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ONN: https://mailchi.mp/theonn.ca/covid-19-policy-updates

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Provincial funding for social services and changes to legislation nonprofits need to know

COVID-19 Ontario relief fund for social services

On March 23, the Ontario government announced that it is providing $200 million in social services relief funding in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The province will be providing municipalities and organizations that administer social services with funding to support them in their response to COVID-19. The funding will help municipalities and social service providers such as shelters, food banks, emergency services, charities and nonprofits continue to deliver their critical services, hire additional staff, and find ways to promote social distancing and self-isolation to keep clients safe and healthy. Ontario’s municipal service managers will determine local needs and distribute the funding, ensuring clients are receiving the support they need.

Funding will also be made available to organizations delivering social services to First Nations individuals and families.

Included in the $200 milion is an expanded Emergency Assistance program administered through Ontario Works, to help individuals who do not qualify for emergency financial supports under federal programs. There will also be discretionary benefits available to those who already receive social assistance.

ONN will analyze the allocation of this funding and how it will be administered. We will continue to monitor this and other supports recently announced. 

We encourage organizations to contact their municipality directly. See the link below.

On March 13, ONN sent a letter to the Premier of Ontario with four recommendations to support nonprofits and the communities they serve, including a stabilization fund for nonprofits; revisiting employment standards policies for paid sick days and emergency leave; clear communication about flexibility measures to assist nonprofits receiving funding directly from the provincial government; and expressly including nonprofit voices at leadership tables for emergency preparedness planning.

Resources

Government of Ontario: Ontario Protecting the Most Vulnerable During COVID-19 Crisis

Government of Ontario: How to find your local service manager

ONN: Nonprofits must be included in COVID-19 relief plans and contingency fund

COVID-19 Provincial changes to emergency leave

On March 19, the Ontario Government passed Bill 186, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020. The Act amends the provisions around leaves of absence, by repealing provisions of Declared Emergency Leave of the ESA and has introduced a new leave: Emergency Leave: Declared Emergencies and Infectious Disease Emergencies. With these changes, employees who are in quarantine or in isolation due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away to provide care for children due to school or daycare closures or relatives, are now provided with unpaid job-protected leave of absence.

For more details, read ONN’s one-pager on Bill 186 here.

COVID-19 Federal economic response plan

On March 18, 2020 the Government of Canada unveiled an economic response plan to help people and businesses navigate the COVID-19 outbreak. While workers and organizations will receive $27 billion in direct supports, an additional $55 billion will be provided to meet cash flow needs through tax deferrals.

The response plan includes many measures, but below we have only provided insights on those that are of interest to nonprofits and charities and their workers.

Read ONN’s briefing note

211: Have you updated your service information?

211 is asking human service organizations across the province to let them know about any changes to your services listed on the site, especially those meeting basic needs (e.g., financial aid, food security, and shelter) and emerging COVID-19–related community supports. Fill out a form here to let 211 Ontario know of any changes or additions to your services.

Please also direct people you serve to 211 Ontario for the latest information on new and changing social and community services. This will help free up 911, 311, and Telehealth Ontario so they can focus on health and municipal services inquiries. Find out more information here.