Thunder Bay COVID-19 SURVIVAL GUIDE
compiled by Gabriela Ciolca, Gwen O’Reilly and Lori Gilbert
Please note that this information may change!
Current Date: January 19, 2021
Please email Gwen at [email protected] if you have corrections or updated information to add.
COVID-19 Precautions at NWOWC
In response to the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases, a declaration of emergency was made on January 12, 2021 for all of Ontario. The Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre is currently closed to the public and staff are working remotely.
Corona Virus Information
- Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or severe acute respiratory syndrome.
- Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or health care centre. Some human coronaviruses spread easily between people, while others do not. COVID-19 seems to spread easily.
- Your risk of severe disease may be higher if you have a weakened immune system. This may be the case for older people and people with chronic disease (for example, diabetes, cancer, heart, renal or chronic lung disease).
- The first presumed case of this infection in Ontario was identified on January 25, 2020.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19:
- World Health Organization: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Public Health Agency of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
- The Ontario Ministry of Health reports on the status of cases in Ontario each morning at 10:30 am: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
- The Thunder Bay District Health Unit’s website contains links to credible sources of information for both the public and local health care providers: www.TBDHU.COM/coronavirus
COVID-19 in Thunder Bay
As of January 19, 2021, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit has reported 756 cumulative confirmed cases. There are 92 active cases in the district and 4 hospitalizations. The virus can be spread by people who do not show any symptoms, which means it is important to continue to observe sanitation protocol.
Wearing a mask is required when entering indoor public spaces. Masks are also recommended in any setting where it is difficult or not possible to keep 2m from others.
Thunder Bay and District currently is included in the PROVINCE-WIDE SHUTDOWN and is in a DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY. All are asked to stay at home, and only leave their houses for necessities such as food, medication, work or school. Elementary and secondary students in Northern Ontario returned to in-person learning on January 11. See below for Province restrictions in affect.
- Only gather with the people you live with.
- Those who live alone and single parents may consider close contact with only one other household.
- For religious services, weddings, funerals, etc. a maximum of 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors, as long as individuals can stay 2 metres apart.
- Limited to 5 people.
- Must keep 2 metres (6 feet) physical distance from all others.
- Do not travel outside your region or the province unless absolutely necessary.
- Individuals and families arriving or returning to Ontario during the shutdown period should self-isolate for 14 days.
Restaurants, Bars and Shopping
- Restaurants are by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only.
- Stores that sell food are open
- Big-box retailers and discount stores are open
- Pharmacies are open
- Other retailers are closed for in-person shopping, but can operate curbside pick-up or delivery.
Thunder Bay Drug Strategy and Crime Prevention Council have cooperated to create a directory of local, regional and national resources for service providers: https://thunderbay.cmha.ca/news/covid-19-resource-directory-for-service-providers/
Reduce your Risk
- Avoid closed spaces, crowded places, close contact settings and close-range conversation or settings.
- Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds (tip: sing Happy Birthday twice). Wash your hands before you leave home, and as soon as you come home.
- Avoid touching your face, and make sure your hands are clean if you do.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available. It’s a good idea to always keep some with you if you have to go out.
- Sanitize high contact surfaces: cell phones and other devices, including computer keyboards, doorknobs, armrests, light switches, toilet handles etc.
- Wear a mask when you’re in public or shared indoor spaces with people from outside your immediate household.
- Stay home and away from others if you feel sick.
- Limit contact with those at risk of more severe illness, such as older adults or those with compromised immune systems.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person. They may also vary in different age groups. Some of the more commonly reported symptoms include:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- temperature equal to or over 38°C
- feeling feverish
- fatigue or weakness
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of smell or taste
- gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
- feeling very unwell
Children tend to have abdominal symptoms and skin changes or rashes.
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19:
- Contact the Thunder Bay COVID-19 Assessment Centre to be assessed and scheduled for testing in Thunder Bay.
- Book an Appointment Online: Thunder Bay COVID-19 Testing Services
- Book an Appointment by Phone: (807) 935-8100, 7 days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Isolate yourself for 14 days to avoid spreading it to others. Stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even just one mild symptom.
Adults and children who have mild COVID-19 symptoms are able to stay at home with a caregiver throughout their recovery without needing hospitalization.
The Ontario government has waived the three month OHIP wait and says that the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for uninsured people.
