Quick Links / F.A.Q.
For information from the Government of Ontario, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus
For information from the Government of Canada, please visit:
For information from the City of Guelph, please visit: https://guelph.ca/2020/03/city-of-guelph-responding-to-coronavirus/
What to do if you‘re experiencing symptoms
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or want information about testing, please get in touch with our local public health unit or Telehealth. https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/covid-19-information-public
You can also use this online self-assessment tool.
Please do not visit an assessment centre unless you have been referred by a healthcare professional. Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
State of Emergency
Ontario’s State of Emergency has declared no gatherings of over 5 people and the closure of certain public spaces. For example:
- All non-essential businesses
- Bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery may be still available)
- Licensed child-care centres
- Schools and Private schools
- Recreation Centres (including visitor services at parks) and gyms
- Visitor and Cultural attractions
- Playgrounds, dog parks, basketball and tennis courts
What does Social Distancing mean?
Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other. Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. With patience and cooperation, we can all do our part.
This means making changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others, including:
- avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings
- avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
- limiting contact with people at higher risk (e.g. older adults and those in poor health)
- keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others, as much as possible
- Here’s how you can practice social distancing:
- greet with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug
- stay home as much as possible, including for meals and entertainment
- shop or take public transportation during off-peak hours
- conduct virtual meetings
- host virtual playdates for your kids
- use technology to keep in touch with friends and family
- If possible, use food delivery services or online shopping
- exercise at home or in your yard
- work from home
We encourage constituents to stay home (get fresh air, but keep physical distance), avoid crowds, and practice social distancing where possible. Here are are some best practices from the World Health Organization:
- Stay home as much as reasonably possible;
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water;
- Maintain social distance by staying at least six feet away from those you are speaking with;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
- Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing, either with a bent elbow or a tissue;
- Seek medical attention if you have a fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing;
- If you have travelled recently, you must remain self-isolated for 14 days upon returning to Canada.
Important travel advisories and restrictions related to COVID-19, from the Government of Canada here.
Canadians outside the country who are directly impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for an emergency repayable loan to facilitate their return to Canada and to cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return. Each application will be assessed according to their specific situation and needs. Find out more here: Financial help for Canadians outside Canada
The Government of Ontario has ordered that all non-essential businesses should close. The list of essential businesses can be found here. There are fines associated with operating if your industry is not exempt.
Our office cannot provide interpretations of the list. If you would like an interpretation of the list, you can contact the Ministry at the following toll-free number: 1-888-444-3659, Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m
Who Can I contact if I have Personal Protective Equipment to donate?
Donations of PPE are being collected at Guelph CHC Mon – Fri 9-5, or email email@example.com to arrange pick up.
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 up to 4 months.
Who is Eligible for EI?
Workers who pay EI premiums are eligible for EI if:
- you cannot work because of a medical condition, such as COVID-19;
- you have lost at least 40 per cent of your usual weekly pay; and
- you have worked a minimum of 600 hours in the year before your claim, or since your last EI claim.
The one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period is being waived if you are in COVID-19 quarantine. Call the new dedicated toll-free phone number so you can be paid for the first week of your claim:
- Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
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.
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?
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?
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.
Emergency childcare for front-line workers
The County of Wellington is working in partnership with the Ministry of Education to provide free licensed child care for healthcare and other frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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.
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.
What are the supports for small and medium sized businesses?
Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 provides for a variety of supports including:
- time-of-use pricing – 10.1 ¢/kWh no matter what time of day the electricity is consumed
- other energy affordability measures
- temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax exemption
- 5 months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes
- 6 month deferral of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) payments
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.
Suspension on evictions
The Ontario Government has suspended the issuing of eviction notices until further notice. Sheriffs have been asked to suspend the enforcement of eviction orders, including scheduled eviction orders. Evictions are paused until further notice. We have heard reports that despite this, tenants are continuing to be threatened with eviction at this time. We are calling on the government to support legislation that guarantees in law that no one can be evicted for any reason during the pandemic, nor punished in any way for missing a rent payment.
Please note — this is for general information purposes only and not intended to be legal advice.
Tenants are still expected to pay their rent on time.
Tenants should keep copies of messages to their landlord to show that they tried to pay their rent on time. Tenants should document how they informed their landlord that they could not pay their rent on time. Tenants who pay their rent late or fail to pay their rent will enter arrears (they will owe their landlord for their late rent).
Tenants who have reduced hours or are laid off as a result of COVID-19 or are in quarantine and unable to work and cannot pay their rent on time should inform their landlord as early as possible.
Tenants who lose income because of COVID-19 should document changes to their finances. This includes saving letters, emails or text messages showing that you were laid off or had your hours reduced because of COVID-19.
If your landlord files to evict you at the Landlord and Tenant Board, tenants can request that their landlord meet with them so they can negotiate a plan to pay back their arrears.
Generally speaking if a tenant has never had problems paying their rent before and is able to show a realistic plan to both pay their rent on time and pay their landlord arrears, the Landlord and Tenant Board Members will give tenants a chance to repay any late rent before terminating a tenancy.
Landlords can still serve notices to tenants and fax applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board. As a tenant, your landlord can still serve you notices such as an N4 if you miss your usual timeline to pay your rent.
At present, neither the federal nor the provincial government have suspended rent payments.
Support for students
The government has announced a 6-month, interest-free moratorium on student loan payments.
The province of Ontario has extended the validity of expiring health cards during the State of Emergency. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services during this period.
The 3 month waiting period for OHIP has also been waived.
The province of Ontario is 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.
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?
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:
Français (French): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-french-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
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