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Coronavirus: Ontario government announces additional relief to most vulnerable

WATCH ABOVE: Premier Doug Ford makes announcement on more funding for vulnerable citizens on Tuesday (April 21, 2020).

The Ontario government announced it is investing $11 million for vulnerable citizens such as seniors and people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The money will help deliver meals, medicine, and other essentials to those in need, and include doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments, the province said.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement on Tuesday alongside, Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Long-term Care Merrilee Fullerton and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Toronto officials call for provincial pandemic plan for shelters to avoid ‘mass outbreaks’

The provincial government said it is working with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing “meals on wheels” services to reach vulnerable citizens.

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“As we face some of the darkest times in our province’s history, we have a duty to protect and care for the most vulnerable in our society,” Ford said. “Our seniors and people with disabilities are the most at risk during this crisis, and we must go above and beyond to ensure they get financial relief, food, medicine and other essentials without delay.”

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The province also said it will be issuing the first doubled GAINS payments this week.

“Individuals will receive up to $166 per month and couples will receive up to $332 per month. These doubled payments will continue for six months and provide an additional $75 million to 194,000 vulnerable seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak,” officials said.

The province also announced it is investing $40 million in the “Residential Relief Fund” which will assist developmental services, child welfare, victims shelters, and organizations delivering social services to First Nations.

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“In addition, the government is providing $148 million to municipal partners that administer social services with funding to support the province’s most vulnerable as part of the province’s $200 million in social services relief funding in response to COVID-19,” they added.

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