Member Update: April 21, 4:30PM

Provincial funding and services to help seniors and people with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak

The Ontario government is delivering support to Ontario's most vulnerable citizens, including seniors and persons with disabilities, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The province is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need and doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments.

GAINS provides a monthly, non-taxable benefit to low-income Ontario seniors. These payments are provided on top of the federal government’s Old Age Security pension and federal Guaranteed Income Supplement payments to ensure seniors have a minimum income level. Payments are being automatically doubled for current GAINS recipients ― no additional applications are required. Payments are issued on the 25th of each month, or the first business day prior if the 25th falls on a non-business day.

The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario. The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.

This week the province will also be issuing the first doubled Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments. Individuals will receive up to $166 per month and couples will receive up to $332 per month. These doubled payments will continue for six months and provide an additional $75 million to 194,000 vulnerable seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The province is investing $40 million in the Residential Relief Fund. The funding will assist developmental services, child welfare, victims’ shelters, and organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families with COVID-related costs, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced staffing. In addition, the government is providing $148 million to municipal partners that administer social services with funding to support the province's most vulnerable as part of the province's $200 million in social services relief funding in response to COVID-19.

To identify a Meals on Wheels provider in the local community and request service, visit www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca. To learn more about this initiative, you can contact ONPHA today at member.support@onpha.org.