29th Edition Covid-19 Update





Below you will find today’s updates on the COVID-19 situation.

My team and I are monitoring the situation closely and sharing resources and information here in our daily newsletter, on our COVID-19 Information Hub, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Our goal is to help you have the latest facts at your fingertips during this challenging time.




  • Plan to reopen Ontario’s economy
  • Schools will be closed until at least May 31
  • Frontline workers will get $4 pandemic pay increase
  • APPLY NOW: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • APPLY NOW: Funding to help agri-food sector sell products online
  • Important note about qualifying for CERB
  • Details on rent relief for businesses hit by COVID-19
  • Farmers markets can open in Ottawa this summer
  • Community gardens will re-open
  • Provincial Parks to stay closed until at least May 31
  • City-run childcare centres reopen after negative COVID-19 tests
  • Tips to deal with stress and anxiety as week seven of COVID-19 measures begins
  • Free website support from Rebel 101.7
  • City flags at half-mast for National Day of Mourning (Workers' Mourning Day)
  • Virtual Trivia Night


Plan to reopen Ontario’s economy

  • Today, the Ontario government released A Framework for Reopening our Province
  • It is a three-stage plan to reopen the economy.
  • There are no firm dates in the plan.
  • “I won’t set hard dates until we are ready, because the virus travels at its own speed.” – Premier Ford
  • The stages for reopening are:
    • Stage 1: Select workplaces that can "immediately meet" public health guidance and some outdoor spaces like parks
    • Stage 2: More workplaces based on risk assessments, which could include some service industries and retail; and some larger gatherings.
    • Stage 3: Further relax restrictions on public gatherings and open all work places "responsibly." Even in this phase, however, "large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for the foreseeable future."
  • When and how Ontario reopens will depend on factors including:
    • A consistent 2-4 week drop in new daily COVID-19 cases.
    • A decrease in cases not traced to a source.
    • A decrease in new hospitalizations.
  • Last week the premier was asked if some sections of the province that are not being hard hit by COVID-19, like rural communities, could open earlier than urban areas. Ford cautioned against that, saying all areas of the province are connected.
  • Mayor Jim Watson and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches are supportive of the plan released today.
  • Dr. Etches says Ontario’s framework appears to mirror the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health’s ideas for safely relaxing the physical distancing requirements.
  • Ottawa Public Health will review the plan with the City of Ottawa and health care partners to see what it means for Ottawa. 


Schools will be closed until at least May 31

  • Education Minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement yesterday that public schools will stay closed until at least May 31.
  • Students will still be able to complete the school year.
  • There currently isn’t a plan to extend the school year into the summer.
  • More decisions about the school year will be determined “in the coming weeks”.
  • Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will stay closed until May 6 (the emergency order only allows closures to be extended for 14 days at a time).
  • Government news release


Frontline workers will get $4 pandemic pay increase

  • The Ontario government has announced a $4/hour pandemic pay increase for front-line workers.
  • Those working over 100 hours a month will also get a $250 bonus per month.
  • The top-up will start this Friday and will continue for 16 weeks.
  • Eligible staff include those at long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, correctional institutions and youth justice facilities, and those providing home and community care. The full list is here.
  • More than 350,000 employees across Ontario will qualify for the pandemic pay.
  • Official news release


APPLY NOW: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

  • Today is the first day businesses can apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
  • The subsidy covers up to 75% on the first $58,700 of an employee's salary – making the maximum $847 a week per employee.
  • The goal is to help businesses keep staff on payroll or re-hire workers who were laid off.
  • Businesses can expect the first wage subsidy payments to arrive on May 7th
  • To be eligible, businesses (including non-profits and charities) must have seen a reduction in revenue of at least 15% in March 2020, and 30% in the following months. For eligibility criteria CLICK HERE.  
  • This subsidy is retroactive as of March 15, 2020.
  • 10,000 businesses have already applied today. 
  • Go here for information on how to apply.
  • Note: you won’t be able to keep both the wage subsidy and the CERB. It’s one or the other, not both.


