The information provided in this tipsheet is for reference only. It is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement of organizations, news sources, policies or political parties, or as a comprehensive resource list. This tipsheet does not contain legal advice.
Based on when you are viewing this tipsheet, the information may not be the most up to date. Please refer to the date this tipsheet was last updated, at the end of the document. You can also access this tipsheet online at hollandbloorview.ca/covid-19-tipsheets
Free legal advice
- The Pro Bono Free Legal Advice hotline is a resource that families can access to find legal information and advice that relates to housing and employment.
- The hotlineaccepts calls from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and between 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They offer up to 30 minutes of free legal advice and assistance.
- Website: https://www.probonoontario.org/hotline/
- Telephone: 1-855-255-7256
Employment Insurance (EI) and quarantine
- Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work.
- Canadians quarantined or unable to work because of illness or injury can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits for up to 15 weeks of income replacement.
- 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.
- People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate.
- If you are eligible, visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html
If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number:
Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free) /Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742
NEW Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- The government just announced the new benefit, Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which takes place of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
- A worker may be eligible for $2,000 for up to 16 weeks if they lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are required to show they made at least $5,000 in employment income in the last 12 months prior to applying, are at least 15 years old, and a resident of Canada.
- To be eligible, the worker must not be working or receiving income for 14 consecutive days in the last 4 weeks due to COVID-9 related issues.
- Workers who quit voluntarily will not be eligible.
- The portal for accessing the CERB is expected to be available April 6, 2020.
Workers would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
- For more information and to apply, go to: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
Regular Employment Insurance
- Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a job. The requirements remain unchanged.
- Workers who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB.
- Low and modest-income families may receive increases to their Goods and Services Tax Credit and Canada Child Benefit payments in a one-time special payment for the 2019-2020 benefit year by early May 2020.
- The deadline to file taxes for individuals has now been extended until June 1, 2020 however the CRA encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax Credit or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-2021 benefit year are properly determined.
- To find out if you are eligible for help at a free tax clinic in your area visit https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/free-tax-help.html
- For more information on other measures the Federal government is implementing as part of an economic response plan see https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
- The Attorney General has announced that no new evictions will be issued, and all other eviction orders will be postponed until further notice. See: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-attorney-general
Toronto Community Housing Corporation
- TCHC will be flexible and work with market rent and rent-geared-to-income (RGI) tenants whose employment income has been impacted by COVID-19. For further details, see: https://www.torontohousing.ca/news/whatsnew/Pages/City-of-Toronto-taking-action-to-help-vulnerable-tenants-who-need-it-most.aspx
Daycare and city service updates
- For reimbursement of daycare fees, the City of Toronto has not yet introduced a process for that and that fees may continue to be owing, but updates can be found on the website below.
- Please note, as of April 10, the Ontario government passed an emergency order forbidding daycares from charging parents for services not rendered during the COVID-19 shutdown: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/04/10/ontario-bans-child-care-fees-for-daycares-closed-during-covid-19-shutdown.html
- A 60-day grace period is in effect for City of Toronto residents to pay property tax, water and solid waste utility bill payments, for bills dated as of March 16: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coronavirus-covid-19-ontario-friday-toronto-1.5504109
- Other city service updates can be found here as well.
- Website: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/affected-city-services/
- If families are experiencing difficulty with this, they are encouraged to call the Pro Bono Free Legal Advice hotline (listed on page 1) as they also field calls that have to do with "consumer issues”
Changes to funding for special needs children, youth and adults
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is temporarily expanding the list of eligible expenses to support people and their families while community-based activities and settings are closed. These changes allow you to use your funding for goods and services that may make it easier for you to stay at home during this time and practise physical distancing.
Special Services at Home (SSAH) http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/specialneeds/specialservices.aspx
Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD): http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/specialneeds/disabilities.aspx
- The government has enacted legislation that provides employees with job-protected leave (called the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave) if they are covered by Employment Standards Act legislation in certain circumstances as a result of COVID-19. See https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/employment-standards-amendment-act-infectious-disease-emergencies-2020.html
- It would be retroactive to January 25, 2020.
- Employees would not be required to provide a medical note if they take leave. However, the employer may require the employee to provide other evidence that is reasonable in the circumstances, at a time that is reasonable in the circumstances. This could include such requests as a note from the daycare or for evidence that the airline cancelled a flight, but not a medical note.
- The government has announced expanded availability for Emergency Assistance for low-income families and individuals who are not are not already receiving OW or OSDP. For more information: https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/apply_online.aspx
- Over-the-phone summary legal advice services are available for family law and criminal law matters if legal eligibility requirements are met.
- During this time of COVID-19 pandemic, LAO will be waiving financial eligibility requirements for this service. Please call 1-800-668-8258. For further details, see https://www.legalaid.on.ca/news/changes-to-summary-legal-advice-services-at-legal-aid-ontario-due-to-covid-19-pandemic/
- The Government of Ontario has stated that those advised to repatriate because of COVID-19 will have the normal 3 month wait period waived for OHIP eligibility.
- Additionally, the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people who do not meet the criteria for OHIP coverage
- To reduce the need for in-person visits at ServiceOntario counters, Ontario is extending the validation period for driver licences and health cards https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2020/03/ontario-extending-validation-periods-for-driver-vehicle-and-carrier-products-services-and-health-car.html
- Online renewal services continue to be accessible at https://www.ontario.ca/page/renew-both-your-health-card-and-drivers-licence-online?utm_source=so&utm_medium=keyword&utm_campaign=original%2F
Are you a Holland Bloorview client?
If you are a Holland Bloorview client or a caregiver of a Holland Bloorview client, you can reach out to Hannah Lee, our Pro Bono Ontario lawyer. Hannah will be available for consults by telephone during office hours, which are Monday and Wednesdays between 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
If you wish to book an appointment, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 416-425-6220 ext 6557.
For even more information visit: https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19
This tipsheet belongs to a set of specialized resources for the COVID-19 and Coronavirus outbreak period. If you are looking for other family resources that have to do with childhood disability, please visit www.hollandbloorview.ca/resourcecentre
Created by Hannah Lee, Pro Bono Triage Lawyer and the Family Support Specialists at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital on April 13, 2020. Updated April 27, 2020.