Ontario Ministry of Health has issued the following directive to hospitals about people without OHIP cards, or those uninsured by OHIP during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“…the Ministry requests hospitals provide all medically necessary services to all persons who present at a hospital, regardless of whether the person presents a valid OHIP card, or does not have health insurance under OHIP or another provincial health insurance plan. Services for uninsured persons should be prioritized consistent with the prioritization of services for insured persons.” And: “the Ministry, through its agencies, will provide payment to hospitals for both the physician and hospital services provided to all such patients”
Thunder Bay Counselling and Children’s Centre Thunder Bay are now providing Talk-In; phone and video counselling supports in the city. As mental health and addiction services continue to be in high demand, this new option is an adaptation of their traditional Walk-In Counselling Clinic, which now provides quick and easy access to a counsellor, five days a week. The Talk-In Clinic provided by Thunder Bay Counselling and Children’s Centre Thunder Bay is free and is accessible by calling (807) 700-0090. Single session counselling is offered Monday to Friday, with available times found at tbaycounselling.com and childrenscentre.ca. In-person sessions can be offered on a case by case basis.
Canadian Mental Health Association: Crisis Response is back to regular operations 24/7.
Thunder Bay: 807-346-8282
District / Toll-Free: 1-888-269-3100
Northwest Region: 1-866-888-8988
Student Health and Wellness: During this challenging and uncertain time, it’s normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed, or worried for your own health, as well as that of your family and friends. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself: https://www.lakeheadu.ca/students/wellness-recreation/student-health-and-wellness/wellu
The NWOWC’s Good Food Box program is still running. Subsidized fruit and vegetables can be purchased monthly for $22/food box. For updates on the Good Food Box Program, go to www.goodfoodboxtb.org, call (807)-345-7819 or email [email protected]
Various grocery stores offer free delivery and store pick up and will provide online orders: Maltese, Georges Market, Superstore, Walmart, etc.
For a list of sources of free or subsidized meal/food programs in the city, see the TBDHU’s pamphlet here: https://www.tbdhu.com/sites/default/files/files/resource/2020-01/TBDHU%20-%20Where%20to%20Get%20Food%20in%20Thunder%20Bay%20%28Jan%202020%29.pdf
Meals on Wheels: Ontario Ministry for Seniors & Accessibility, in partnership with Ontario Community Support Association is helping to provide delivery of meals, medicines and other essentials. The program will expand existing Meals On Wheels capacity to ensure that seniors, people with disabilities and those with underlying medical conditions receive supports as quickly as possible. To access services: www.ontariocommunitysupport.ca
If feel you are in immediate danger, or if you are injured, call 911.
Centralized hub for resources related to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the COVID-19 pandemic: Resources on Gender-Based Violence and the Covid-19 Pandemic
Most local women’s services are still answering phones and emails, even if remotely. Women’s Shelters, Talk For Healing Help Line and Victim Witness Assistance are continuing to work with women experiencing violence.
- Faye Peterson Transition House Women’s Shelter: 24/7: 807-345-0450, 1-800-465-6971
- Beendigen Women’s Crisis Home: 24/7: 807-346-HELP (4357), 1-888-200-9997
- Talk 4 Healing Help Line: Talk, text or chat in 14 Indigenous languages: 1-855-554-HEAL(4325); www.talk4healing.com
- The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline has implemented a remote operations strategy and resumed operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hotline Response Advocates are available to connect survivors with local services in communities across Canada at 1-833-900-1010 or through chat on their website.
- Sexual Abuse Centre Thunder Bay: 345-0894; 24 hour Crisis Response 344-4502
- Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault Treatment Centre TBRHSC (hospital): 684-6751; or go directly to emergency and ask for the Sexual Assault nurse.
- Coalition to End Human Trafficking: 683-4813 Help line will be reopening March 31st.