APPLY NOW: Funding to help agri-food sector sell products online

  • The provincial and federal government have announced a $2.5-million investment to help food producers, farmer’s markets, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries and others sell their products online.
  • Agri-Food Open for E-Business has two funding streams:
  • COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, and our investment today in e-business will go a long way to connecting the people who grow our food with the people who buy it, while allowing them to practice physical distancing.” - Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • The application process is open.
  • Eligible applications will be assessed on a continuous basis, while funding is available.
  • To apply or learn more about this program, click here or call 1-877-424-1300.
  • Government news release


Important note about qualifying for CERB


Details on rent relief for businesses hit by COVID-19

  • On Friday Premier Ford announced the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA).
  • The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to commercial property owners (landlords) facing potential rent shortfalls because their tenants -small businesses- are impacted by COVID-19.
  • ‘Impacted’ small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000/month in rent and have temporarily closed or seen a 70%+ drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.
  • The loans to property owners would cover 50% of rent payable by small business tenants in April, May and June.
  • To receive the loan, property owners must reduce the rent of small business tenants for April to June by at least 75% and pledge not to evict the tenant.
  • Here is the rent breakdown:
    • Tenants (small businesses) pay 25%
    • Landlords will absorb 25%
    • The Federal government and Provincial government share the remaining 50%
  • Loans will flow through the CMHC to landlords.
  • Non-profit and charities also qualify.  
  • The program should be operational by mid-May.
  • Information here from the Ontario government


Farmers markets can open in Ottawa this summer

  • The City of Ottawa is working with the Ottawa Farmers’ Market organization and Ottawa Public Health to come up with a plan to allow markets to open this summer.
  • Organizers will need to have a plan to encourage physical distancing at the market.
  • “We very much want to see the market go ahead. These farmers have put a lot of time, effort and money into planting their fields in the fall. Obviously this is their base income.” – Mayor Jim Watson
  • The Mayor says a plan to protect vendors and visitors is of “paramount importance.”
  • The opening dates for the farmers markets have not been set yet.
  • The Mayor says farmers markets on private property, like the Carp Market, can go ahead as long as they have a plan to encourage physical distancing.


Community gardens will re-open

  • Community gardens in Ottawa will soon re-open.
  • The province of Ontario has declared them an essential source of fresh food.
  • This is an amendment to an emergency order issued on March 30th, which lumped community gardens in with "recreational amenities" that being closed.
  • Just Food is finalizing garden safety protocols with Ottawa Public Health
  • There are close to 100 community gardens in Ottawa.
  • No specific date has been set for the gardens to re-open.
  • Ottawa community gardens will need to get approval through Just Food.
  • Just Food will be in touch with all garden coordinators this week with a webinar to get started.


Provincial Parks to stay closed until at least May 31

  • Ontario provincial parks and conservation areas will stay closed until the end of next month.
  • All camp site reservations up to May 31st will be cancelled and full refunds issued.
  • Anyone who wants to change their 2020 camping plans can do so without penalty.
  • The parks were originally scheduled to reopen April 30 but the closures have been extended.
  • Many park entrances are gated or locked.
  • All car and backcountry camping, and use of public buildings, is prohibited.
  • Residents are not permitted to use the parks for recreational activities or day-use.
  • Official news release


City-run childcare centres reopen after negative COVID-19 test

  • Two Ottawa emergency childcare centres will reopen after closing as a precaution when two employees (at different locations) felt ill.
  • The employees immediately went to be tested for COVID-19 and all tests came back negative.
  • The Dr. E. Couture Child Care Centre and the Esther By Child Care Centre have now reopened.


Tips to deal with stress and anxiety as week seven of COVID-19 measures begins

  • Since mid-March, we’ve been urged to practice physical distancing, work from home or deal with school and business closures due to COVID-19.
  • The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada released new tips yesterday for all of us.
  • You can find them here.


Free website support from Rebel 101.7

  • If your business needs to quickly build an online presence to help sell your products, Rebel 101.7 is offering immediate support, free of charge.
  • Rebel 101.7 will:
    • Build a website with up to 10 pages and e-commerce capability
    • Aim to have live within 5 days of your briefing call
    • Design, Build and Host at no charge to your business for the period of this crisis
    • No commitment to continue once normal business resumes
  • “This is a $70,000 commitment to keep local businesses trading”.
  • For information, click here


City flags at half-mast for National Day of Mourning (Workers' Mourning Day)

The flags at all City of Ottawa sites will be lowered to half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, April 28 to commemorate the National Day of Mourning (Workers' Mourning Day) for persons killed or injured in the workplace. This is to memorialize lives lost in the workplace and to resolve to prevent future tragedies.


Virtual Trivia Night

May 9th, 2020 join NROCRC and the Osgoode Township Museum for a fun night of Trivia via Zoom.

If you have any questions please contact Carley at cscharf@nrocrc.org, Follow the link for registration https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZApf-yupzMrGNU1HpEdaSB-bBysxVHN2a3M