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General Information

What to do if you‘re experiencing symptoms

Vaccines

State of Emergency

Local Businesses 

Is there any financial help available if I cannot work or have lost my job?

What are my rights as an employee during Covid-19?

Do I need to provide a doctor’s note to my employer to get my sick-leave benefits?

What can I do to protect myself if I am unable to work from home?

Will my time off during self-isolation or quarantine be paid by my employer?

Emergency childcare for front-line workers

Financial support for food, rent, childcare

Are schools open?

Support for seniors, mortgage payments, income taxes and more

Support for homeless, food insecure

What are the supports for small and medium sized businesses?

Suspension on evictions

Support for students

I’m feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or isolated

Health cards

Driver licences

Is COVID-19 information available in other languages?

 

General Information

General Information

For information from the Government of Ontario, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

The Province moved into Step 2 of the Reopening Plan on June 30th. Read more about this here, https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000399/ontario-moving-to-step-two-of-roadmap-to-reopen-on-june-30

For information from the Government of Canada, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse.html

For information from the City of Guelph, please visit: https://guelph.ca/2020/03/city-of-guelph-responding-to-coronavirus/Help keep Ontarians safe by downloading the free COVID Alert App to your phone.

 

What to do if you‘re experiencing symptoms

What to do if you’re experiencing symptoms

According to WDG Public Health, you should get tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: 

  • fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • chills
  • cough that’s new or worsening (continuous, more than usual)
  • barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup)
  • shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply)
  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • runny, stuffy or congested nose (not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions)
  • lost sense of taste or smell
  • pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • headache that’s unusual or long lasting
  • digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain)
  • muscle aches
  • extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy)
  • falling down often
  • for young children and infants: sluggishness or lack of appetite

You can take a self-assessment here to help you decide if you should get tested. 

You can also get tested at any time if any of the following conditions apply to you:

  • Long-term care and other congregate settings
    • a visitor or worker in a long-term care home
    • a worker in a retirement home
    • a resident or worker in a homeless shelter or other congregate setting (for example, group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters)
  • Farming
    • a farm worker
  • Indigenous
    • a person who identifies as Indigenous
  • Surgery and other reasons
    • need a test before a scheduled (non-urgent or emergent) surgery in a region with high community transmission (ask your health care provider)
    • an international student that has passed their 14-day quarantine period
    • you received a preliminary positive result through the rapid antigen screening pilot
    • in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health

You can find your closest testing centre and book your appointment here. You can access your test results here.

 

Vaccines

Vaccines

WDG Public Health is currently working through phase 3 of the province’s vaccine plan. Any residents aged 12+, are now eligible for the vaccine.

First Dose Drop-In Appointments are now available through Public Health. To find out more, click here.

WDG Public Health developed an e-booking webpage where individuals can book their first or second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Your appointment for your second dose must be at least 28 days after your first dose of Moderna or Pfizer and 8 weeks after your first dose of AstraZeneca. To register, click here. Those who did not receive their first dose through Public Health but wish to do so for their second dose, should call 1-844-780-0202 beginning June 14th or call a participating pharmacy

If you received your first dose of AstraZeneca, please contact a participating pharmacy regarding the second dose of the same vaccine.

If you need assistance getting to your appointment, the Accessible Drive-to-Vaccines program provides door-to-door rides to vaccination sites for people with disabilities, including seniors with mobility issues, who face challenges accessing safe transportation. Register online for this service at least 48 hours before your vaccine appointment.  Click here

Wellington-County further provides the Ride Well and Community Resource Centre programs to offer rides to vaccine appointments.

You can register for the vaccine online here, or by calling WDGPH at 1-844-780-0202 or the Guelph Public Library at 613-519-0059.

On June 5th Mike hosted an information session with Dr. Mercer from WDG Public Health where some common Covid-19 questions were answered. You can watch a recording of that event here.