- Victim Witness Assistance Program (Thunder Bay Courthouse) are still operating and can help women with urgent court matters. 1-888-579-2888
- Thunder Bay & Area Victim Services provides an alternative choice for reporting a crime and/or tragedy. They provide confidential support, education and referral services to victims of crime and tragic circumstances. 24/7 crisis response line 1-807-684-1051
- Assaulted Women’s Helpline: www.awhl.org 1-866-863-0511 #SAFE (#7233) Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido
- FEM’AIDE: 1-877-336-2433
- Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres: https://sexualassaultsupport.ca/covid-19-pandemics-and-gender-ocrcc-statement/
Women’s Shelters Canada
This open-source document contains a list of resources and practices being used by organizations who support women living in shelters and transition houses during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/resources-vaw-shelters-and-transition-houses-responding-covid-19
Ministry of Attorney General announced the implementation of temporary enhancements to some benefits provided through the Victim Quick Response Program+ (VQRP+). Specifically, temporary accommodation and meals benefits have been enhanced to ensure victims of crime, particularly domestic violence, can access safe living arrangements while complying with self isolation requirements. This includes expanding the maximum benefit for hotel stays to $3,150 and meals and groceries to $840. It is important to note that VQRP+ eligibility remains unchanged through this process. For more information on VQRP+ eligibility, please visit: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ovss/vqrp.php
- Path 525 is still offering supervised injection, referral to services, supplies, etc. Monday- Saturday 10am-6pm. 5:30 injection room last call
- GAPPS program https://thunderbay.cmha.ca/programs-services/getting-appropriate-personal-and-professional-support-gapps/
- The Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinics are operating and continue to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clients can call (807) 626 8478 to book an appointment, and referrals are still being accepted from service providers. Please see https://www.tbaycounselling.com/addiction-mental-health/rapid-access-addiction-medicine-clinic/ for more information and for the referral form.
- RAAM clinics are now operating out of Norwest Community Health Centre ONLY at 525 Simpson Street, Monday to Friday, during regular clinic hours. Clients can call to schedule an appointment: (807) 626-8478. RAAM provides rapid access to specialized addiction medicine, counselling and peer support at both sites, and virtually.
- Safer Drug Use During the COVID-19 Outbreak This tip sheet includes harm reduction tips and safer drug use practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource is helpful for front line workers and can be printed and given directly to service users. https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/safer-drug-use-during-covid-19-outbreak
- Elevate https://elevatenwo.org/ Harm reduction supplies, M-F 11 am – 3 pm. Elevate website has updates on Superior Points, Salvation Army, Path 525 and Thunder Bay Counselling
- Ontario Works – Should proceed as usual. OW is supposed to be waiving requirements for any income information or reporting for special diet or work hours and all existing benefits will continue. There should be no automatic cut offs of benefits at this time. Call your worker if there are problems and then call Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic if the problem is not resolved.
- Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services www.mcss.gov.on.ca Do you urgently need financial help because of COVID-19? If you are not already receiving support from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, you can apply for emergency assistance online.
- ODSP – Effective immediately and until further notice: – No need for income reporting submission at this time (unless electronically submitted). Special Diet Allowance, if already in place, will continue, even if set to expire – clients are not to worry about getting their forms signed or submitted for now. No requirement for verification for Mandatory Special Necessities. The office will remain open but refrain from seeing clients in person and face-to-face interactions.
- Canada Child Benefit and Ontario Child Benefit: a tax-free federal benefit paid monthly to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age. Eligible families receive up to a monthly maximum of $553.25 for each child under 6 years of age or $466.83 for older children.
- Employment Insurance: The number of insurable hours needed to qualify for EI has been decreased. And the first time an employee applies for EI during COVID-19 they will get: 300 bonus hours for regular benefits, or 480 bonus hours for special benefits like sickness, maternity, and parental benefits. Usually, EI gives employees 55% of their weekly earnings, to a maximum of $573 a week. But now EI will pay a new minimum of $500 a week for both regular benefits and special benefits. This means that employees get either 55% of their normal weekly earnings or $500 a week, whichever is higher. Employees who choose extended parental benefits will get $300 a week. The new minimum is now 26 weeks. To apply for EI benefits, you can visit the website. Afterwards, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government’s toll-free number at 1-833-381-2725, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742.
- Workers — including the self-employed — who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 can apply, as can those staying home to take care of a family member with COVID-19 who doesn’t qualify. Parents staying home to care for children because of school closures are also covered and can apply whether or not they qualify for EI.
- Support for families who have children not in school or child-care because of COVID-19: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-families
With policy updates released daily, it can be challenging to navigate the current information available on provincial and territorial supports individuals facing challenges paying rent can access due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This comprehensive and easy to read list is a great tool to review the various federal emergency funds offered. https://www.homelessnesslearninghub.ca/library/resources/plain-language-explainer-federal-emergency-funds
Income Security updates from CLEO:
- Who qualifies for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and how do I apply?
