One day after announcing a province-wide lockdown, the Ontario government said it’s expanding the Support for Learners program to include secondary school students and lowering electricity prices to a discounted off-peak rate 24/7 for all time-of-use and tiered customers.
“We are asking people to make greater sacrifices to help contain this deadly virus, whether that’s staying home or asking their employees to work from home where possible,” Ford said in a statement.
“In response, our government is providing people and businesses with additional financial relief to help them get through this very difficult period.”
In January 2021, students aged 13 through Grade 12 will be eligible for funding under an expanded Support for Learners program. Parents or guardians will receive a one-time payment of $200 per eligible student to help offset education expenses.
Support will be available for those who attend a public or private school or who are homeschooled.
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As part of the Provincewide Shutdown, elementary students will be studying virtually until Jan. 11, 2021. Secondary students in Southern Ontario will be studying virtually until Jan. 25, 2021.
Application instructions will be available on the Support for Learners web page starting in January 2021.
The province also announced that it will hold electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 centsperkilowatt-hour for all time-of-use and tiered customers on a temporary basis starting Jan. 1, 2021. The rate will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for a 28-day period.
The off-peak price will automatically be applied to bills of all residential, small business, and farm customers who pay regulated rates.
The province also says that families and businesses can get help with their energy bills through the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). Any residential, small business or registered charity customer with an overdue electricity or natural gas bill will now be eligible to apply.
A residential customer can receive up to $750 to help cover their electricity bill and an additional $750 for their natural gas bill. Small businesses can receive up to $1500 for each. Newly eligible customers can apply for these enhanced benefits through their local utility, starting in Jan. 2021.