COVID-19: General Info

 

For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus — COVID-19, please visit the following links below:

 

  • The City of Toronto – Toronto Public Health:

https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/diseases-medications-vaccines/coronavirus/

  • The Province of Ontario – The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care:

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx

  • The Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19):

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

 

Question: Property Taxes

 

Is the City going to continue to charge property taxes while all of this is happening?

 

The 60-day grace period for property tax and utility bill payments and late penalties ended Friday, May 15. Customers already enrolled in the City’s pre-authorized payment plan didn’t have to re-enroll because payments will start again automatically after the grace period ends.

Property owners should have received a letter in the mail regarding payment due dates. Please visit the Property Tax and Utility Bills section of the COVID-19: Changes to City Services website for more details.

If you have further questions about the Pre-Authorized Tax Payment Program, give my office a call at: (416) 338-5335 and we can help you.

You can also call #311 or the City of Toronto’s Tax & Utility Inquiry Line: 416-392-0719.

For more information, please visit: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/affected-city-services/

 

Question: Rent

 

I can’t pay rent because I am not working. What can I do?

 

Not knowing how you are going to pay your rent is stressful.

Until further notice, the Landlord and Tenant Board, under the province of Ontario, is suspending the issuance of eviction orders and all hearings related to eviction applications — unless the matter relates to an urgent issue such as an illegal act or serious safety concern. For more information you can visit the Landlord and Tenant Board online at: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/contact/

You can also visit the Steps to Justice website managed by Community Legal Education Ontario or CLEO for commonly asked questions about tenant rights. For more information, please visit: https://stepstojustice.ca/

If you have applied for EI or the CERB, financial support will continue to come in.

 

City of Toronto’s Rent Bank Update:

 

The City of Toronto has made recent program enhancements to the Toronto Rent Bank in response to COVID-19. As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an economic impact on the livelihoods of Toronto residents. Many are facing financial hardship, including the inability to pay rent. The Toronto Rent Bank provides interest-free loans to low-income households in Toronto who are experiencing rental arrears or require help with a rental deposit in order to prevent homelessness.

The City of Toronto has made an investment of $2M to the Toronto Rent Bank to support approximately 800 additional low-income households to remain housed.

Program changes have also been implemented to be more responsive to the needs of low-income households during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • Increasing the maximum allowable loan from $3,500 to $4,000 for up to 3 months of rental arrear loans.
  • Automatically deferring all loan repayments for up to a period of 12 months
  • Eliminating the eligibility requirement that households demonstrate a steady income on a go-forward basis
  • Moving from original copies to electronic document verification
For more information on how to apply, residents may call 416-397-RENT(7368),
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Outside of operating hours, callers may leave a message and a representative will return their call. More information about the Toronto Rent Bank is available on their website.

Please call my office at: (416) 338-5335 if you have further questions.

 

&

 

What about commercial rent?

 

  • Prime Minister Trudeau announced commercial rent relief for small and medium businesses that would cover up to 75% of rent payments. Businesses that are paying less than $50k/month in rent will qualify.
  • Reached agreements with all provinces and territories to lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The government will cover 50% of that reduction, with the property owner covering the rest – also applies to non-profits and charities.
  • The reopening of the economy will happen gradually to ensure any gains are not lost. It has to happen one step at a time and we must follow public health guidelines.
  • The Government of Canada will outline further details about this program, announce them and update their website. For more information, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en.html

 

Question: Food Access

 

I can’t afford to buy food, where can I go now?

What about my neighbour? She’s senior with mobility issues and a language barrier. I think she needs help accessing food.

 

Being able to access food is always a priority. I have a list of local organizations and food banks that are supporting our community.

  • ANIDA Food Bank:  ANIDA is providing food hampers to families in need. Address: 4401 Steeles Ave. W. Hours: Thursdays from 10 AM – 12 PM. People can call to make an appointment; call: 416-667-9333. To donate food items, please call the above number as well. For more information, please visit: https://www.211toronto.ca/detail/en/220185
  • North York Harvest Food Bank: North York Harvest has paired with the Toronto Public Library to open the Jane and Sheppard branch for food bank service on Thursdays from 12 PM to 3 PM.  This location will serve clients that had previously used the Society For the Living Food Bank. Please call their information line at: 416 635 7771 ex. 0 or emailinfo@northyorkharvest.com to schedule an appointment. For more information, please visit: https://northyorkharvest.com/find-food-bank-3/

 

Question: Doctor’s Assistance

 

How can I access a doctor when my local family practice is closed?

