Government Resources and Support for COVID-19

General Health

Toronto Public Health – provides information on Toronto health resources and regularly shares updates on local COVID-19 cases. Visit the site

Telehealth Ontario – is a free, confidential service. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit site.

Mental Health Support
– if you are feeling anxious you can chat live with a Public Health Nurse through eChat: toronto.ca/health/eChat. For other social services: visit 211.

Self Assessment – If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care. Visit Self Assessment tool.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that circulate both in humans and animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illness, similar to the common cold and spread easily between people. There are however, strains of coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans which have caused more severe illness in humans in the past, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). These tend to have more difficulty spreading from person to person

Symptoms:

COVID-19 symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses. Know what to look out for:

  • Fever Cough
  • Muscle aches and tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Less commonly, people experience a sore throat, headache and diarrhea.

How to protect yourself:

I am proud to see how our community has responded so far, how individuals have improved their hygiene practices. I would like to give you some helpful tools so you can continue practicing proper hygiene, self-monitor, and know who to contact for assistance:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill
  • Stay home if you are ill
  • Self-isolate if you have been out of the country within the past 14 days
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

You must stay home and self-isolate if you have:

  • A lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection, do not require hospitalization, and a medical practitioner has indicated that you can recover at home
  • Symptoms of COVID-19, even if you have not been tested
  • Been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms
  • Travelled outside of Canada, including the United States, within the past 14 days

For your protection, you should self-isolate if:

  • You are over 70 years of age
  • You have a weak immune system
  • You have a medical condition

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is recommending physical distancing as a way to minimize COVID-19 transmission in the community. Physical distancing measures include:

  • keeping 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others
  • avoiding mass gatherings
  • avoiding crowds

How does it impact my services?

Based on recommendations from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, to help slow the rate of COVID-19 infection in Toronto and protect vulnerable populations including seniors, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals experiencing homelessness, the City of Toronto has cancelled most City-operated programs and closed a number of City facilities.

The City remains prepared to respond to emergencies. Emergency response by Toronto Police, Fire Services, and Paramedic Services is not impacted.

Click her to view the full list of City of Toronto services impacted by COVID-19: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/affected-city-services/


How Is the City Going to Help?

Mayor John Tory has announced the Economic Support and Recovery Task Force, aimed to help protect Toronto’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While working together with our federal and provincial partners, the City is doing everything possible to minimize the negative impact COVID-19 is having on our economy. The Task Force will outline immediate and long-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses.

How Will the City Protect Taxpayers? 
Provide a grace period of 60 days for properties on the regular 3-instalment payment plan, no further instalment payments will be required until June 1, 2020.

The new instalment structure for those on the regular instalment plan (2020 Final Tax bills will be sent out in May 2020) is:

  • March 1, 2020: Interim Billing instalment #1 due
  • April 1, 2020: No instalment due
  • May 1, 2020: No instalment due
  • June 1, 2020: Interim Billing instalment #2 due
  • July 2, 2020: Interim Billing instalment #3 due
  • August 4, 2020: Final Billing instalment #1 due
  • September 1, 2020: Final Billing instalment #2 due
  • October 1, 2020: Final Billing instalment #3 due

For property owners on the 11-instalment pre-authorized payment plan, Interim 2020 instalment due dates will be extended by 60 days. Customers will be advised of revised instalment amounts and withdrawal dates for the Final 2020 bill.

Late payment penalties will be waived for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020 to reflect these relief measures.

Utility Bill (Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable):
Utility bills are usually due approximately 21 days after the billing date. The City is extending the due date for all utility bills issued to all residents by an additional 60 days, to give utility customers an additional 60 days to make payment, and still take advantage of the early payment discount.

For Renters

Tribunals Ontario has communicated that “No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice” due to inability to enforce and hold hearings. Even if a landlord gives written notice, the tenant doesn’t have to move out. The landlord must first get an order to end the tenancy from the Landlord and Tenant Board – this usually includes a hearing where the tenant can present concerns.

Tenants Whose Income is Affected by COVID-19

Toronto Community Housing will be flexible and work with market rent and rent-geared-to-income tenants.

The City directed social and affordable housing providers to be flexible, exercise discretion and work with tenants.

While the City has no power to direct landlords, all property owners are strongly urged to find ways to help tenants to stay in their homes and to proactively communicate with tenants about options, if available.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

Customers behind on electricity or natural gas bill and face having service disconnected may qualify for emergency financial help through the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). There are also special customer service rules available for low-income households. Customers need to meet certain criteria to qualify for these programs.

Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)

Customers of an electricity utility and in a lower-income home may qualify for a reduction on your electricity bill through this program. 

Property Tax Relief

Home owners can apply for property tax relief if they experience illness that results in loss of work, or if they are experiencing extreme poverty.

Toronto Hydro

The Government of Ontario is providing temporary 45-day emergency relief to support Ontarians impacted by the global COVID-19 outbreak. As of March 24, 2020, households, farms and small businesses that pay time-of-use electricity rates will be charged the off-peak rate of 10.1¢ per kWh, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, Toronto Hydro  has extended its current suspension of residential electricity disconnections until July 31, 2020, so customers don’t have to worry about being without electricity during this time. They’re encouraging customers to contact their Customer Care team directly at 416-542-8000 for help with billing concerns and payment options. They also have financial assistance programs available to help customers manage their electricity costs.

How Will the City Support Businesses? 

The City will provide a grace period for payments and payment penalties for businesses for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020.

