Member Update, January 12, 2021

Ontario Declares Second Provincial Emergency

Today, the Ontario government declared a second provincial emergency along with additional restrictions, effective immediately for at least 28 days. This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has doubled in the past two weeks, severely threatening the capacity of the healthcare system.

New measures include:

  • Stay-at-home order as of Thursday, January 14 at 12:01am (aside from essential purposes e.g., groceries, medical appointments)
  • Extended school closures in hotspots until February 10, with emergency childcare available for eligible families
  • Outdoor gatherings limited to five people, with limited exceptions
  • Mandatory masks in all indoor spaces and strongly recommended outdoors
  • Non-essential stores limited to operation between 7am and 8pm
  • Non-essential construction further restricted
  • Increased inspection and enforcement measures, including workplaces

Key takeaways for the sector:

  • Enforcement of evictions is temporarily suspended until the emergency ends, except in urgent situations (the LTB will continue hearing eviction applications and issuing orders)
  • Construction on affordable housing projects is permitted to continue
  • All non-essential workers must work remotely where possible
Members are advised to review an updated version of Ontario’s summary document of shutdown measures for sector-specific guidance

Supports for organizations and priority communities:

The government did not announce any new supports to accompany these restrictions, but restated supports announced as part of the provincial shutdown on December 26, 2020:

Supporting tenants and staff:

As part of the stay-at-home order, providers must take steps to allow employees to work remotely where possible and support tenants in remaining at home.

As part of the Safe Restart Agreement, the federal government is funding a temporary income support program that allows workers to take up to 10 days of leave related to COVID-19. Find more information about federal supports, including Employment Insurance, Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

With the impacts of social isolation on mental health and well-being, members are encouraged to direct staff and tenants to the province’s COVID-19: Support for People website, which has information about many free mental health services and supports. Providers coordinating tenant outreach and wellness checks can also find templates and policies to support this work in ONPHA’s COVID-19 Resource Hub under Tenants and Community.

ONPHA will continue monitoring for additional details and keep members informed, and continue advocating for sector stabilization funding.

If you have any questions about this update, contact