 

 

 

  • Polyclinic: For those who may not have access to a Family Physician, Polyclinic has introduced a Virtual Walk-in Clinic, operating from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Please visit their website or call 416-222-6160 X 3 to schedule your virtual appointment. // http://polyclinic.ca

 

Question: Where do I go for mental health supports?

 

My friend is going experiencing anxiety attacks and I don’t know how I can help them.

 

  • Crisis Services Canada: (Canada-wide) from 4 PM -12 AM eastern. 1-833-456-4566 24/7, or Text: CSPS to 45645
  • Distress Centre (GTA): 24-hour crisis line 416-408-4357 or Text: 45645
  • Good2Talk: 24-hour post-secondary support service 1-866-925-5454 or Text: GOOD2TALKON to 686868
  • Kid’s Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: https://www.camh.ca/
  • The Mental Health Commission of Canada: Acts as a resource hub with a long list of external tools and sites, nation-wide. Please visit: https://www.mentalhealthca/English/covid19
  • Morneau Shepell and the WellCan App: This is a free, downloadable option. They provide assessments, wellness content, and a health directory for further medical care. Please visit: https://www.morneaushepell.com/ca-en/welcome-wellcan
  • Wellness Together Canada: For mental health and substance use Support. Provides connections to volunteers and qualified mental health professionals that you can speak to. For their Crisis Text Line: Text WELLNESS to 741741 . For their website, please visit: https://ca.portal.gs/

 

Question: How do I find help for seniors?

 

My neighbour is elderly and has no family close-by, where should they go for help?

 

  • Toronto Seniors Helpline: (416) 217-2077 or 1-844-946-1700
  • 211 Ontario for a full listing of services provided Ontario-wide.
  • Service Ontario for questions about ODSP or OW. For more information, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/serviceontario
  • Service Canada for questions about Old Age Security (OAS) or pensions. For more information, please visit: https://www1.canada.ca/en/esdc/service-canada.html
  • Jane Finch Centre (delivering services remotely/online) Administrative: (416) 663-2733; admin@janefinchcentre.org OR Seniors/Community Mental Health: (416) 663-2733 ext. 236.
  • Black Creek Community Health (mainly operating essential services out of Sheridan Mall): (416) 249-8000.
  • Good Neighbour Project for grocery and essential supply pick up/delivery: (647) 873-2230.

 

Question: How do I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

 

 

Under what circumstances can I apply?

 

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is available to those who stop working for reasons related to COVID-19, for example:
  • You have lost your job;
  • You are in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19;
  • You are taking care of others because they are in quarantine or sick due to COVID-19; and/or
  • You are taking care of children or other dependents because their care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
  • There may be other reasons related to COVID-19 beyond these examples of why you may have stopped working. However, you cannot voluntarily quit your job.
  • Alternatively, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if:
  • You are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits; or
  • You are a former Employment Insurance claimant who used up your entitlement to your Employment Insurance regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019, and October 3, 2020.
  • To get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you may not earn more than $1,000 for a period of at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four week period of your claim or $1000 in total for each subsequent claim.
  • If you have more questions about CERB, The Government of Canada will outline further details about this program, announce them, and update their website. Visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

 

Question: How do I find help for students?

 

My internship got canceled this summer, now what?

 

  • CESB (Canada Emergency Student Benefit):
  • The Federal Government announced on Wednesday, April 22 that they are launching the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit for post-secondary students whose education and job prospects are disrupted by the pandemic.
  • The CESB will add up to $9-billion, and post-secondary students can receive $1,250 per month from May to August.
  • The CESB benefit can increase to $1,750 for people with disabilities/have dependents.
  • Announced the government is creating 76,000 jobs for students in industries/sectors that currently need a helping hand (e.g. Contact tracing, Agriculture, and others).
  • The Government of Canada will outline further details about this program, announce them and update their website. For more information, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/support-for-students-and-recent-graduates-impacted-by-covid-19.html

 

Question: How do I apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)?

 

How can I access support to keep my business afloat and pay my staff?