On April 6, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced the details of the Support for Families initiative, part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. Premier Ford was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott; Minister of Education Stephen Lecce; and Minister of Finance Rod Phillips.
Following the announcement, Premier Ford answered questions about Ontario’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Later this afternoon, Ontario announced the deferral of property taxes for people and businesses in parts of Northern Ontario located outside of municipal boundaries.
Ontario also announced an emergency order which will allow first responders to obtain information about COVID-19 positive status when responding to calls.
Support for Families Initiative
Today, Premier Ford announced the details of Ontario’s new Support for Families initiative, which was included as a financial relief measure for families in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. The Support for Families initiative offers direct financial support to parents while Ontario schools and child care centres remain closed as a result of COVID-19. The initiative offers parents a one-time payment of $200 per child between 0 and 12 years of age and $250 per child with special needs between 0 and 21 years of age. The funding is intended to allow parents to access additional tools for children to use while at home and studying remotely.
Interested parents can complete an online application at Ontario’s Support for Families web page to access this financial support.
Personal Protective Equipment Supply
Following today’s announcement, Premier Ford answered questions about Ontario’s PPE supply after he issued a statement that the province has roughly a one-week supply of critical PPE remaining.
Premier Ford reiterated that the items Ontario most desperately needs are level 2 surgical masks, N95 masks, and surgical gowns.
When asked about directives being given to hospitals to conserve the supply of N95 masks, Premier Ford said the province has not yet reached this point. However, he pointed to Quebec where doctors are re-using masks after cleaning and sanitizing them and said Ontario may also consider this approach.
Relief for Remote Northern Property Taxpayers
Later this afternoon, the Ontario government announced the deferral of $15 million in property taxes for people and businesses in parts of Northern Ontario located outside of municipal boundaries. This tax deferral is in addition to the $10 billion in cash flow supports made available to people and businesses in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
The deferral of the Provincial Land Tax in remote parts of Northern Ontario will provide relief for the owners of over 63,000 residential and business properties. Taxpayers will have 90 extra days to pay without incurring interest or penalties.
This deferral of unincorporated area property tax payments applies to all of the levies that are collected through the consolidated Provincial Land Tax bill. This includes Provincial Land Tax, education property tax, and any Local Road Board and Local Service Board levies that are paid through the Provincial Land Tax bill. The province will continue to make payments to Local Roads and Services Boards to ensure the deferral does not have a financial impact on services in remote communities. The province will also adjust payments to school boards to offset the deferral.
Emergency Order to Protect First Responders
Ontario also announced an emergency order this afternoon which will allow police, firefighters and paramedics to obtain COVID-19 positive status information about individuals with whom they are coming into contact. This information will allow first responders to better protect themselves when preparing to respond to an emergency.
The information disclosed will be limited to an individual’s name, address, date of birth, and whether the individual has had a positive COVID-19 test result.
Today’s emergency order comes after a Peel paramedic was exposed to COVID-19 on the job while responding to a motor vehicle collision.