State of Emergency

Current Restrictions:

Ontario has entered Step 2 of the Reopening Plan on June 30, 2021. This step focuses on expanding indoor and outdoor gathering limits and events. The following rules apply:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to 25 people
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to 5 people
  • Outdoor dining for up to 6 people per table
  • Essential retail capacity at 50%
  • Non-essential retail capacity at 25%
  • Stores in shopping malls open with restrictions
  • Larger indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two meters
  • Overnight camps
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor fitness classes are capped at the number of people who can maintain 3 meters of distance
  • Public libraries permitted at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor meeting and event spaces at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor amusement and water parks at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor cinemas, performing arts, live music events and attractions at 25% capacity
  • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways at 25% capacity

To read more about the restrictions and the Roadmap to Reopen click here and here.

While non-essential travel is still discouraged, the Province also announced that borders with Manitoba and Quebec will reopen as of June 16th, 2021 allowing people to once again travel freely while continuing to follow the public health measures in place in the province. You can find out more information here.

 

Local Businesses 

Local Businesses

Guelph specific guidelines from Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health can be found here, https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/covid-19-information-workplaces-and-living-spaces/workplaces-and-businesses)

The Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health Unit has mandated the use of face masks or shields in commercial establishments, under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Businesses are open only for curbside pick up.

Guidance and resources from the Ontario government to prevent Covid-19 in the workplace

 

Is there any financial help available if I cannot work or have lost my job?

Is there any financial help available if I cannot work or have lost my job?

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for more than 4 months.

Learn more and apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

 

What are my rights as an employee during Covid-19?

What are my rights as an employee during Covid-19?

For information regarding your employment rights, you can contact the Employment Standards Info Centre at 1-800-531-5551. 

If you have concerns about the health and safety of your workplace, you can contact your health and safety rep and/or call the Ontario Health and Safety hotline at 1-877-202-0008. 

https://www.canada.ca/en/government/publicservice/covid-19/rights-responsibilities.html for more information

 

Do I need to provide a doctor’s note to my employer to get my sick-leave benefits?

Do I need to provide a doctor’s note to my employer to get my sick-leave benefits?

While a medical certificate signed by your doctor is usually required to get sick-leave benefits, this will not be the case during the COVID-19 crisis. During this time, the government is waiving the need for a sick note for patients who are required to miss work due to self-isolation or quarantine.

 

What can I do to protect myself if I am unable to work from home?

What can I do to protect myself if I am unable to work from home?

If your place or work has not been closed as a result of the closure of all non-essential businesses, public health guidance is to work from home wherever possible. However working remotely is not feasible in many workplaces. If you are in this situation, it is important that you follow all health and safety protocols related to your workplace. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, most of Ontario’s workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you are in a unionized workplace, consult your staff rep before refusing any work. 

Will my time off during self-isolation or quarantine be paid by my employer?

Will my time off during self-isolation or quarantine be paid by my employer?

If your work can be done remotely for the period of self-isolation or quarantine where you are not sick, your employer should allow remote work paid at your usual rate of compensation. If you become sick, your sick day entitlements will vary depending on the language in your contract or collective agreement. If you have zero sick leave benefits—the Employment Standards Act applies, which is currently three unpaid days.

The provincial government has passed emergency legislation to provide infectious disease emergency leave for anyone unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes unpaid leave and job protection for individuals under quarantine or in isolation, or providing care to a child as a result of school and day care closures. 

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit provides $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per week for up to a maximum of four weeks, for workers who:

  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
  • Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
  • have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

You can apply here.

Financial Assistance for Loss of Work

If you have lost work due to the pandemic, you may be eligible for employment assistance through the federal government. You can view the eligibility requirements and apply here.

Childcare for people reentering the workforce

Childcare for people reentering the workforce, or essential workers

Beginning April 19 2021, the province is  providing free childcare for frontline workers, including healthcare, grocery, manufacturing and public safety employees. To check eligibility and apply, click here.

