COVID-19: What you need to know for March 20 — morning edition

The latest coronavirus updates from across the province
By staff - Published on Mar 20, 2020


X reporters and editors are tracking stories about the coronavirus pandemic in all regions of the province. Here's what Ontarians need to know. 


  • CTV News is reporting that the Doug Ford government will be leaning on TVO to provide educational daytime programming for children out of school during the emergency. Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, and Education Minister Stephen Lecce have a news conference scheduled for 12:30 p.m today at Queen's Park.

  • The Canadian Union of Public Employees has announced that Air Canada has temporarily laid off approximately 5,000 flight attendants working for Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge. The layoffs are effective immediately and will last until April 30. 

  • President of the Treasury Board Peter Bethlenfalvy announced last night that he is in self-isolation and has been tested for COVID-19 after developing what he called "mild symptoms."

  • The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario has launched the #TogetherWeCanDoIt campaign and is asking Ontario residents to cheer on health providers from their doorstep (or open window) every night at 7:30 p.m.

  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has established a webpage "designed to help people with concerns and questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives and mental well-being."

Greater Toronto Area


  • Indigenous Services Canada put out an update regarding the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program indicating that it is still offering benefits and services. It asks for patience given long wait times. 

  • The Chiefs of Ontario have released a memorandum about office closures.

  • The Assembly of Seven Generations has moved its programming online; it will be offering a weekly virtual Anishinaabemowin class.

  • Indigenous Climate Action has released a list of resources for Indigenous people.


  • Porcupine Health Unit yesterday recorded the first COVID-19 case in its region: a man in his fifties returned to Timmins after international travel and started experiencing symptoms on March 17.

  • Further closures in Sault Ste. Marie include the civic centre, the cemetery funeral office, public works, city clerk's office, the legal department, and Provincial Offenses.  Buses are operating, but rear-entry only. 
  • Both North Bay and Sudbury have introduced rear-door entry for buses and waived transit fees. 
  • In Sudbury, Tom Davies Square and the 199 Larch Street building will be temporarily closed to the public. Access to Ontario Works, housing registry, building services (permits), planning services (rezoning applications), and bylaw services for businesses are available by appointment only. Late payments for the April 2 tax due date will not attract interest or late payment penalties until June 4.

  • Fort Frances has declared a state of emergency.



  • Chatham-Kent has closed its service centres in the municipality, but the civic centre and the Service Ontario office remain open on an appointment basis.

  • Western University announced yesterday that its medical school has received just under $1 million in federal funding to develop and test a vaccine for COVID-19. The university will also develop a "vaccine bank" to contain vaccines in the case of another corronavirus outbreak. The funding comes from $25.6 million in federal funding for 50 projects to address the virus.

  • Seniors in a north London retirement residence are being told by the facility's owner that they'll have to arrange for their own food, CBC London reports. Sifton Properties told residents Tuesday that it was shutting the residence's kitchen and dining room down to comply with the provincial government's call to shut down restaurants and limit social gatherings. The meals were included in residents' rent. The company plans to reimburse $156 for 10 meals and notes that residents do have kitchens in their apartments and that the meals it offered were supplemental.
  • Toyota Manufacturing Canada announced yesterday that it will resume production on April 6. The company operates plants in Cambridge and Woodstock. The closure came after one employee in Cambridge tested positive for COVID-19.

  • The Hiram Walker and Sons distillery in Windsor announced Thursday it will begin making hand sanitizer. The sanitizer will be added to the company's production line and donated as needed in Windsor and to the TTC in Toronto.

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