Here's who will receive assistance under Ontario's $17B coronavirus aid package

WATCH ABOVE: The province announced a $17-billion aid package to help deal with the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Travis Dhanraj reports.

Billed as a “first step” by Ontario’s finance minister, Rod Phillips unveiled the government’s $17-billion aid package as the province continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government announced several measures aimed at helping residents, businesses, and the health care sector.


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Coronavirus: Ontario government unveils $17B aid package in response to COVID-19

Phillips tabled Ontario’s economic and fiscal update at Queen’s Park on Wednesday. The total package contains $7 billion in direct support to various communities and entities as well as $10 billion in business tax and other tax-related deferrals.

Here are the highlights of the investments made by the Ontario government in its update:

Government budget

  • $2.5 billion reserve “to provide continued flexibility to respond to changing global circumstances”

Health care

  • $1 billion COVID-19 contingency fund to respond to “emerging needs”
  • $935 million aimed at addressing hospital capacity issues as well as for ICU/critical care beds, equipment, COVID assessment centres
  • $124 million for transitional projects (moving less severe hospital patients to other settings to free up hospital capacity)
  • $243 million for emergency long-term care home capacity and virus containment
  • $160 million for public health units for COVID-19 monitoring, lab testing, virtual care and TeleHealth Ontario
  • $75 million for personal protective equipment for frontline staff
  • $80 million for paramedics
  • $70 million for new infection control measures at retirement homes, shelters, residential care facilities

Workers

  • $100 million for skills training for workers impacted by COVID-19
  • Previously announced job-protected leave for employees in isolation, quarantine and those caring for children

Businesses

  • $6 billion in provincial business tax interest and penalty relief for five months
  • $355 million for a temporary increase in Employer Health Tax exemption (companies with less than $1 million will be exempt from paying, estimated to help 57,000 businesses)
  • 10 per cent corporate tax credit for regions with “lagging employment growth
  • $1.9 billion for the deferral of WSIB premiums for up to six months

Hydro

  • $1.5 billion increase in electricity relief
  • Previously announced changing time-of-use rate prices to the lowest rate for 45 days
  • Expansion of the low income energy assistance program’s eligibility and ensuring no disconnections for nonpayment

Parents and students

  • $340 million for one-time payments of $200 for each child 12 and under, $250 for each child 12 and under with special needs

Seniors

  • Doubling of guaranteed annual income system payments for low-income seniors
  • New coordination of meal and medicine deliveries

Post-secondary education debt

  • OSAP repayments suspended for six months

Indigenous Peoples

  • $26 million in emergency assistance for urban Indigenous communities

Municipalities

  • $1.8 billion to pay for the three-month deferral of property tax payments municipalities are required make to school boards for three months
  • Municipalities urged, but not required, to provide deferrals to municipal taxpayers

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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