COVID-19 Update: March 16

Mar 16, 2020

March 16 Update
COVID-19 and Ontario Museums

Please see below for collected information and resources regarding the novel coronavirus and its impacts for Ontario museums. These resources are not to be taken as legal advice or a definitive answer for any particular museum, but rather as a guide for preparedness for the field. We encourage members to consult relevant policies & legislation. 

The health and safety of our visitors, communities, and staff are a priority for our institutions. The OMA encourages all to exercise caution and act in alignment with the recommendations of public health and government authorities. 

The OMA is in touch with stakeholders to support our members, and will provide updates regularly as the situation progresses.

If COVID-19 is changing the way your museum works, please reach out to us at
Provincial News
Full Ontario Budget Delayed until Fall 2020
Province to release a "realistic, one-year outlook" on March 25
The Honourable Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, announced March 16 that the province would delay releasing the full Ontario Budget for 2020 until the fall due to rapid changes and impacts of COVID-19. The province will instead provide a fiscal update on March 25, which was the originally-scheduled date for the release of Budget 2020. 

Read more from the CBC HERE. 
Province Proposes Legislation to Support Workers Affected by COVID-19
Today, Premier Doug Ford and the Honourable Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, announced that the government intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would immediately provide provide job protection for employees unable to work for the following reasons:
  • The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19
  • The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
  • The employer directs the employee not to work.
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.·    
The proposed legislation would also make it clear that an employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave.

Read more HERE.
Government Resources regarding
  • Ontario Ministry of Health dedicated website (updated twice daily): HERE 
    • General COVID-19 Information Sheets (available in multiple languages)HERE
  • Public Health OntarioHERE 
  • Health CanadaHERE
Your local or regional government or health unit websites can also provide credible local information. 
Federal News
Immediate Access to Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits 

Service Canada is ready to support Canadians affected by COVID-19 and placed in quarantine, with the following support actions:
  • The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim.
  • Establishing a new dedicated toll-free phone number to support enquiries related to waiving the EI sickness benefits waiting period.
  • Priority EI application processing for EI sickness claims for clients under quarantine.
Read more HERE.
Business Continuity
  • Discounted remote working software for non-profits from TechSoup HERE.
Digital Outreach During Closures

Digital tools can allow museums to reach out to audiences despite closures and social distancing practices. Some Ontario examples are below:

  • St. Catharines Museum will post activities on their Facebook Page HERE.  
  • Bata Shoe Museum is releasing daily colouring sheets on their website HERE. 
  • Brockville Museum highlighted their digital collections on Twitter HERE. 
  • Osgoode Township Museum offered "to-go" kits of activities that had been prepared for March Break
  • Bytown Museum showcased their virtual tour HERE.

Several Ontario museums are also available for 3D virtual tours, including:

Please also consult the Resources section of the OMA website HERE. 
For Information On...
  • Personal Preparedness
  • Preparing for Public Gatherings
  • Collections & Facilities Care
  • Human Resources & Business Continuity Planning
  • Emergency Preparedness & Risk Management


We're Here to Help!

For all questions or inquiries please contact the OMA: or call 416-348-8672 / 1-866-662-8672.