March 2020
Ontario Providing COVID-19 Support to Municipalities

2020-03-23 5:03:37 PM

The Ontario government has announced $200 million in COVID-19 relief funding for the province’s municipalities and social service providers. This includes shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities and non-profits.

The consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMMs) and District Social Services Administration Boards (DSAABs) will be responsible for allocating funding based on local priorities.

The $200 million in funding will also be allocated to:

  • Expand access to Emergency Assistance under the current provisions of Ontario Works by:

    • Suspending the rule that limits emergency assistance provision to only once in a six-month period for individuals and families affected by COVID-19; and

    • Allowing people to receive emergency assistance for longer (48 days) without submitting a full Ontario Works application.

  • Enable Ontario Works administrators to provide discretionary benefits to social assistance recipients. This can be put towards meeting a broad range of needs including cleaning supplies and clothing to individuals and familiies experiencing due to COVID-19.

  • Temporarily modify certain social assistance program requirements, such as:

    • Defer visual verification requirements of original documents and allowing the use of email or alternative methods to submit reports or documents; 

    • Program staff no longer suspending clients who do not report income and suspending Eligibility Verification Process reviews; and 

    • Enable program staff to approve extensions to Special Diet Allowance, Mandatory Special Necessities benefits, and medical transportation/supplies without the endorsement from a health professional.

In his announcement today, Premier Ford also announced that all non-essential workplaces will be closed at 11:59pm on Tuesday and will be in effect for at least two weeks. The government will be releasing a list of businesses that are allowed to stay open tomorrow. 

The government is still scheduled to release its economic outlook on Wednesday, March 25th, which is in place of the government's 2020 provincial budget. 

For more information, please see below:

Ontario Newsroom: Ontario Protecting the Most Vulnerable During COVID-19 Crisis:

Ontario Newsroom: Changes to Ontario’s Emergency Assistance Program in Response to COVID-19

CTV News: Ontario to spend $200M on social services amid COVID-19 crisis


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