COVID-19: Updates

  • Community Update

Attorney General announces $4 million to support victims and protect front-line justice staff

Attorney General Doug Downey today announced emergency action to support victims of crime and protect front-line staff who continue to uphold the administration of justice in response to COVID-19.

The government of Ontario is providing an emergency payment of more than $2.7 million to support services for victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Staying home is unfortunately not always the safest option in certain households and sadly a recent increase in domestic violence has been reported to front-line victim service organizations,” said Attorney General Downey. “This emergency payment will ensure victims of crime, particularly those who are experiencing domestic violence, get the help they need  to stay safe and healthy during this crisis.”

This additional one-time emergency payment will help more than 50 community agencies across Ontario, including victim crisis assistance organizations (VCAOs), Indigenous organizations and those based in rural areas, stay operational and accessible to victims during the public health crisis. Funds will help front-line staff respond to challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and enhance access to immediate supports for victims, including extended hotels stays, and transportation and meal vouchers available through the Victim Quick Response Program Plus (VQRP+).

Ontario is also working closely with justice partners to ensure critical services continue while keeping essential front-line workers and all Ontarians safe. 

To support these efforts, the government is investing $1.3 million in technology to help courts and tribunals continue the transition to remote operations. Investments include additional laptops, conference lines and doubling the complement of digital recording devices for court use. This funding was announced on March 25th in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.

Ontario’s courts and tribunals continue to shift to audio and video conferencing to hear priority matters. To date, all courtrooms in the Ontario Court of Justice are operating remotely. Matters involving individuals held in custody are now being held remotely, removing the need for transportation and transfers between correctional facilities and courthouses.

Ontario is also working with justice partners to support the transition to remote operations, including expanding e-filing tools.

Avoiding Layoffs

Extending the Work-Sharing program

Government of Canada is extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The Work-Sharing program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.

It is important to understand the Work-Sharing eligibility criteria and program terms and conditions before applying. Please consult the Work-Sharing Applicant Guide and provide your employees with a copy of the Employee Annex before submitting an application.

Employers are instructed to submit their completed applications by sending an email to: Service Canada will acknowledge in writing the receipt of your application.

For additional information, please refer to the active link stated above. you can also refer to our community update on businesses that will offer you further information.

Ontario Increasing Public Health Units’ Capacity to Stop COVID-19

To support public health units’ extensive efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, Ontario is taking further action to redirect existing resources to focus squarely on the fight against this new virus while allowing for public health units to considerably increase their capacity.

Access COVID-19 Lab Test Results

Ontario has launched a new user-friendly online portal for the public to easily access their COVID-19 lab test results. By offering faster and secure access to test results on their computer or mobile device, this portal will help ease pressures on public health units and frontline workers to provide this information so that they can better focus on containing COVID-19.

“With this new portal, patients will be able to access their test results faster from the safety of their home,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “It will help reduce the burden on our public health units and frontline health workers, allowing them to focus their efforts where they are needed most during this challenging time.”

Ontario is also issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, effective immediately, to provide public health units the authority and flexibility they need to make staffing decisions that support their ongoing fight against the outbreak of COVID-19, despite any collective agreements. As a result, public health units will be able to significantly expand their capacity to implement critical public health functions, such as case and contact management, through the use of volunteers, including the thousands of retired nurses and medical students who have signed up through the province’s website.

This latest order will support the recommendation made by Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, for all public health units to implement more aggressive contact tracing and management in response to the increase of community transmission. The province’s medical officers of health are also encouraged to use their authority under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to ensure isolation of cases and contacts of COVID-19.

“We are at a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19,” said Elliott. “Our success as a province depends on our ability to quickly and effectively stop the spread of this new virus. These actions offer considerable support to our local health units and give them the authority they need to act and contain COVID-19 in our communities.”

Quick Facts

  • Patients will be asked to verify their identity with the information on their photo health card. The portal will provide patients with their test results and offer guidance on next steps.
  • If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Toolto see if you need to seek further care.