GTA

Toronto grants 60-day grace period on property tax, utility bills amid COVID-19 outbreak

Toronto residents will have an extra 60 days to pay property tax, water and solid waste utility bills, the city said Friday as it tries to limit economic fallout from measures to contain COVID-19.

Mayor John Tory’s office said in a statement that the grace period is retroactive to March 16.

Similarly, a 30-day extension offered earlier this week to businesses on tax and utility payments has also been pushed to 60 days.

“This will ensure that resident and businesses who find themselves facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can defer their next property tax instalment without penalty,” Tory’s office said. Property tax accounts will be “adjusted as necessary” to reflect the relief measures, it added.

There are currently 258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, including two deaths and five cases that are considered resolved.

Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, said Thursday afternoon that 128 of the province’s cases are in the city. Eleven of those patients are being treated in hospital, while the rest are at home in self-isolation, she said.

Updated numbers are expected from the province around 10:30 a.m. ET, and again at 5:30 p.m.

And at 12:30 p.m., Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce will make a joint announcement at Queen’s Park. Earlier this month, Lecce issued a ministerial order to close all publicly-funded schools in the province until April 3.

4 cases in Oshawa long-term care home

Meanwhile, regional health officials in Durham say that four residents of the Hillsdale Terraces long-term care facility in Oshawa tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this week.

The patients include two women, ages 92 and 80, and two men, ages 71 and 68. All are currently being treated in two separate wards of the home, officials said, and they will remain there for the duration of their recoveries.

Ontario health authorities have not confirmed whether the four cases at the home were included in the updated tally provided yesterday.

COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities have proven especially deadly. In B.C., seven residents of the Lynn Valley Care Centre Lodge in North Vancouver have died from the respiratory illness.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials have linked 35 deaths to the spread of COVID-19 at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash.

CBC

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