COVID-19 has been tremendously challenging for parents and caregivers. On this page, we have outlined supports available and helpful advice.
Learn more about supports for individuals
Learn more about supports for business, not for profits or nonprofits
Learn more about supports for seniors
Learn more about supports for mental health
Financial Support for Learners
There is one-time funding to support children, youth and students during the 2020-2021 school year. The deadline to apply is February 8, 2021. Eligible applicants will receive a one-time payment of:
- $200 for each child or youth up to Grade 12
- $250 for each child or youth up to age 21 with special needs
You are eligible to apply if you live in Ontario and are a:
- parent or guardian to a child or youth up to Grade 12
- secondary school student over the age of 18
- parent or guardian to a child or youth that is 21 or younger and has special needs
Return to School: Additional health and safety measures
The following new health and safety measures will be put in place in all Ontario elementary and secondary schools when students return to in-person learning:
- students in Grades 1 to 12 must wear masks or face coverings:
- in schools, including in hallways and during classes
- on school transportation
- outdoors during recess, where distance cannot be maintained
- enhanced screening protocols (Ontario’s COVID-19covid 19 school and child care screening tool, will be updated to reflect the new screening criteria)
- targeted COVID-19covid 19 testing will be expanded
Learn about how we are keeping students and staff safe at school and what to expect if there is a COVID-19 case in your child's school. Students, teachers and school staff need to check for symptoms of illness every day before going to school. Take the COVID-19covid 19 school screening.
Helpful advice on returning to school
It may be challenging for children to adapt to a structured school routine after months of physical distancing at home. Parents can prepare kids for a return to the classroom by:
- reviewing how and when to wash hands, using age-appropriate language
- demonstrating physical distancing and giving kids a distancing reference like hockey sticks or bicycles
- practising putting on, wearing, and safely removing non-medical masks
Deferral of OSAP payments
From March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020, students were not required to make any loan payments, and interest did not accrue on student loans. Any payments made during this period went entirely towards your loan principal. As of October 1, 2020, you are required to resume repaying your loan, meaning:
- payments will be withdrawn from your account if you are on pre-authorized debit
- if you make payments through online banking or cheque, you are required to send in payments
If you need help repaying your loans, you can apply to lower your monthly payments through the Repayment Assistance Plan.
Supports for children and youth
Operating child care centres
Child care centres and home-based child care services for non-school-aged children will remain open with enhanced health and safety measures during the declaration of emergency. Emergency child care for school-aged children will be available for health care, public safety and other frontline workers while in-person instruction is not permitted in elementary schools. When elementary schools are open for in-person instruction, targeted emergency child care for school-aged children will not be available. As of September 1, 2020, child care and early years programs are open with enhanced health and safety measures, subject to provincewide shutdown restrictions. Learn how we are keeping children, parents and staff safe as child care and early years programs reopen with strict health and safety protocols.
Children’s aid societies continue to operate and provide services to children, youth and families. Societies are being encouraged to use technology where possible and appropriate, while also observing local public health recommendations. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, youth in care who turn 18 and former youth in care who turn 21 will not age out of the supports and services they are currently receiving through children’s aid societies.
Children with special needs
Service providers are offering some services through telephone and video applications where appropriate and have resumed offering some in-person services for children with special needs and their families, in accordance with public health guidelines. You can contact your service provider for updated information and to discuss what services may be available.
Youth justice facilities
Some services at provincially-operated youth justice facilities and probation offices are cancelled or are being provided through technology.
Mental health and addictions support
It's normal for you or your children to feel overwhelmed, stressed, confused, scared or angry during this time. COVID-19 can be difficult for children to understand, especially if they know someone who's sick. Pay close attention to how your child is feeling and if you or your child are feeling anxious, experiencing other mental health or addiction challenges or you can’t access your regular in-person counselling support, there are services you can access online or by phone.
Self-care is important. Parents and caregivers take better care of their children when they take care of themselves, too.
The following resources can be shared with your child:
Kids Help Phone is available 24 hours a day for young Canadians (aged 5 to 29)
- this service provides confidential and anonymous care from professional counsellors
- call 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) or text CONNECT to 686868
- Canada Youth Network
- COVID-19: Youth mental health resource hub is a collaboration of Jack.org, Kids Help Phone and School Mental Health Ontario
Educational activities for children
The Federal Government created these educational activities to teach children about what they can do to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Hand washing heroes (video)
- Colour and learn (colouring pages)
- Coughing and sneezing hygiene for kids (video)
- Kids, here's what you need to know about COVID-19