Frontline and business: help us support you during COVID-19
Learn how to request a temporary rule or regulation change to help your business respond to COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Ontario is moving quickly to support the frontlines and businesses during the COVID-19. To help remove obstacles and streamline Ontario’s ability to respond to the outbreak and navigate through it, several temporary rules and regulations have been put in place.
To support your ongoing work during COVID-19, you can request a temporary regulation or policy to change to help:
- assist the health care system meet the needs of needs of the emergency
- assist businesses in retooling or producing essential or health-related products and supplies
- make it easier for businesses trying to operate remotely or in a non-traditional fashion and are facing unexpected challenges
What we have done so far
Learn how Ontario is responding to COVID-19 in the following categories:
Business and economy
Business operations, economic development, trade and more.
- Extended existing security guard registrations in Ontario by 90 days
- Extended licences and certificates under Nutrition Act by one year
- Permitted truck deliveries to grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail stores outside of daylight hours to ensure shelves are properly stocked
- Permitted after hours construction for critical infrastructure
- Allowed businesses to automatically defer WSIB payments and reporting until August 2020
- Permitted restaurants that hold a Liquor Sales Licence to include alcohol as part of a takeout or delivery order
- Allowed cannabis delivery and curbside pick-up of authorized retail stores
- Created flexibility for annual general meetings and participation by electronic means
- Temporarily exempted public consultation requirements on the Environmental Registry for urgent actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, ensuring operations can continue and goods and services can be delivered to the people of Ontario.
- Extended timelines for aggregate approvals to provide clients and the public adequate time to complete the application process
- Provided electricity relief to families, small businesses and farms
- Provided flexibility for certain training, pre-licence inspection, and periodic inspection requirements under the mandate of the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. This is relevant to inspections in personal dwellings, facilities with vulnerable residents or other sites that are difficult to access safely or cannot be accessed due to Ontario’s social distancing rules.
- Passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020 which will help people conduct business while practicing physical distancing
- Amended to Ontario’s Building Code related to the delivery of building code services, such as reviewing building permit applications and conducting inspections
- Extended electricity rate relief during COVID-19 to residential, farm and small business customers
- Provided industrial and commercial electricity consumers with temporary immediate relief on their monthly electricity bills in April, May and June 2020
- Temporarily permitting cideries with less than 5-acres of planted fruit to sell directly to consumers
- Extending the term of active liquor, gaming and cannabis licences, authorizations and registrations
- Partnered with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA)
- Amended legislation to allow corporations to hold meetings virtually, defer annual meetings in specified circumstances, and submit documents signed with an electronic signature and copies of documents to the government electronically
- Reduced burden for travel agents and wholesalers and helped certain travellers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak
- Extended outdoor patios to allow for social distancing during COVID-19
- Allowed for regulations to set out the parameters for remotely commissioning or notarizing a document. Stakeholder consultations were conducted in early June to help inform the development of the regulations
- Exempted certain child care centres from closing under the state of emergency in order to provide emergency child care services for health care providers and frontline workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. As of June 26, 2020, emergency child care has come to an end and will no longer be in effect, due to the Stage 2 re-opening of child care centres across Ontario
- Effective June 26, 2020, companies that participate in the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) will not be required to reduce their electricity usage during peak hours, as their proportion of Global Adjustment (GA) charges will be frozen
Home and community
Address change, birth and more.
- Ensured that staffing and resources are available to help care for and protect people with developmental disabilities and the frontline workers who support them
- Protected seniors in retirement homes by allowing for more flexibility to address staffing needs
- Protected licenced child care for parents when they return to work
Law and safety
Legal system, consumer rights, courts, police, emergency and victim services.
- Allowed electronic witnessing of signatures for wills and powers of attorney
- Protected consumers from price gouging
Driving and roads
Road conditions, licences, registrations and more.
- Granted relief to businesses and residents by granting extensions on expiry dates for driver's licences, vehicle and carrier products and services due to COVID-19
- Created exemptions for weight load restrictions on roads to support COVID-19 efforts
- Enabled auto insurance companies to provide driver rebates during COVID-19
Health and wellness
Health card, wellness and disease prevention.
- Provided public health units authority and flexibility to make staffing decisions
- Streamlined long-term care home requirements
- Expedited the licensing process for genetic testing laboratories
- Limited access of COVID-19 status information to specified persons
- Permitted pharmacists to renew and adapt prescriptions for controlled drugs and substances (CDS)
- Permitted pharmacists to transfer CDS prescriptions to other pharmacists
- Permitted prescribers (such as physicians and nurse practitioners) to issue verbal orders to renew or refill a prescription over the phone
- Permitted employees of the pharmacy to deliver CDS prescriptions to patients under self-isolation
Rural and north
Local food, agriculture, communities and development.
- Gave taxpayers in unincorporated areas more time to pay each of the four 2020 Provincial Land Tax installments without incurring interest or penalties
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)
- Deferred any repayments of principal and interest on a loan coming due during between April 1 and June 30, 2020
- Waived all interest that accrues on NOHFC loans between March 20 and June 30, 2020
- Extended the maturity date of NOHFC loans to July 1, 2020
- Extended the deadline for current NOHFC programs until June 30, 2020
Taxes and benefits
Financial supports, personal income tax, HST and business taxes.
- Deferred the June 30 property tax payments municipalities make to school boards by 90 days
- Applied 2020 tax year valuations to property assessments for 2021
- Granted relief to businesses filing returns and remitting taxes under Ontario’s business-focused tax program from April 1 to August 31, 2020
- Temporarily increased the Employer Health Tax payroll exemption amount from $490,000 to $1 million for the 2020 tax year