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.

 

RECENT UPDATES

 

AS OF APRIL 8, 2021: Stay-at-Home Order

The government issued a province-wide stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 and lasting four weeks, the government. More information.

 

KEY DETAILS FROM THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT

  • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, just declared a third provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA).
  • The Stay-At-Home Order is in response to rising ICU rates and the rapid increase of COVID-19 variants.

Overview:

  • The majority of non-essential retailers must only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, and other restrictions. Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to essential items.
  • Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted.
  • People living in regions with the highest rates of transmission will be prioritized to receive a vaccine, starting with the most at-risk in the Peel and Toronto public health regions.

Retail:

  • Effective April 8, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., the majority of non-essential retailers must only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, and other restrictions.
  • Restricting access to shopping malls to limited specified purposes, including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall, along with other restrictions.
  • Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only;
  • Permitting select retail stores to open by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., with additional public health and workplace safety measures.

Education:

  • Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted, with strict safety measures in place.
  • Beginning next week, education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, will be eligible to register for vaccination. Vaccinations will commence during the April break starting with priority neighborhoods in Toronto and Peel, then rolling out to priority neighborhoods in other hot spot regions, including York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham. This will be followed by a rollout across the province as supply allows.

Vaccinations:

  • As part of Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, people living in regions with the highest rates of transmission will be prioritized to receive a vaccine, starting with the most at-risk in the Peel and Toronto public health regions.
  • This initiative will be expanded to additional “hot spot” regions based on established patterns of transmission, severe illness, and mortality.
  • To support this expanded vaccination effort, mobile teams are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18 or over.
  • Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in highly impacted neighborhoods, including at faith-based locations and community centres in those hot spots, in collaboration with public health units and community organizations within those communities.
  • On Friday, April 9, 2021, individuals aged 50 or older in public health units with highly impacted neighbourhood, as identified by postal code, will be eligible to book their vaccine through the provincial booking system.

Workplace Inspections:

  • Health and safety inspectors and provincial offenses officers will increase inspections and enforcement at essential businesses in regional hot zones to continue protecting essential workers while on the job.

Rapid Testing:

  • Rapid testing continues to be deployed in workplaces for asymptomatic staff in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, construction and food processing, and additional outreach will occur to employers in regions with the highest rates of transmission to increase access to testing.
  • Enrolling in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program will be streamlined to allow for quick access to these supports. 

AS OF APRIL 1, 2021:Ontario Implements Provincewide Emergency Brake

TORONTO —The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge  in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.

 

  • Personal services and gyms will be closed
  • Restaurants can provide take-out and drive-thru services only (no indoor or outdoor dining)
  • Essential retail stores can operate at 50% capacity
  • Other retail stores can operate at 25% capacity
  • April break for schools will continue, and school will continue to stay open
  • No gatherings

For more information, click here. 


AS OF MARCH 24, 2021: Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy

TORONTO — Today, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy released Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy. The 2021 Budget is the next phase of Ontario's response to COVID-19 and is the second Budget the government has delivered during the pandemic. Read more.


AS OF FEBRUARY 12, 2021: Waterloo Region to move into red-control zone of province's reopening framework

Waterloo Region will enter the red-control zone of the province's reopening framework when the stay-at-home order ends on Tuesday, February 16.

 

After returning to the framework, individual health units will stay at their level for at least two weeks, then the government will reassess. The Ford government also recently introduced an "emergency brake" - that Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and the local medical officer of health can use to move an area into lockdown (grey) immediately.

 

The Ontario government will allow 27 regions to transition into the province's colour-coded reopening framework Tuesday, ending the stay-at-home order and allowing for a partial reopening of non-essential businesses. Of the regions moving into the colour-coded system, Niagara will be the only region in the grey-lockdown zone, which will allow businesses to open at 25 per cent capacity.

 

Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and North Bay Parry Sound District are not included in the regions moving into the tiered system and the stay-at-home order will remain in place until at least Feb. 22

 

Here are some of the restrictions that will take effect in Waterloo Region on Tuesday:

 

Retail

  • supermarkets , convenience stores and pharmacies open at 75 per cent capacity
  • all other retail at 50 per cent capacity, including big box, liquor, hardware and garden stores
  • capacity limit and signs advising not to enter if you have COVID-19 symptoms must be posted publicly
  • only non–adjacent fittings rooms open
  • maximum of 10 patrons seated in mall food courts

 

Restaurants and bars

  • 10 people allowed indoors where distancing allows, maximum of four per table with two metres or an impermeable barrier between tables
  • no buffet-style service
  • patrons must be screened and contact information collected
  • face coverings required except when eating and drinking
  • workers must wear PPE, including eye protection when coming with two metres of someone not wearing face covering
  • no liquor served after 9 p.m., establishments must close by 10 p.m.
  • no dancing, singing or live music
  • night clubs and strip clubs can only operate as restaurant or bar

 

Sports and recreation

  • no contact, maintain two metres distancing at all times or three metres around weights, equipment or in exercise/fitness class
  • where distancing can be maintained, 10 people allowed indoors or 25 outdoors, no spectators except one guardian for those under 18
  • reservations required and patrons can remain for maximum of 90 minutes unless playing a sport
  • training only allowed for team sports, no games or scrimmage
  • exceptions for high-performance athletes and parasport
  • face covering required except when exercising
  • patrons must be screened and contact information collected

 

Personal service

  • no services requiring removal of face coverings is allowed
  • oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, bath houses, most sensory deprivation pods and other adult venues closed
  • patrons must be screened and contact information collected

 

Other businesses and events

  • organized public gatherings can include a maximum five people indoors, 25 outdoors
  • religious services can operate at 30 per cent capacity indoors, 100 people outdoors
  • casinos, bingo halls and gaming can open with 10 people indoors, 25 outdoors, no table gaming, no liquor served after 9 p.m., no liquor consumption after 10 p.m., patrons must be screened and contact information collected
  • cinemas closed except for drive-ins, rehearsal and performance of recorded/broadcast events allowed with restrictions

AS OF FEBRUARY 9, 2021: Stay at home orders extended for most of the province

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework").  Read the government's release here. 


Public Health Unit Region Classifications and Framework Adjustments

The following three regions will be moving back to the Framework on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order: 

 

        Hastings Prince Edward Public Health; 

        Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; and 

        Renfrew County and District Health Unit. 

 

The individual Stay-at-Home orders for 28 public health regions will remain in place until Tuesday, February 16, 2021 with some exceptions
For Toronto, Peel and York regions, the Stay-at-Home orders will continue until Monday, February 22, 2021. Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at that time.


The Ontario government has also updated the Framework to allow for retail. Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with significant public health and safety requirements, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent. 


In addition, public health and safety measures in retail settings will be strengthened for other levels of the framework. Individuals will also be required to wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when indoors in a business, with limited exceptions. Click here for the full list of public health region classifications.   


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.


AS OF SEPTEMBER 3, 2020: 

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 ontario.ca/reopen.

 

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.

 

CERTAIN BUSINESSES PERMITTED TO REOPEN TODAY IN ONTARIO

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.