- Who qualifies for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and how do I apply?
- Who qualifies for the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) and how do I apply?
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is ending. Can I get Employment Insurance (EI)?
What’s the CERB?
The CERB was introduced on March 25, 2020, to help people who had to stop working because of COVID-19. It paid $500 a week for up to 24 weeks. The last day to apply for this money was December 2, 2020.
Because the CERB was made for an emergency, the government treated speed as a priority. This meant that they accepted almost everyone who applied, without checking whether they qualified. All people had to do was “attest” or promise that they were eligible. They did not have to show proof.
It’s not clear how the government is going to find people who should not have received the CERB. But they’ll likely do this next year when people do their income tax returns.
In the meantime, if someone knows that they should not have received the CERB and is able to pay the money back, there are a number of ways to do this:
- They can return their CERB cheque, or write a new cheque, and mail it to Service Canada or the CRA.
- They can use their internet banking by choosing the “Canada Revenue Agency – tax instalment” or “Employment and Social Development Canada” as the payee and use their Social Insurance Number (SIN) as the account number.
- They can repay the money at their bank, using their SIN as the account number.
- They can use their CRA My Account to return the money online.
The CRA is asking people to repay before December 31, 2020. If a person repays the CERB before this time, the government says that they won’t be fined or get some other penalty.
This will be a very short timeline for many people. If someone needs more time to pay the CERB back, they can contact the CRA at 1-800-675-6183 and ask to set up a payment plan. If they can pay at least some of the money right away this will help to show the CRA that they plan to pay the money back. Anyone making these arrangements with the CRA needs to:
- take careful notes of any telephone conversations
- save any emails in a safe place
At the moment, the government is not charging interest on CERB money that people pay back.
Up to date Financial Counselling available from Thunder Bay Counselling (807) 684-1880. Counsellors will help you: Understand and access COVID-19 supports; Navigate loan, utility, and other payment relief options; Work with you to adjust your budget when needed.
Employment / Jobs
The Ontario Legislature has passed the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 to provide 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.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, you cannot be fired from your job although you may be laid off temporarily.
Service Canada in-person services are by appointment only.
CLEO reports on legal issues faced by workers returning to work: https://mailchi.mp/cleo.on.ca/on-the-radar-going-back-to-work-during-covid-19?e=5538b24d7e
For more information about rights at work, see Steps to Justice website https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19/covid%E2%80%9119-employment-and-work
CLEO provides an up-to-date FAQ on housing/tenant issues relating to COVID-19 here: https://stepstojustice.ca/legal-topic/housing-law/covid-19.
The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board has secured funding to assist people in paying rental arrears due to the negative effects of COVID-19. Contact [email protected] to request an application package or find out more information. This fund is subject to income limits and the accommodations must be deemed sustainable by TBDSSAB staff.
Starting August 4, 2020, the eviction freeze that protected most residential tenants and homeowners from being evicted has expired. This means that if the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has made an eviction order against a tenant, the landlord can have the Sheriff enforce the order by evicting the tenant and having the locks changed. The landlord does not need to get special permission from the Superior Court, as they did during the freeze. This applies to all eviction orders whether they were made before or after the state of emergency was declared on March 19. As has always been the case, landlords are still not allowed to evict tenants on their own. They must get an order from the LTB and have the Sheriff enforce it.
Tenants need to get legal advice right away if they have an eviction order against them or if they get a Sheriff’s notice. Contact Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic if you need legal advice: 344-2478.
Tenants can also contact their local community legal clinic. They can also sign up for tenant duty counsel advice at www.tdc.acto.ca or by calling 1-877-374-0391. They’ll need their LTB file number, which should be on the Sheriff’s notice and on any papers they got from the LTB.
Finding and Securing Housing During a Pandemic: This one-pager outlines tips on how front line workers can support clients to find and move into permanent housing during COVID-19—from early-stage discussions, to viewings and inspections, to lease signing and key exchange: https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/finding-and-securing-housing-during-pandemic%C2%A0
New Resources from Homeless Hub Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/edu/new-covid-19-resources-for-the-homelessness-sector-5vjjf3b9qq?e=0dcc07f4ce
If you are unable to pay your utilities or you need to make payment arrangements during these difficult times, contact your service provider for more details.