Child Benefit

The Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit program which provides financial support to families with young learners to help with additional costs during the COVID-19 pandemic have closed on May 17th. Those who missed the deadline unfortunately cannot reapply.

Are Schools Open?

Are schools open?

On April 5, 2021, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph announced the closure of all schools. On April 12, the provincial Education Minister announced that all schools in Ontario would close, and classes would move to full time online learning indefinitely with an option for virtual learning in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

Elementary Remote School Registrations are also open. While there is a lot of COVID uncertainty, the main reason for early registration is the need to build balanced classes, complete the staffing process and hire for vacancies. As in any year, should parents find that their personal situation has changed due to employment, health or other reasons they may always contact their child’s school to work through their situation on a case by case basis.

FAQs for registering to the Elementary Remote School (ERS)

  • Why are we being asked to sign-up in early June for next year?
  • The School Board had many discussions about when to have the ERS sign-up window. It was decided that schools needed time to plan, hire, staff, and make schedules in order to start on time in September with proper supports in place for students. Last August and September’s last minute planning meant that ERS did not get properly staffed until late September.
  • If I register my child to attend ERS and change my mind, can my child go back to brick/mortar?
  • By registering for ERS, you are committing to attending ERS for the entire school year. We understand this is a difficult decision to make and commit to for the year. Movement between learning modes can cause disruptions for many students and classrooms. If you have any specific questions not addressed here please reach out to ers@ugdsb.on.ca  
  • Why can’t we switch between brick/mortar and remote school?
  • This past year, on Nov 30th, we had 800 students switch between ERS and brick and mortar. The movement of 800 students meant that almost every brick and mortar school had to re-organize students and this meant students were forced into new classrooms with new teachers. In total, hundreds of students who didn’t request a change were given a new teacher. Families were understandably upset about this and made it very clear that they do not want mid-year teacher changes. In the end, the mid-year changes were convenient for a small number of families and very disruptive for many more families. Secondary school “semesters” mean that students expect new teachers when their courses end. Elementary school families expect to have the same teacher for the whole school year.

For COVID screening tools for students, please refer to WDG Public Health’s Guide.

Please consult with your child’s school board to obtain the latest updates on reopening.

Financial support for food, rent, childcare

Financial support for food, rent, childcare

Ontario Emergency Assistance Program can help you with the cost of food, rent, childcare, disability support, medicine transportation and housing.

To apply, visit wellingtoncounty.ca, apply for Ontario Works online or call 519-837-6274.

Support for seniors, mortgage payments, income taxes and more

Support for seniors, mortgage payments, income taxes and more

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes updated employment insurance benefits, mortgage support, income tax flexibility, and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Limited additional support is being offered by the Provincial government for seniors and people with disabilities. Additional income support for those on OW and ODSP has ended.

 

Support for homeless, food insecure

Support for homeless, food insecure

Several local agencies are working together to support people who may need food and shelter during this crisis. Learn more about Guelph’s plan to help the homeless during COVID-19.

Please contact the County of Wellington 519-837-6274 with any questions about social housing or emergency housing.

Additional support is being offered by the provincial government for seniors and people on OW and ODSP.

 

What are the supports for small and medium sized businesses?

What are the supports for small and medium sized businesses?

Ontario is currently providing a variety of supports, more details of which can be found here:

Ontario Small Business Support Grant – applications are now closed.

Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant, – applications are now closed.

Ontario’s Main Street Relief Grant: PPE support – applications are now closed. 

A commercial eviction ban was in place until January 31, 2021. 

CERS approved tenants were protected from evictions until April 22, 2022.

Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants – Businesses that are, or were, required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures can apply for property tax and energy cost rebates, provided in the form of grants, to help with their fixed costs.

Deferred Pension Contributions – If you’re an employer who sponsors certain defined benefit pension plans, you can defer pension contributions due between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.      

