Last week, the Ontario government made amendments to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 regulation, enabling the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to better support seniors living in retirement homes during the COVID-19 outbreak. The regulation change increases the emergency payment the RHRA can pay to eligible retirement home residents from $2,000 to $3,500. In the event of an emergency, such as an outbreak, this funding can be used to support residents to cover costs for transportation, alternative accommodation or temporary care. The regulation change also requires retirement homes to report infectious disease outbreaks to the RHRA during COVID-19 and beyond.
“These regulatory amendments build on the decisive action our government has taken in recent days to make sure our seniors receive the support and the protection that they deserve,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We are making sure seniors have the financial resources they need in the event of an emergency, and are making it easier for the retirement home regulator to work with local public health authorities.”
In addition, the government has:
- Issued an emergency order eliminating barriers to eligible frontline workers receiving pandemic pay. It will allow employers with unionized workforces to provide pandemic pay to eligible employees without the need to negotiate separate terms or conditions with their bargaining agents.
- Extended an emergency order to provide electricity bill relief for industrial and commercial consumers during COVID-19. The order was first introduced on May 1, 2020 to defer a portion of the Global Adjustment charges from April and May 2020. Through the extended emergency order and a related regulatory amendment, this support is now being extended through to the end of June 2020.
- Amended an emergency order to allow drive-in movie theatres that were in existence before May 29, 2020 to reopen with restrictions in order to help support communities and local businesses recover from the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. The government is also allow ing batting cages to open so that people can start to enjoy outdoor seasonal activities at safe physical distances. These changes became effective on May 31, 2020.