Last updated: April 5, 2020 at 4:43 p.m.

The Government of Canada has introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to provide income support during Covid-19. You may be eligible.

The COVID-19 pandemic will have an economic impact on the livelihoods of Toronto residents and businesses.

This page offers a list of resources which can be used to help minimize those impacts and help get Toronto residents back on their feet. Please check back often as new resources will be added as they become available.

Pre-Authorized Property Tax and Utility Payments

The City will be suspending all pending automated withdrawals that have been scheduled for all City residents and businesses within the next 60-day period but not yet withdrawn.

Customers will be advised in advance of any rescheduling of revised withdrawal due dates and amounts following the 60-day grace period.

Customers who pay their taxes through their mortgage should contact their mortgage company or financial institution to understand how this grace period will affect their mortgage amount and/or mortgage payment schedule.

For all property owners who have submitted post-dated cheques for upcoming property tax instalments, all post-dated cheques will be held and not cashed until 60 days after the original instalment due date – for example, post-dated cheques intended for the April 1 instalment will be cashed on June 1, and post-dated cheques for the May 1 instalment will be cashed on July 2, 2020.  Any other post-dated cheques received before May 1, 2020 will be held for a period of 60 days from the date of the cheque before being cashed.

The City is providing a grace period for payments and payment penalties for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020.

This grace period applies to all customers. At this time we are unable to process individual requests to have pre-authorized payments or post-dated cheques processed as scheduled.

Customers Who Want to Pay as Scheduled

Customers who wish to remit property tax or utility bill payments as originally scheduled can still do so any time through their bank or financial institutions, using online banking services, telephone banking, or via ATM payments.

Tenants of rental units

If tenants are directly responsible to pay property tax and/or utility amounts under the terms of their lease with the landlord/property owner, then the grace period for property tax and utility payments will apply, and the due dates for these payments will be extended by 60 days.

For tenants in leases where the property tax and utility bills are paid as part of the total rent, where the owner ultimately responsible to pay the taxes, then tenants should check with their landlord to determine whether their rent payment schedule, or amounts paid for property tax and utilities, will vary from the terms set out in the tenant’s lease agreement. As the responsibility to pay property tax and utility amounts ultimately and legally resides with the owner of the property, the City has no means of intervening in landlord/tenant arrangements and cannot act to enforce the extension of the grace period to tenants.

Property Tax Payments

    1. for property owners on the regular three-instalment payment plan, the April 1 property tax instalment due date would be extended to June 1, 2020.
    2. for property owners on the 11-instalment pre-authorized payment plan, Interim 2020 instalment due dates will be extended by 60 days.
    3. late payment penalties (applied on the first day following the instalment due date where payment in full is not received) would be waived for 60 days, starting March 16, 2020.
    4. as Interim 2020 bills have already been mailed that specify the regular instalment due dates, the City will use other means (website, social media, other advertising), to identify this grace period to property owners. Property tax accounts will be adjusted as necessary to reflect these relief measures.

Utility Bill (Water/Sewer Service and Solid Waste Management charges where applicable)

Approximately 30,000 utility bills are issued to business and residential properties each week. Utility bills are usually due approximately 21 days after the billing date. The City is extending the due date for all utility bills issued by an additional 60 days, to give utility customers an additional 60 days to make payment to take advantage of the early payment discount.

For Renters

Tribunals Ontario has communicated that “No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice” due to inability to enforce and hold hearings. Even if a landlord gives written notice, the tenant doesn’t have to move out. The landlord must first get an order to end the tenancy from the Landlord and Tenant Board – this usually includes a hearing where the tenant can present concerns.

Tenants Whose Income is Affected by COVID-19

Toronto Community Housing will be flexible and work with market rent and rent-geared-to-income tenants.

The City directed social and affordable housing providers to be flexible, exercise discretion and work with tenants.

While the City has no power to direct landlords, all property owners are strongly urged to find ways to help tenants to stay in their homes and to proactively communicate with tenants about options, if available.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

Customers behind on electricity or natural gas bill and face having service disconnected may qualify for emergency financial help through the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). There are also special customer service rules available for low-income households. Customers need to meet certain criteria to qualify for these programs.
Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP)

Customers of an electricity utility and in a lower-income home may qualify for a reduction on your electricity bill through this program.

Property Tax Relief

Home owners can apply for property tax relief if they experience illness that results in loss of work, or if they are experiencing extreme poverty.

Toronto Hydro

The Government of Ontario is providing temporary 45-day emergency relief to support Ontarians impacted by the global COVID-19 outbreak. As of March 24, 2020, households, farms and small businesses that pay time-of-use electricity rates will be charged the off-peak rate of 10.1¢ per kWh, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, Toronto Hydro has extended its current suspension of residential electricity disconnections until July 31, 2020, so customers don’t have to worry about being without electricity during this time. They’re encouraging customers to contact their Customer Care team directly at 416-542-8000 for help with billing concerns and payment options. They also have financial assistance programs available to help customers manage their electricity costs.

Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as:

  • pay disruption due to COVID-19;
  • childcare disruption due to school closures; or
  • those facing illness from COVID-19.

This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.

More information is available at Canada’s Six Biggest Banks Take Decisive Action To Help Customers Impacted by COVID-19

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months to:

  • Workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

To be eligible for the CERB workers have earned a minimum of $5,000 in income within the last 12 months or in the 2019 calendar year from employment income and/or self-employment income

Important information for workers who have lost their jobs or are unable to work:

  • Workers should continue to apply for Employment Insurance
  • Individuals who have already applied for Employment Insurance will be automatically enrolled for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
  • Visit the Canada Revenue Agency website for additional information

Service Canada continues to accept online Employment Insurance and Pension applications.

Canada’s Covid-19 Economic Response Plan – This document provides an overview of the Federal Government’s announced support for Canadians. Topics include:

  • Support for Canadians
    • Income Support for Individuals Who Need it Most
    • Flexibility for Taxpayers
    • Mortgage Default Management Tools
    • Role of Financial Institutions

A list of resources on topics including employment insurance, work-sharing program, the labour program and federally regulated workplaces, and the repayment of student loans can be found at Employment and Social Development Canada.

The City has a prepared a fact sheet outlining Employment Insurance. People are encouraged to file a claim as soon as they lose their job.

The City has prepared a fact sheet outlining Employment Insurance Sick Benefits as they relate to COVID-19. People are encouraged to file a claim as soon as they have been advised to quarantine.

Office of the Premier – An overview of the Employment Standards Amendment Act which provides job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives.