February 16, 2021

, Ontario MPPs returned to the legislature following the holiday break. The legislature is scheduled to sit for 13 weeks.

Government House Leader Paul Calandra’s office issued a news release outlining legislative priorities for the upcoming session, which includes the delivery of a Budget by March 31st. The government also intends to focus on COVID-19, preparing for economic recovery, breaking down barriers to justice for Ontarians, modernizing the legal sector, and Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy.

Additional Announcements

This morning, the government announced an investment of up to $118,500 to develop COVID-19 resources to protect the health and safety of agri-food sector employees.

The government is also providing the Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT) with $4.3 million to ensure that the provincial agency can continue to protect historical sites during the pandemic. The one-time investment was announced today as part of celebrations for Ontario Heritage Week. The investment will protect jobs, ensure that Ontario heritage properties remain supported and accessible, enable the OHT to continue offering province-wide programming, fund preservation efforts, and support compliance with public health protocols.

This afternoon, the government announced expanded eligibility for the Main Street Relief Grant. This grant provides financial support to eligible small businesses, to help offset costs associated with purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and safely operating during COVID-19.

Further Details

Improved Farm Safety for Agri-Food Workers

Today, the government announced an investment of up to $118,500 to develop COVID-19 resources to protect agri-food sector employees, including temporary foreign workers. New resources will be designed by the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association and will be available in a variety of languages and formats. Resources will be distributed to farms, greenhouses and food processing operations across the province.

Resources for agri-food workers are being developed as part of the Prevention, Control and Outbreak Support Strategy for COVID-19 in Ontario’s Farm Workers, which outlines measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the agri-food sector.

Expanded Eligibility for Main Street Relief Grant

The government also expanded eligibility for its Main Street Relief Grant today, which provides eligible small businesses with financial support to offset the costs of purchasing PPE. This announcement acknowledges that most of Ontario’s public health regions are transitioning back to the COVID-19 Response Framework today, allowing for a resumption on in-person shopping at non-essential retail stores.

Eligibility for the Main Street Relief Grant has been expanded to include businesses with 2 to 19 employees (expanded from businesses with 2 to 9 employees). Businesses in the following sectors may apply to receive up to $1,000:

  • Retail;
  • Accommodation and food services;
  • Repair and maintenance;
  • Personal and laundry services;
  • Gyms and yoga studios; and,
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation.

The grant can be used to cover a variety of PPE costs incurred since March 17, 2020, including the installation of plexiglass, or the purchase of gloves and masks.