Suze Morrison MPP, Toronto Centre

Government of Ontario

COVID-19 Response

This is from a newsletter MPP Suze Morrison sent on March 27, 2020.

This week, the government’s financial statement was released. I am worried that it leaves out help for people in our communities who need help now because of COVID-19.

You and our communities have done our part — respecting physical distancing and staying at home as much as you are able. I know many folks are worried about keeping their head above the water.

From the bottom of my heart — thank you for stepping up to protect our shared health. I am disappointed that Wednesday’s financial package did not deliver the support you told me you need.

I have heard from you and your neighbours this week (and you can still fill out my survey here). Too many of our neighbours are at their financial breaking point. Now is not the time for half-measures. We need measures that put money in people's pockets now, so that we can weather this storm — and so that we can get through this, together.

I hear from renters loud and clear and I will keep advocating for you. Small businesses and people who lost their jobs cannot use a tax credit if they have no cash coming in.

I support MPP Andrea Horwath's calls for the government to immediately provide $2,000 of emergency income. We need emergency income before April 1st for every household experiencing unemployment or lost income. Folks on ODSP, OW, EI, and the new Federal Emergency Care Benefit would automatically qualify.

Along with this emergency funding we are calling on the provincial government for:

  • Designate immediate emergency funding for the shelter system, outreach and harm reduction workers;
  • A Personal Support Worker (PSW) retention fund;
  • A stabilization fund for the non-profit sector – like food banks;
  • A wage-fund boost and remote-work set up fund to support small and medium-sized businesses, which face much greater challenges now than large businesses;
  • A program for ongoing income support for Ontarians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Government’s announcement yesterday was that all GAINS income transfers would be doubled for the next six months. So whatever you receive from GAINS normally will be doubled. If you normally receive the full amount of $83/month you will now receive $166/month for the next six months.

    • are 65 years or older

    • have lived in Ontario for the past 12 months or for a total of 20 years since turning age 18

    • have been a Canadian resident for 10 years or more

    • receive the federal OAS pension and GIS payments

    • have an annual private income of up to $1,992 if you are a single senior or up to $3,984 if you are a senior couple.

GAINS is not a program that you apply for. Seniors are automatically enrolled if they meet the below eligibility requirements:If you already receive GAINS then this increase will automatically apply and you do not need to take any action.

  1. The CFIB website (Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses) is full of information and a hotline that all businesses across Ontario are invited to make use of. (The CFIB has waived their membership requirement to access their services at this time)

  2. We are also recommending small business owners reach out to Innovation Canada here: http://innovation.canada.ca/

    • If you select "funding" in the what I need most they will be directed to programs that can help, including COVID-19 specific programs. Please keep in mind, that through this program many small businesses will only be offered loans.

  3. The City of Toronto has consolidated resources to support businesses here: You can see what programs exist here.