COVID-19 Ontario Updates-0414

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario
legislature, the Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the
Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for a further 28 days.
This will allow the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the
health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we first
learned of COVID-19, Ontario has actively monitored the situation and continues to act
decisively to contain the spread of COVID-19. “I will do my best to work with the Premier and
Ministers to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians.” said Daisy Wai, MPP Richmond
Hill, “While we combat the virus and protect our front line workers, we will work on developing
a plan to stimulate economic growth and job-creation in the weeks and months ahead.
However, this will be done carefully and strategically.”
Although the actions we have taken to-date are making a difference, the spread of COVID-19
remains a serious threat and we must keep up our efforts to contain it. These measures will
remain in place until May 12, at which time they may be extended.
Emergency Legislations includes:
•EDU: amendments to the Education Act will allow school boards to continue charging fees
on new construction in order to retain a vital source of revenue for new school projects. The
bill also includes an amendment to provide a fair and consistent province-wide approach to
addressing school suspensions and expulsions as part of the government’s commitment to
the safety of students and staff upon the reopening of schools.
•MCU: changes to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act will temporarily
suspend student loan payments for OSAP borrowers and initiate a six-month interest-free
moratorium on OSAP loans.
•MMAH: Development Charges and Planning Act Time Limits- Providing extensions for
recently expired or expiring development charge by laws and establishing authority for the
Minister to suspend time limits related to municipal planning matters.
•SOLGEN: Extending the deadline for municipalities to submit their Community Safety and
Well-Being plans from Jan 2021 to the time equal to the duration of the emergency.
Education Development Charges
Through this legislation, our Government will allow school boards to continue to retain a
vital source of revenue for new school projects. We have also made an amendment to the
Education Act to provide a fair and consistent, province-wide approach to addressing school
suspensions and expulsions during the unprecedented school closure period. These changes
demonstrate that our government is actively listening to the concerns of education sector
partners during this COVID-19 emergency.
EDCs:
This amendment will ensure school boards can continue to count on a vital source of revenue
that helps pay for local growth-related site acquisitions. This change would allow school
boards with an expiring development charge by-law to use their existing by-law for an
additional six months, so they can continue to charge fees on new construction. We are
helping school boards to shift concentration on responding to other more pressing issues
associated with COVID-19.
Suspensions:
Directors of Education and school boards have raised this issue as an operational priority.
This is time-limited and will allow boards flexibility to delay hearings, if needed, to conduct
a full investigation, during this COVID-19 emergency. Suspensions made under this section
of the Education Act are for fairly serious criminal offences. Our government’s focus is on
the health and safety of students, educators and staff. The amendment will help protect the
safety and security of students and staff upon the reopening of schools.
Planning Act Changes, Suspending Appeal Timelines:
Our government has listened to our municipal partners and is proposing to give them the
time they need to focus on local public health priorities by temporarily suspending planning
decision timelines. Currently, when someone applies to change a planning document or to
divide land, municipalities and planning boards have specified timelines to make a decision
before the person or company making the application can appeal it to the Local Planning
Appeal Tribunal. If passed, the changes would allow the Minister of Municipal Affairs and
Housing to temporarily pause the need for municipalities and planning boards to make
decisions within these timelines without the risk of appeal. This measure responds to
requests from municipalities. It will help them to better manage staff time and resources so
they can focus on the COVID-19 outbreak.
The proposed changes would be effective as soon as this legislation is passed, which would
give the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing the authority under the Planning Act to
make the necessary regulatory changes to temporarily suspend these appealable decisionmaking timelines. The proposal applies to all Ontario municipalities and planning boards.
However, if a municipality or planning board wanted to make decisions to continue to
process planning applications during this time, they could still do so. The municipal
decision-making timelines would come back into effect once the COVID-19 emergency, as
declared under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, has ended. This change
would help to minimize a potential backlog of appeals at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal
during this time.
Development Charges Bylaw Extension:
Ontario is proposing temporary changes to give municipalities the flexibility they need to
support their communities in response to COVID-19. Our government supports growth
paying for growth and ensuring municipalities have the tools to ensure complete
communities are built. We are proposing amendments to the Development Charges Act to
ensure these important principles continue during the COVID-19 outbreak. Municipalities
are allowed to make builders pay development charges on new construction to help with the
costs of growth-related infrastructure such as roads, water, wastewater, police and fire
services.
To levy development charges, municipalities need to have a bylaw in place, which needs to
be replaced at least every five years. If a municipality’s development charges bylaw is
scheduled to expire in the coming months, it would be difficult to replace during the COVID19 outbreak. That’s why we are proposing changes to the Development Charges Act that
would allow municipalities to continue to use their existing development charge bylaw
during this time. If passed, the extension would apply for up to six months after the COVID19 emergency, as declared under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, has
ended. Our government has taken action to support municipalities in response to COVID-19
and we want to ensure municipalities can continue to count on this vital source of revenue
for local infrastructure and services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Six Month Interest-Free Moratorium on Repayment for OSAP:
Students and their families make great sacrifices to attend postsecondary education. As part
of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario is helping OSAP borrowers
by temporarily suspending student loan payments and initiating a six-month interest-free
moratorium on OSAP loans. Both measures will automatically apply to current OSAP loans,
providing immediate relief to OSAP borrowers during this difficult time.
Anyone who wishes to continue to make payments to their loan can still make one-time
payments through their online announce or online banking.
Police Services Act:
Our top priority remains the safety, health and well-being of all Ontarians.Through the
Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Ontario has declared a provincial
emergency and is enacting emergency orders to protect the public and contain the spread of
COVID-19. While municipalities currently have until January 1, 2021 to develop and adopt
their first community safety and well-being plan, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,
today’s legislation, if passed, would give municipalities flexibility by allowing the Solicitor
General to extend the deadline. This amendment will allow municipalities to focus on their
local response to COVID-19 to help keep communities safe. Ontario will continue to take
decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and well-being of all
Ontarians.