The Revenue and Cashiers Offices are not currently open for in-person visits.
- Property taxes & water bills: can be paid on-line, by telephone banking, online with your credit card (plastiq.com – a service fee applies), in person at your bank, or by mailing a cheque to City of Thunder Bay, PO BOX 800, Thunder Bay ON P7C 5K4
- Accounts receivable invoices: can be paid by mailing a cheque to City of Thunder Bay, PO BOX 800, Thunder Bay ON P7C 5K4
Water meter/bill payment
- Water Meter readings can be made at 625-3160; Final Reads can be sent to [email protected].
Enbridge Gas / Union Gas
- will work directly with customers who fall behind on their gas bills to establish payment plans. Eligible customers having trouble paying their bill may qualify for emergency relief to avoid having their service disconnected through the Enbridge Energy Assistance Program. Any customer who has concerns about their ability to make their utility payment should contact Union Gas at: 1-888-774-3111; Enbridge Gas Distribution: 1-877-362-7434
- Pandemic Relief Fund available to assist customers affected by COVID-19. Hydro One will offer financial assistance as well as increased payment flexibility to customers experiencing hardship. The fund is designed to support customers impacted by these events and those that may experience further impacts. For more details visit: https://www.hydroone.com/savingmoneyandenergy_/financialassistanceforresidents_/Pages/Relief-Fund.aspx or call 1-888-664-9376
TELUS Mobility for Good Program
- The TELUS Mobility for Good® program for low-income seniors provides a free refurbished phone, 3GB of data and unlimited Canada-wide talk & text for $25/month. Seniors that are receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) are eligible for this offer.
- Application steps:
- Send in your Statement of Old Age Security T4A (OAS) to
- TELUS will confirm eligibility and provide a verification code
- Activate your offer online or through our call centre
Learn more at telus.com/MobilityForGoodSeniors
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thunder Bay Transit will be operating adjusted service levels until further notice to best meet fluctuating ridership levels and customer demands. Passengers must board and exit via the rear doors.
URIDE Thunder Bay – for details call (807) 700-0013 or visit https://uridetech.com/thunder-bay/
Taxi – Diamond – 622-6001 / Roach Yellow Cab – 345-7721
Immigrant and Refugee Information
- COVID-19 Pandemic Response – Income Support and Benefits for People with Precarious Immigration Status (OCASI, April 2) https://ocasi.org/income-support-webinar-%E2%80%93-pandemic-response
- Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) – Guidance for Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) on COVID-19 https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/employer-compliance/covid-guidance.html
- Refugee sponsorship policy updates, and financial benefits available: http://www.rstp.ca/en/refugee-sponsorship/latest-policy-program-update/summary-of-financial-benefits-available-under-canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan/
- MCIS (Multilingual Community Interpretation Services)Making available multilingual information on our website aggregated from different credible sources https://www.mcislanguages.com/covid-19-response/. Offering free immediate telephone interpretation to small organizations supporting Limited English Speakers. We have created a COVID-19 phone interpretation line. When a Limited English Speaker calls in to an agency and the person who is reached does not speak the language, they can then place the person on hold and call into our toll-free phone interpretation line. It is a very simple application process. Once the application is approved (normally within 24 hours), access for your agency is also very simple. Please request the service here,- Free Interpretation Registration Form COVID-19.
Information for People with Disabilities
COVID-19: One-time payment to persons with disabilities. This non-taxable, non-reportable, one-time payment provides up to $600 in recognition of the extraordinary expenses incurred by persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. You do not have to apply for the one-time payment, it will be automatically issued to:
- holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate, and
- beneficiaries as at July 1, 2020 of:
- Canada Pension Plan Disability
- Quebec Pension Plan Disability Pension, or
CNIB Virtual Vision Mate program gives volunteers an opportunity to engage in friendly conversations with our participants. You can schedule your chats on a set day and time every week, or you can schedule week-to-week, whatever works for both of you. We’ve also heard from members of our community about the difficulties they’re facing with getting groceries and prescriptions. If you’re willing to help with picking up and dropping off groceries, we’d love to hear from you. For just one hour a week, you can change the life of someone with sight loss. To apply to become a Virtual Vision Mate or assist with errands, please fill out the application form. If you have any issues with the application form, please call us at 1-800-563-2642.
