Ontario investing $11 million to support province's most vulnerable amid COVID-19 outbreak
At an April 21 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with an announcement that the Ontario government will be providing additional relief to help the most vulnerable citizens in the province amid these unprecedented times.
Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
During the conference, Ford announced that the province is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to those in need and doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments.
This much-needed support will be provided to seniors and persons with disabilities.
“As we face some of the darkest times in our province’s history, we have a duty to protect and care for the most vulnerable in our society,” said Premier Ford.
“Our seniors and people with disabilities are the most at risk during this crisis, and we must go above and beyond to ensure they get financial relief, food, medicine and other essentials without delay.”
Ontario is also working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program which will expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across the province as well as develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.
“We know that the best way we can all take care of ourselves during this outbreak is to stay home,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.
“For older Ontarians and people with disabilities, this may be especially challenging. That is why I am so proud to see the Ontario Spirit being demonstrated by the volunteers, local not-for-profit organizations, charities and businesses that are helping our most vulnerable through the Ontario Community Support Program.”
The province will also be issuing the first doubled Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments this week which means that individuals will receive up to $166 per month, while couples will receive up to $332 per month.
These doubled payments will continue for six months and provide an additional $75 million to 194,000 vulnerable seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the pandemic.
The province also announced that they will be investing $40 million in the Residential Relief Fund, which will assist developmental services, child welfare, victims shelters, and organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families with COVID-related costs, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and enhanced staffing.
Additionally, the government is providing $148 million to municipal partners that administer social services with funding to support the province’s most vulnerable as part of the province’s $200 million in social services relief funding in response to COVID-19.
“Our government is taking decisive action to protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable populations,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
“If you have a friend or neighbour who is a senior or a person with a disability, please reach out to them to ensure they have what they need and are doing okay during this very difficult period.”
Ford concluded today’s announcement by stating, “No one must be left behind. We have to take care of our own. We will not let our guard down-- not for a moment.”
“As long as we stand united; as long as we stand together, we will conquer COVID-19 and will get through this crisis,” he added.
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