Beginning February 23, 2021, residential and small business customers resumed paying Time-of-Use and Tiered pricing under the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) at prices that were set by the OEB on December 15, 2020 

As of January 2021, small businesses may be eligible for up to $1500 towards their electricity and natural gas bills. Contact your electricity and/or natural gas utility to apply. 

Permanently increased Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for businesses up to $1 million in payroll 

Businesses will get an extended interest and penalty relief period to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan Offers Temporary Business Wage Subsidy, work sharing options, tax deferrals, loans, and mortgage deferrals. 

For more information on Federal support programs you can contact Guelph’s Member of Parliament, Lloyd Longfield

The Guelph Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Guelph have partnered to provide small to medium sized businesses with free COVID-19 rapid Screening Kits. Businesses with 1 to 150 employees or less can participate in this program. More information can be found here. Testing for businesses with 150+ employees can be ordered through the Province here.

Suspension on evictions

Suspension on evictions?

On Jan 14, 2021, Ontario has once again temporarily paused residential evictions during its current state of emergency. 

Neither the federal nor the provincial government have suspended rent payments.

 

Support for students

Support for students

The moratorium on OSAP payments ended in Sept 2020.  

If you are having trouble repaying your Ontario Student Loan and OSAP loans, you can apply to the Ontario Student Loan Rehabilitation Program.

Learn more and apply here.

I’m feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or isolated

I’m feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or isolated

There are many mental health supports available for you.

If you are a healthcare worker, go to Here4HealthCare.ca to find support.

If you are a senior, try signing up through Chatting To Wellness for regular phone calls.

If you are a student, you can sign up to be a volunteer with Chatting To Wellness as well.

For general help, see Here4Help.ca

If you are in immediate need, call Here 24/7 at 1-844-HERE247 (437-3247)

Many therapists accepting new patients are now resuming in-person sessions. Note that these services are not free if not covered by insurance. See listing at PsychologyToday.com

 

Health cards

Health Cards

The province of Ontario has extended the validity of expiring health cards during the State of Emergency. Your ID will remain valid if expired after March 1, 2020, and will remain valid until further notice. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to grant you access to health services during this period.

If you have a simple renewal you may do it online at https://www.ontario.ca/page/health-card-renewal.

The 3 month waiting period for OHIP eligibility has also been waived. 

 

Driver licences

Driver licenses

The province of Ontario is extending the validity period of driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates during the State of Emergency. Your ID will remain valid if expired after March 1, 2020, and will remain valid until further notice.

You can renew online, https://www.ontario.ca/page/renew-drivers-licence

The Ministry of Transportation is also automatically extending the due dates for medical or vision reports, which both reduces the need for in-person visits, but also ensures that patients do not need to visit their doctors, helping the health system to focus on containing COVID-19.

 

Is COVID-19 information available in other languages?

Is COVID-19 information available in other languages?

It’s‌ ‌essential that‌ ‌we‌ all ‌continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌our‌ ‌information‌ ‌from‌ ‌reliable and informed ‌sources‌ as we respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Below are links to COVID-19 fact sheets in some of the most commonly spoken languages in our local community. Please share these with people in your networks who may need them:

English: https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-english-2020-02-18.pdf

Français (French): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-french-2020-02-18.pdf

বাংলা (Bengali): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-bengali-2020-02-18.pdf

Tagalog: https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-tagalog-2020-02-18.pdf

中文 (简体) (Simplified Chinese): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-simplified-chinese-2020-02-18.pdf

中文 (繁體) (Traditional Chinese): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-traditional-chinese-2020-02-18.pdf

தமிழ் (Tamil): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-tamil-2020-02-18.pdf

‎اُردُو (Urdu): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-urdu-2020-02-18.pdf

Farsi: https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-farsi-2020-02-18-v2.pdf

Ελληνικά (Greek): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-greek-2020-02-18.pdf

Español (Spanish): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-spanish-2020-02-18.pdf

Full list of available languages here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-11

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