What happens during a state of emergency

To help stop the spread of COVID‑19, the province declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020.

This allows Ontario to create and enforce emergency orders, such as ordering non-essential workplaces to close, restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings. 

Most emergency orders are currently in force until July 29, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to safely and gradually reopen the province, while continuing to support frontline health care workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID‑19.

Learn more about the emergency status.

What is closed

Correctional facility visits

Personal visits to some facilities will resumed on Monday, June 29. Before visiting, you should contact the facility to confirm whether it's open. You must schedule your visit in advance.

Professional visits, including legal counsel, will continue with additional screening for COVID‑19 symptoms.

Learn more about correctional services update on COVID‑19.


Libraries were permitted to resume limited on-site services in Stage 2.

In addition to the services resumed in Stage 2, libraries may reopen for all on-site services, as long as materials that are circulated, returned or accessed within the library are disinfected or quarantined before being recirculated.

Long-term care home visits

Long-term care homes that are outbreak-free are open to visitors. All visitors must follow guidelines to ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and other visitors.

To help ensure all residents have a chance to receive visitors, long-term care homes will facilitate one visit per resident per week:

  • either indoors or outdoors
  • with up to two visitors at a time

All visits must be scheduled in advance, and homes may not limit visits to less than 30 minutes.

You do not need to get a COVID‑19 test before an outdoor visit at a long-term care home.

Find out more about visiting long-term care homes (PDF).

Provincial parks and camping

As Ontario moves forward with the next steps of reopening the province, we are gradually opening more facilities and services at Ontario Parks over the next few weeks in regions entering Stage 2.

Get the latest updates on Ontario Parks and COVID‑19.

Theatres and concert venues

In regions that are in Stage 2, theatres (including movie theatres) and concert venues are closed, unless they are drive-in venues.

In regions that are in Stage 3, concerts, artistic events, theatrical productions, performances, and movie theatres may resume operations, including rehearsals, with certain restrictions.

    Government services

    Assistive Devices Program

    During the COVID‑19 outbreak, the Assistive Devices Program Office is only accepting new applications for funding assistance via email and fax. Learn more about submitting an application.

    Court closures and filing documents

    We are resuming in-person proceedings as of July 6. You will need to answer screening questions for COVID‑19 before you enter an Ontario courthouse. Your result will tell you if you can or cannot enter, and what to do next.

    Where possible, consider online filing for your:

    Get details about reopening courtrooms.

    Dental programs

    Non-emergency dental services under the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program and Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program are gradually restarting.

    Dental care providers are continuing to monitor COVID‑19 in their communities and carefully and gradually restarting services. In-person dental visits may still be limited during this time for the safety of dental care providers and patients.

    Please contact a participating dental provider or your local public health unit for assistance with your dental needs and more information on the gradual restart of services in your area.

    Expired driver’s licences, vehicles and permits

    To reduce the need for in-person visits to ServiceOntario, Ontario drivers’ licences, and carrier products and services that expired on or after March 1, 2020 will remain valid and legal until further notice. Learn more about the products or services with extended expiry dates.

    Guaranteed Annual Income System payments

    Beginning in April 2020, monthly Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment amounts will be automatically doubled for a period of six months.

    Hunting and fishing

    Until further notice, in-person hunter education and scaling courses are cancelled. A temporary online hunter education course is now available.

    Fish culture stations are currently closed to the public.

    Interest arbitration appointments

    Interest arbitration appointments with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development must be booked by email until further notice. We are not accepting requests by mail or fax.

    To book an appointment, send an email to DRS.Director@ontario.ca and include:

    • "Request for interest arbitration appointment" in the subject line
    • the details of your request in the body of the email

    Learn more about the collective bargaining process in Ontario.


    You can still get married in-person while satisfying the current provincial restrictions on gatherings. Learn about changes to getting married in-person during the COVID‑19 outbreak.

    OHIP changes

    New OHIP card

    We have waived the 3-month waiting period for OHIP coverage. Even if you are uninsured or do not meet the OHIP eligibility requirements, we will pay for COVID‑19 services.

    Learn how to apply for OHIP.

    Expired OHIP card

    If your health card is currently expired or expiring soon, you do not need to renew it to receive health services.

    This includes converting from a red and white health card to a photo health card.

    Ontario Autism Program

    We have extended deadlines related to childhood budgets.

    You may now take up to 18 months to spend childhood budget funding and submitting expense forms.

    The March 31, 2020 deadline to submit Ontario Autism Program registration and supporting documents for interim one-time funding has been extended indefinitely. We will establish a new deadline at a future date.

    Ontario Works and ODSP

    Apply for emergency assistance or, if you’re already an Ontario Works or ODSP recipient, learn about additional resources.

    OSAP temporary loan deferral

    From March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020, you are not required to make loan payments and interest will not accrue on your student loans. Learn more about temporary deferral.

    ServiceOntario closures and online services

    We urge Ontarians not to visit a ServiceOntario centre unless completely necessary. To help ensure your safety and the safety of others, please consider completing your transactions online (if available) and staying home if you are sick.

    Find out:

    Settlement agencies

    Settlement agencies have suspended in-person services until further notice.

    Some agencies may offer services through telephone or video applications. Contact your local settlement agency to find out what services are available.

    Tribunal and board closures and changes

    In-person hearings, mediations and case conferences have been postponed and will either be rescheduled on a later date, or done in writing or by phone.

    Contact your tribunal or board for more information:

    Trillium Drug and Seniors Co-Payment Programs

    Learn about temporary process changes for applying to the Trillium Drug Program and the Seniors Co-Payment Program.