Property Tax Payments

  • for businesses on the regular three-instalment payment plan, the April 1 property tax instalment due date would be extended to June 1, 2020.
  • for property owners on the 11-instalment pre-authorized payment plan, Interim 2020 instalment due dates will be extended by 60 days.
  • late payment penalties (applied on the first day following the instalment due date where payment in full is not received) would be waived for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020.
  • as interim 2020 bills have already been mailed that specify the regular instalment due dates, the City will use other means (website, social media, other advertising), to identify this grace period to business owners. Property tax accounts will be adjusted as necessary to reflect these relief measures.

Utility Bill (Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable): Approximately 30,000 utility bills are issued to business and residential property each week. Utility bills are usually due approximately 21 days after the billing date. The City is extending the due date for all utility bills issued to businesses by an additional 60 days, to give utility customers an additional 60 days to make payment to take advantage of the early payment discount.

24-Hour Retail Delivery Exception  
fective immediately, and until further notice, all retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries. The City’s Noise Bylaw includes the ability to provide an exemption in response to extraordinary circumstances affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community. This exemption will ensure retailers can receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week to ensure essential goods remain in stock.


How does this impact Toronto Community Housing Services (TCHC)?:

  • As of March 18th, TCHC offices will close to public and tenants 
  • Staff will meet with tenants by appointment only.
  • Tenants should contact the Client Care Centre to request services.
  • All non-essential maintenance and repairs will be deferred. 
  • All 2020 Tenant Election activities and all public meetings are suspended.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting common areas where people gather and all frequently touched surfaces three times daily.

How Can I Get In Contact With TCHC Representatives? You can contact TCHC’s 24/7 Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500 or email help@torontohousing.ca at any time to talk to a client care agent. 


What Else is TCHC Helping its Tenants ?

TCHC is doing the following to ensure the best for its tenants during this time: 

  • Redeploying staff to call tenants and do wellness checks for all tenants who have been previously identified as vulnerable.
  • Working with tenants who need help with daily help tasks during this time, such as food and medicine delivered to their home.
  • Asking all tenants who are self-isolating to voluntarily inform TCHC so that appropriate safety measures can be taken and connect them to needed supports.
  • Food banks which agencies normally operate in TCHC buildings are still open, with special precautions for cleanliness and social-distancing.
  • TCHC working with volunteer networks and others to ensure good can be delivered to tenants who need supplies during the COVID-19 emergency period.
  • TCHC is working with partner agencies in Toronto, including health agencies and food bank providers, to fill any gaps when agencies have had to cut back services, and to ensure we continue to support vulnerable tenants
  • Regularly informing tenants about COVID-19 measures
    • Regularly distributing posters to buildings to update tenants. Posters are being translated into multiple languages
    • Maintaining a dedicated website page where tenants can get daily updates about TCHC’s response to COVID-19 in multiple languages and links to Public Health information.

How Else Can I Stay Informed on COVID-19 News ?

Below is a list of resources our office has put together in order for you to stay informed on all the different aspects on COVID-19:

City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Resource Page: 

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/

The Government of Canada’s Economic Response Plan:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html

City of Toronto’s Economic Support & Recovery Task Force: 

https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/economic-support-recovery/

Province of Ontario’s Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Diseases Emergencies), 2020:

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/employment-standards-amendment-act-infectious-disease-emergencies-2020.html


Non-city resources and organizations

211
If you need help finding financial assistance, mental health support, employment support, childcare, housing, food, clothing and/or shelter:  visit 211central.ca, call 211 or text 21166 for assistance.

211 Central connects people living in the GTA to over 4,000 programs and social services such as financial help, employment services, mental health, home care, housing, shelters, food and childcare. It offers a free, 24/7 confidential service in 150 languages, including online, text and chat services. 
It is funded by United Way Greater Toronto, the City of Toronto, and the Government of Ontario.
Link: 211central.ca


Good Neighbour Project
This is a network of community members that are willing to assist with delivering supplies and groceries to those with disabilities, compromised immune system, accessibility barriers and the elderly, across the GTA.
Phone: 647-873-2230
Email: info@goodneighbourproject.com 
Link: Goodneighbourproject.com


Friendly Neighbour Hotline
University Health Network’s OpenLab is helping vulnerable seniors—the group most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic—by mobilizing volunteers to deliver groceries and other household essentials. The service gives priority to seniors living in low-income housing.

The Friendly Neighbour Hotline went live on Monday, March 23. Currently, it is only serving Toronto seniors (55+) who live in low-income housing. The toll-free Hotline is available in 180 languages.
1-855-581-9580
This service is also available as an online form tinyurl.com/hotlineorder
Link: http://uhnopenlab.ca/project/hotline/

Help for seniors by JRCC
The JRCC is offering services to assist eligible seniors stay at home during this difficult time. Are you 70+ and need help shopping? We want to help you stay home and stay safe. Are you in need of groceries/medication or get to a doctors appointment? LET US HELP YOU.

Give us a call at 416-222-7105 #999 or visit www.jrcc.help

We need volunteers!!! Let us know if you can help. For more information or to volunteer visit www.jrcc.help

Kosher Meals on Wheels by Bernard Betel
Bernard Betel is running kosher Meals on Wheels program, 416-225-2112, ext. 134

Assistance with Filling out Forms – Financial Aid by North York Community House

North York Community House (NYCH) and their multilingual team providing support to community members with applications for EI and other financial support. Please get in touch with one of their settlement workers. You can find their information here: 

https://www.nych.ca/settlement-workers-at-nych