  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.

  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.

  • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.

As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020:

  • Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.

  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.

  • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.

  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.

The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment for their workers.

AS OF MAY 6, 2020: Ontario Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19. Retailers to follow health and safety guidelines

The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores. The business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners. More information.

AS OF MAY 4, 2020: Key Government Updates

The Ontario government is expanding testing and tracing critical to stop the spread of COVID-19. In partnership with Ontario Health, Public Health Ontario, local public health units, and hospital and community laboratories, the Ontario government has developed an integrated laboratory system. Learn more.


Beginning today, the Ontario government is permitting certain businesses to open providing they comply with strict public health measures to operate safely as we enter the first stage of re-opening the province's economy. Learn more. 

AS OF April 30, 2020: Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace

Find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.

AS OF April 27, 2020:  Reopening Ontario after COVID-19
On Monday, April 27, 2020 Premiere Ford announced his roadmap to re-opening Ontario following COVID-19.  The Framework for Reopening our Province details a three-stage approach where public health and safety will be a top priority while balancing the needs of businesses and individuals.

Stage One:

  • opening select workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines

  • allowing essential gatherings of a limited number of people

  • opening some outdoor spaces

  • continued protections for vulnerable populations

Stage Two:

  • opening more workplaces with significant mitigation plans

  • opening more public spaces

  • allowing some larger public gatherings

  • continued protections for vulnerable populations

Stage Three:

  • opening all workplaces responsibly

  • relaxing restrictions on public gatherings

  • continued protections for vulnerable populations

AS of April 14, 2020: On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, the Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for an additional 28 days. The extension of the provincial declaration of emergency allows Ontario to continue to enforce all current emergency orders. 

On April 9, the Ontario government launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more. 

AS OF April 3, 2020: Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government announced it is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close.

The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.

Private sector industrial, commercial and institutional projects will be affected, while public sector infrastructure work and some residential construction will be allowed to continue. 

Projects related to the health-care sector, including any work necessary to ensure the production of critical equipment and medical devices, as well those required to maintain the operations of petrochemical plants and refineries, will be exempted from the shut down.The updated essential businesses list can be found here.

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is critical that businesses are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources to respond to protect public health and ensure the continued essential operations of their organizations.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce team, in collaboration with Hicks Morley, have put together a toolkit to help support businesses be prepared for any human-resources or operational-related disruptions.

COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for Ontario Businesses. Click here

Ontario Government Updates

The Government of Ontario has introduced the following measures to support businesses:

  • Lower electricity rates for small businesses, farms, and residents until at least May 8, and banning electricity disconnection for those that fail to pay their utility bills until July 31. Click here for more information. 

  • Tax deferrals:

    • $6 billion in provincially administered taxes deferred from April 1 to August 31

    • $1.8 billion in property taxes deferred for 90 days (including the provincial education tax) in collaboration with municipal partners 

  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premium and expense deferrals of $1.9 billion for employers for 6 months. 

  • Postponement of the 2021 property tax reassessment. 

  • Changes to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) to retroactively reduce the tax and temporarily increase the exemption to $1 million

  • A Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit to support regions lagging in employment growth. 

  • For more information about these and other provincial measures, click here. 

Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 25, 2020

Stop the Spread Business Information Line Now Open at 1-888-444-3659 (March 25, 2020)

Ontario Providing Electricity Relief to Families, Small Businesses and Farms During COVID-19 (March 24, 2020)

News Release: Ontario Orders the Mandatory Closure of All Non-Essential Workplaces to Fight Spread of COVID-19 (March 23, 2020)

Official Global Travel Advisory

Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Many airlines are suspending flights. Many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving. Exit bans are becoming more frequent. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. Canadian travellers should return to Canada as soon as possible.

Contact your airline or tour operator to determine options for cancelling or postponing your trip.

If you must travel despite our advisory:

  • You may have difficulty returning or may be unable to return to Canada

  • You may have difficulty obtaining essential products and services such as food, water, medication and medical services

  • You may face strict movement restrictions and quarantines

  • You may face penalties, fines, or imprisonment if you do not follow the restrictions and orders of local authorities

  • Your insurance may not cover your travel or medical expenses.

  • We may have limited capacity to offer you consular services

You should also:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities

  • Monitor local media to stay informed of the situation and of the available transportation options to return to Canada

  • Regularly check your destination’s Travel Advice and Advisories and register with us for the latest updates

  • Get the Government of Canada’s latest updates on COVID-19

  • Check the Pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice

  • Ensure that you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted

  • Check with your travel insurance provider to know more about their policies related to COVID-19 and find out if you are covered for medical treatment if you become infected with COVID-19 as well as for extended stays outside of Canada (more about travel insurance)

This advisory overrides other risk levels on our Travel Advice and Advisories pages, with the exception of any risk levels where the advice is already for you to avoid all travel.

Financial help for Canadians affected by COVID-19 outside Canada

Canada has announced the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad to help Canadians return home. For more information on this program, visit COVID-19: Financial help for Canadians outside Canada.

Avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19.