COVID-19 POLICY TIMELINE | The Ontario Federation of Labour


This list was last updated on May 1, 2020. Please note that this is a working document and will be updated frequently. 

For more information on OFL’s advocacy for workers during the COVID-19 crisis click here.

Below is a policy timeline on COVID-19 for reference and sharing. The OFL will continue to monitor policy changes as further information becomes available. Our advocacy work continues, and we will stay vigilant in pressing the government on our demands.

You can also download the OFL’s info sheets on short-term and long-term actions to avoid the harm that the virus can bring to your health and to the people in your communities, and access more information from the OFL and its affiliates here.

COVID-19 policy updates:

May 1, 2020

April 30, 2020

April 29, 2020

April 27, 2020

April 26, 2020

April 25, 2020

April 24, 2020

April 23, 2020

April 22, 2020

April 21, 2020

April 20, 2020

April 17, 2020

April 16, 2020

April 15, 2020

April 14, 2020

April 13, 2020

April 10, 2020

April 9, 2020

April 8, 2020

April 7, 2020

April 6, 2020

April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

March 31, 2020

March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020

March 29, 2020

March 28, 2020

March 27, 2020

  • No policy changes

March 26, 2020

March 25, 2020

Released the Fiscal and Economic Update


  • The Fiscal Update is based on optimistic assumptions that COVID-19 will have minimal effect on government revenues from personal income and business taxes; Ontario’s low unemployment rate will not significantly rise this year; and Ontario will be back to growth in the second half of the year. ( NOTE: Private sector forecasts show that Ontario’s economy may contract by 5.6% in 2020.)
  • Forecasts a 0.8 per cent drop in personal income tax revenues, meaning just $300 million less in provincial coffers, despite the widespread layoffs announced in the past few weeks.
    • Forecasts a 1.3 per cent drop in corporate tax revenue, just a $200 million hit to the treasury. 
  • While health care spending will increase by 5.3% this year, it is important to understand that this is the number required to fund health care to meet non-crisis levels – accounting for  inflation, population growth, the aging population, and decades of neoliberalism. To respond to the current COVID-19 crisis, significantly greater funding is required. 
  • Direct income supports include providing parents with children under 12 with a one-time payment of $200 ($250 for those with special needs) & low-income seniors will get up to $83 with a doubling of a guaranteed income benefit for six months. (Note: Failed to top up the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit or provide immediate income supports for those that do not qualify for it (e.g., those on ODSP or OW).
  • Provided up to $10 billion in tax deferrals: delaying the collection of most provincial business taxes for five months, deferring education property tax payments for three months, and deferring Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments for up to six months – as well as temporarily reducing the employer health tax for 90 per cent of Ontario businesses. 
  • Suspended OSAP repayments for six months.

March 24, 2020

March 23, 2020

March 22, 2020

March 21, 2020

March 20, 2020

March 19, 2020

  • Passed the Municipal Emergency Act.
    • Bill 187 lays out the ability for members of local councils, boards and committees, during local and province-wide emergencies, to participate electronically in both open and closed meetings, and to be counted for the purposes of quorum. 
    • The Lieutenant Governor in Council can also, under the new legislation, impose limits and conditions on the powers wielded by municipalities.
  • Passed the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies).
    • Bill 186 entitles employees to job-protected leaves of absence from their employment without pay and if they are unable to work due to reasons related to designated infectious disease emergencies. Those reasons include being under medical investigation, supervision or treatment, in quarantine or isolation, caring or supporting another person, or being affected by travel restrictions.
    • The Bill also removes employers’ ability to provide a sick note, though employees may still be required to provide other “evidence reasonable in the circumstances” if they utilize such leave. 
    • Note: Bill 186 fails to deliver on several measures, including covering all workers and providing paid leave for workers to make it financially feasible [see OFL’s press release for more details]. Also, essential workers, who may not be traditionally considered “essential” may be exempt from the legislation, and those regulations are yet to be determined. 
  • Announced additional measures including extended validity for health cards and drivers’ licenses, and a court order to suspend the enforcement of evictions. 
  • Altered regulations to allow businesses (and workers) to deliver goods at all hours of the day, without restriction from local noise bylaws, to keep stores restocked. 
  • Promised to not follow Quebec’s example in trampling collective bargaining rights for education workers during the crisis.
  • Talking with auto manufacturers to see if they can retool their equipment to produce ventilators, and liaising with companies like Canada Goose who might be able to use their sewing equipment to produce medical gowns.
  • Considering waving the three-month waiting period that normally exists for individuals returning to Canada to access OHIP.  (Note: The government has not yet committed to extending OHIP coverage for newcomers.)

March 18, 2020

March 17, 2020

  • Declared a state of emergency in Ontario.  (Note: Limited funds will be distributed to hospitals; testing and screening; personal protective equipment and other supports for frontline workers; long-term care homes; residential facilities in developmental services, gender-based services, and protective care for children and youth; and Indigenous communities.)

March 16, 2020

March 15, 2020

March 13, 2020

March 12, 2020

March 11, 2020