If you are in an emergency situation or would like more information regarding the $5000 emergency loan program, please contact the 24/7Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where possible) or send an e-mail to  sos@international.gc.ca 

Global Affairs continues to encourage Canadians outside of the country to register in the Registry of Canadians Abroad. This way the Government of Canada will know there are Canadians abroad and this will allow our Embassies and Consulates to get in touch and share important updates with travellers: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration

NEW  Essential Workplaces in Ontario

NEW  Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19): Awareness Resources

NEW  Ontario Together: Help Fight Coronavirus

NEW  Outbreak updates from the Government of Canada

NEW  Mortgage Deferrals: Banks are encouraging customers to visit their websites for the latest information, rather than calling or visiting a branch.

NEW  Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit: 

Situation Summary – as of March 23, 2020 5:00 p.m.

On March 23 Premier Ford ordered the mandatory closing of all non-essential businesses. Highlights are below: (read full statement here).

  • Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt.
  • Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.
  • A 1-800 number and website will be made available on March 25 for any inquiries.
  • These new orders are in addition to those that are part of the state of emergency declared in Ontario on March 17 ,2020 and that will remain in place until March 31, 2020. (read full statement here).

The Ministry of Health updates the status of cases in Ontario daily at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Status of Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit cases updated daily Mon – Fri.

For tips, recommendations and guidelines on what households, communities, organizations and businesses should do to stay healthy and to cope with the disruptions that are taking place to normal life, visit our What you can do page.

Q: What if I’m showing symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

A:  For help in determining if you should seek-out medical care, please use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment 


    • If advised to proceed for further medical screening, per the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit:

“In order to meet the growing needs of area residents with medical concerns related to COVID-19, a dedicated assessment centre has been opened at 490 Huronia Road, Barrie. The assessment centre is located in the rear building of the Eagle Ridge complex and is NOT at the Huronia Urgent Care Clinic.

Q: I’m returning to Canada from abroad.  What do I need to know?


  • Those who are returning to Canada are advised to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor symptoms.
  • “Self-isolating means staying at home when you are sick with COVID-19 and avoiding contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease to others in your home and your community…”  Read More… 

Q: I have travel planned in the coming days or weeks.  Should I cancel or change my plans due to COVID-19?

A:  Both provincial and federal health officials have issued advice to all Canadians to avoid or cancel all international travel. Many airlines have waived change fees. Health officials are also requesting Canadians arriving back from international travel to self-isolate for 14 days.

Q: I am currently outside of Canada.  Should I return home earlier than planned?

A:  The Government of Canada is advising Canadians to:

    • Find out what commercial options are still available to return to Canada. Consider returning to Canada earlier than planned if these options are becoming more limited.
    • Ensure that you have significant finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted.

Q: I am outside of Canada impacted by travel bans.  What can I do?

A: Canadians travelling outside of Canada in need of emergency consular assistance can contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1-613-996-8885 (call collect if available) or through email at sos@international.gc.ca.

Q: Where can I get the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and actions being taken to protect the health of Ontarians?

A:  For local updates in the Simcoe-Muskoka region, please refer to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s COVID-19 page at: Simcoe Muskoka District Health Authority COVID-19 Updates

Q: I own a small business. Will there be financial support for small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

A: Yes.  The federal government has announced a series of support measures for small businesses in both the short and longer term.

    • “…To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer…”  Canada’s Economic Response Plan- Business
    • “For over 12 million low- and modest-income families, who may require additional help with their finances, the Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year…”  Canada.ca – Income Support for Businesses
    • “…The Government of Canada will also introduce enhancements to the Work-Sharing Program at an estimated cost of $12 million to help employers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, and their workers…”  Canada.ca – Income Support for Workers

Q: I am unsure if I am eligible for EI.  If I stay home from work, will I receive EI support?

A: Yes.  The federal government has announced measures for workers who do not qualify for EI. 

  • “…Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment…”  Read More…
  • “…If you are directly affected by the COVID-19 because you are sick or quarantined and you have not yet applied for EI benefits, please submit your application before contactingus. This will allow us to better serve you and prevent delays in establishing your claim…”  Canada.ca – EI Sickness Benefits
  • “…In Canada, federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance are closely monitoring the spread of the virus and its impact on Canadian jobs, workers, entrepreneurs, and economic growth. As the channels of impact become clearer, the Government of Canada will be ready to take action to support affected workers and businesses, where and when appropriate…” Canada.ca – Economic Resilience

Q: Ontario has declared a state of emergency.  What does this mean?

A: From Ontario.ca:

The province has enacted a declaration of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public.

As a result, the following establishments are required to close immediately:

  • all bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout and food delivery
  • all facilities providing indoor recreational programs
  • all public libraries
  • all private schools
  • all licensed child care centres
  • all movie cinemas
  • all theatres, including those offering live performances of music, dance and other art forms
  • all concert venues

Additionally, all organized public events of over 50 people are prohibited, including parades, events and communal services within places of worship.

These orders will remain in place until March 31, 2020, when the province will reassess for an extension or end the closures.”

Q: What is the difference between self-monitoring, self-isolation and isolation?