While our health and safety is the top priority for us, our finances are also utmost in our minds. The following is a list of current information about programming that may help you and your loved ones. Please keep in mind, new forms of assistance keep occurring, so although this list is fairly extensive at the time of it being written, there will likely be additional resources available by the time you read it.
Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:
- “The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim
- Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support inquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period…1-833-381-2725
- Priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine
- People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate
- People who cannot complete their claim for EI sickness benefits due to quarantine may apply later and have their EI claim backdated to cover the period” (until January 25, 2020)
The federal government is also:
- “Temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.
- New Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, up to 15 weeks, to provide income support to workers who have to stay home and don’t have access to paid sick leave.
- A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.
- Doubling the homeless care program.
- Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1 and allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after Aug. 31 amounts that are due after today and before September.”
- Decreasing prime lending rate.
- Unrolling financial support for businesses, including small businesses.
The provincial government is aiming to pass legislation that will provide job protection for employees:
- The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19, is in isolation or quarantine, employer directs employee to not work, the employee needs to provide care to a person related to COVID-19 such as a school closure.
The government is assessing “emergency assistance which is available through the Ontario Works (OW) program to support individuals who are impacted by the corona-virus and who are not able to meet their basic living expenses.”
Locally, Ontario Works and ODSP offices are conducting business as usual, although requesting their clients use phone contact rather than attending their offices. If you require Ontario Works assistance, please call them at 1.866.414.0300 for Hastings County; 1.877.324.9870 for City of Kawartha Lakes (Lindsay) and 1.705.748.8830 for Peterborough County.
Many banks are willing to work with their clients on a case-by-case basis, to help provide flexible options in response to gaps in pay, illness from the virus, childcare costs. Contact your bank directly to discuss options that may be available to you. Also, check your various credit card or loan fine print—you may have purchased long-forgotten insurance for illness coverage.
Even some companies, such as Bell, are offering to waive internet overage fees, which can help us if we are forced to work (or educate) from home. Pharmacies may arrange to have your medications delivered to your home—call your pharmacy to discuss.
Ministry of the Attorney General said, “Tribunals Ontario is reviewing pending eviction matters in light of the rapidly evolving circumstances related to COVID-19 and no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice.” The statement also mentioned that Sheriff’s offices will be postponing enforcement of existing eviction notices (this week).
If you have a matter before the Provincial Courts, these matters have been adjourned until after April 3, 2020—you should be notified by mail of this.
Bancroft Community Transit will continue to provide transportation to medical appointments, they require 24 hours’ notice.
bancrofthelp.ca is a local site established to link volunteers with those who need practical assistance.