Ontario parents can soon apply for second COVID-19 payout, should receive it before holidays

Ontario parents will soon be able to apply for their next COVID-19 cheque from the provincial government and should receive the funds before the holidays.

On Friday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the application portal to receive the second payout will open “within the next week.”

“It’s part of a broader effort to get money in the pockets of parents ahead of the holidays,” he said. “We know it’s tough. We are going to be there for parents and for the kids.”

The second payment was initially announced when the province tabled its budget earlier this month.

Parents of children aged 12 or younger will again be able to receive a one-time payment of $200 per child, and $250 for children 21 years of age or younger with special education needs.

This is the second payout from the province to Ontario families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first payout came in the spring.

The payments are meant as “a measure of relief” for those affected by outbreaks of the disease in schools and for those choosing to learn at home.

The government will spend $380 million on the second payout to parents, on top of the $378 million from the first round.

Last week, the province announced that Ontario schools will not have an extended winter break.

On Friday, Lecce said the government is doing everything possible to keep students, staff and parents safe amid the second wave of the disease.

“The chief medical officer of health made a determination that at this time (an extended winter break) is not required,” Lecce said. “His belief is that our schools remain fundamentally safe, with 99.9 per cent of kids in the province COVID-19 free.”

“If the circumstances change – as you know, I acted to close schools, the first in the country, and I obviously will act to add new layers of prevention, or take additional recommendations from public health.”

Premier Doug Ford and Lecce announced on Thursday that students at participating schools in Ontario COVID-19 hot spots will be able to get tested for the disease regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.

As of Friday, 4,470 lab-confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Ontario schools. There are 671 schools across the province that have reported an infection and six of those schools currently remain closed.