2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal and Legal services update

We hope that everybody is as well as can be during these uncertain times.

In response to the spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), HALCO staff will not be meeting with clients in person and will not be participating in meetings and public legal education activities in person.

HALCO continues to stay open for intake for new inquiries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (9am-5pm), and staff continue to provide services to ongoing clients.

HALCO staff will be working from outside of the office during this time, and we ask that people not visit our office but contact us via phone (416-340-7790 / 1-888-705-8889).

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing, we will alter our approach as required. We will continue to take an evidence-based approach and fight against stigma/discrimination while working to address the concerns of equity-seeking groups, including people living with HIV, Indigenous persons, racialized individuals, and those with low incomes.

Below we provide information about our recent advocacy as well as updates on the evolving situation surrounding COVID-19. 

Links to current information

For updates on the law and legal services, please see the Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) Steps to Justice Website.

For other updates, please see the following:

Protecting the health of people in jail and detention centres

On March 17, 2020, HALCO, HIV Legal Network and Prisoners with HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN) called on Ontario and federal governments to take immediate action to protect the health of people in jail and detention centres.  Our letters can be found here.

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

The Government of Canada announced on March 18, 2020 that they are taking immediate action as a result of COVID-19.  A sample of these actions include:

  • temporary income support for workers and parents without paid sick leave
  • long term income support for those who lose their jobs or face reduced hours
  • one-time payment for low- and modest-income families
  • increase to the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment for the 2019-20 benefit year
  • funding to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities
  • six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans
  • funding to support people experiencing homelessness
  • funding to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres
  • reduction of required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020
  • measures relating to tax filings, including deferring this year’s due date to June 1

Evictions put on hold in Ontario

No new eviction orders will be issued in Ontario until further notice and enforcement of eviction orders for the week of March 16-20 is postponed. See here for more information.

Canadian border officials halt most deportations

See here for more information.

Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board

The Immigration and Refugee Board is postponing all in-person hearings (except detention reviews) and moving to video or telephone hearings. See here for more information.

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario postpone in person hearings

Tribunals including the Landlord and Tenant Board, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and Social Benefits Tribunal are postponing in person hearings and are considering alternatives such as written and telephone hearings. See here for more information.  


See below for more information:

The Ontario government also has information about Ontario tribunals and courts here.

During these uncertain times, we will continue to work with people living with HIV and others to bring about social, economic, and racial justice. 


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