Province unveils new supports for groups and individuals hardest hit by lockdown

·1 min read

The province introduced a new slate of supports for groups and individuals hardest hit by the widening COVID-19 pandemic, and the enhanced lockdown measures that were announced Monday.

The financial supports are aimed at the province's most vulnerable communities, as well as small businesses that have been struggling to stay afloat amidst stricter measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

The two plans promise $12.5 million will be injected into 15 high-priority neighbourhoods in Toronto, York, Durham, Peel, and Ottawa.

The money will be used to hire teams of "ambassadors" who will go door-to-door ensuring people know how to access things like tests, masks and hand sanitizer kits. They will also be working to battle "misinformation and myths," according to a government news release.

The plan also includes $42 million to help Toronto, Peel and Ottawa build new isolation centres.

As well, the province announced individual grants — on top of existing financial supports — to help small businesses that have had to close, or have been having a hard time staying afloat.

'The right thing to do,' mayor says

The grants will be between $10,000 and $20,000 and the businesses will be able to use the money at their discretion. But to be eligible, businesses must be able to prove their revenues declined by at least 20 per cent in April, 2020, compared to April, 2019.

Toronto Mayor John Tory welcomed the news that hard-hit areas would be compensated, calling it "the right thing to do."

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath demanded the government go further. "We want to see the Ford government ... prevent people from being evicted, tenants from being evicted, prevent businesses from having the door shut on them by landlords," she said.