CNIB Foundation has expanded its free virtual program offerings (career support, tech training, book clubs, youth groups, etc.) for Canadians impacted by blindness. Click here to view the full list of workshops: https://cnib.ca/en/event?field_event_type_target_id=All&field_location_locality=&field_region_target_id=All®ion=on_north
MARCH OF DIMES is holding Warehouse and other social events via Zoom If you are interested in attending any of the event and for more information, please contact us at: [email protected] or 807-345-6595 ext.130
CLEO has new and updated information about the law and legal services during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- What is the FRO doing about support payments during COVID-19?
- I can’t afford to pay support because of COVID-19, what can I do?
- I’m behind in my rent and my landlord offered me a repayment agreement. Should I sign it?
- How are time limits in landlord and tenant law affected by COVID-19?
Please visit COVID-19: Updates on the law and legal services on Steps to Justice for information on other areas of the law including criminal law, employment law, and income assistance law.
Legal Aid Ontario Coverage for Health Care Workers Permanent Residence Pathway: Legal Aid Ontario will be offering certificates for lawyers to assist clients with applications under the Health Care Workers Permanent Residence Pathway. The certificate will cover up to 7 hours for preparation of the application and representation while it is being processed. LAO’s financial eligibility guidelines will apply. Lawyers can refer clients to the guidelines to check if they qualify based on their income and family size, before applications open in mid-January. LAO Financial Eligibility Guidelines: https://www.legalaid.on.ca/will-legal-aid-pay-for-my-lawyer/
Tribunals and Courts
COVID-19 notices and information from the Ontario Court of Justice can be found here: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/
CLEO also has updated information about the courts during the COVID-19 situation, for example:
- I have a court date for a criminal charge in the Ontario Court of Justice. What should I do?
- I have a court date for a criminal charge in the Superior Court of Justice. What should I do?
- I have a court date for a family case in the Ontario Court of Justice. What should I do?
- I have a court date for a family case in the Superior Court of Justice. What should I do?
The Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and ServiceOntario, is extending the validity period of driving products, services and health cards.
These new regulations include extensions for driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates, among others.
Expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services.
City services may have reduced or limited hours and services. Check the City of Thunder Bay’s website for information: www.thunderbay.ca/coronavirus or A – Z City Service Directory During COVID-19 – https://www.thunderbay.ca/en/city-hall/resources/Documents/Coronavirus-COVID-19/A-Z-City-Service-Directory-During-COVID-19—Dec.-15.pdf
Fraud, False and Misleading Claims
PROTECT YOURSELF and BEWARE OF SCAMS – Some people will try to take advantage of the current pandemic by asking for your money or your trust. Numerous people fall victims to scammers claiming to be Government Officials (like Revenue Canada), police or non-existent charities. NEVER give out your Social Insurance Number or Credit Card numbers, or send cash or e-transfer to an unconfirmed source. Scams to watch for:
- Spoofed government, healthcare or research information
- Unauthorized or fraudulent charities requesting money for victims, products or research
- Unsolicited calls, emails and texts giving medical advice or requesting urgent action or payment:
- If you didn’t initiate contact, you don’t know who you’re communicating to
- Never respond or click on suspicious links and attachments
- Never give out your personal or financial details
- Don’t feel pressured into making a donation
- High-priced, low-quality products purchased in bulk by consumers and resold for profit
- Questionable offers, such as: miracle cures, herbal remedies, vaccinations, faster testing
- Fake and deceptive online ads, including: cleaning products, hand sanitizers, other items in high demand – these items may be expired and/or dangerous to your health
- Online claims to determine whether or not you have COVID 19 – there is only one sure way to know and that is a medical test from a registered health care provider.
- Canadian Government has authorized one vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in Canada: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
- Canadian Government has also NOT approved any disinfectant products with claims specific to COVID-19. However, authorized disinfectant products can make a claim of broad spectrum of activity against viruses if they meet specific evidence standards. The following antiseptic/antibacterial skin cleansers or hand sanitizers meet Health Canada’s requirements and are authorized for sale in Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19/hand-sanitizer.html (note this doesn’t constitute an endorsement of these products)
- The Government encourages anyone who has information regarding potential non-compliant sale or advertising of any health product claiming to treat, prevent or cure COVID-19, to report it using the online complaint form.