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COVID-19 Update: Updates from the City of Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON - Earlier today, Mayor Fred Eisenberger joined Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health, and the City’s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Director, Paul Johnson to update media and the community on the City’s response to COVID-19.

As of 9 am this morning, there are 314 confirmed cases, 5 probable cases, and 11 deaths from COVID-19 in Hamilton. More details about cases are available on the City’s website including demographics, risk factors, exposure, etc.

The public is reminded to stay home as much as possible. If you must go out, please practice physical distancing and maintain 2m or 6ft between yourself and others at all times.

City Declares State of Emergency

The provincial government declared a State of Emergency on March 17, 2020, to stop the spread of COVID-19. On April 16, 2020 the province issued an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to provide municipalities with the flexibility to deploy certain staff to where they are needed most. This order is a temporary measure and provides municipalities the authority to take any reasonable measure necessary to respond to COVID-19 with respect to internal work deployment. To exercise this authority as requested by the province, Mayor Eisenberger today declared an emergency in the City of Hamilton under section 4 of the EMCPA concurrent with this order.

COVID-19-related supports/updates from other levels of government

The provincial government is expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive emergency child care to help support additional frontline staff during the COVID-19 outbreak. An emergency order was issued which will offer support to those providing a variety of critical services including people who assist vulnerable communities, emergency response and law enforcement sector staff, more health and safety workers, and certain federal employees.

Staffing Impacts Due to COVID-19

This week, City of Hamilton staff presented City Council with a report that projected financial implications of COVID-19 on the City to the end of May 2020. The anticipated net financial impact on the City’s 2020 Operating Budget to the end of May is a $22.9M deficit.

The projected deficit consists of $20.2M of foregone revenue, with the majority of forecasted foregone revenues coming from transit, recreation, parking, Provincial Offences Act (POA) and Ontario Lottery and Gaming slots. There are $6.6M in additional costs in Public Health, Ontario Works and Housing Services, as well as many other City services, including additional cleaning and disinfectant costs, but they are partly offset by $4M in avoided costs, including funding from other levels of government.

In an effort to lessen the financial impact to the municipality and meet mandated provincial closures, as of May 5, 2020, the City of Hamilton is discontinuing the scheduling of hours of part-time employees performing work deemed non-essential. This accounts for approximately 1,200 part-time City employees and will provide an estimated savings of $250,000 per week.

Although part-time staff are distributed throughout the organization, the majority of impacted employees work in the Healthy & Safe Communities and Planning & Economic Development departments and support spring and summer programming, some of which has been cancelled for this year.

It is anticipated that many of these employees will qualify for existing and newly available government financial assistance programs related to COVID-19, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), to which the federal government recently announced expanded access and updated eligibility rules.

Staff will continue to review the ongoing financial implications of the City’s COVID-19 response and provide Council and the public with regular updates.

Temporary Leaf and Yard Collection Program

The City of Hamilton will start a temporary leaf and yard waste curbside collection program on Monday, April 20, 2020.

The City will collect leaf and yard waste bi-weekly, in alternating parts of the City. Beginning the week of April 20th, with the communities of Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek. Beginning the week of April 27th, yard waste will be collected from homes on the Hamilton mountain and across the lower city.

The bi-weekly rotation will continue until late June, or longer if required.

Residents should ensure their leaf and yard waste is at the curb by 7 am on Monday morning during the week of their pick up. City crews will pick up the bags or containers by the weekend.

This program change will help the City to manage reduced staffing levels resulting from the COVID-19 emergency. Residents are asked to please be patient with crews as we work to ensure leaf and yard waste collection can continue.

The City is continuing to pursue options for more waste collections staff, including training staff from other divisions.

There is no change to the collection of garbage, recycling, green cart or bulk pick up.

Yard waste Schedule and Map

Ongoing enforcement of physical distancing and gatherings

City of Hamilton By-law Officers continue to use a progressive enforcement approach to help residents understand the City’s new Physical Distancing by-law enacted last week that prohibits certain activities and regulates physical distancing during the COVID-19 emergency. While no charges were laid related to this by-law over the long weekend, it continues to be in effect and the fine for individuals is $500, which could increase to $10,000 for a serious offence and up to $25,000 for repeat offences. Corporations may receive a fine of up to $50,000 for a first serious offence and up to $100,000 for repeat offences.

Residents are reminded that gatherings of more than five (5) people are currently illegal in Ontario. This is true for private social family or religious gatherings, parades, weddings and other social gatherings and communal services within places of worship. Residents organizing or attending gatherings of more than five (5) people may be charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which carries a fine starting at $750. Hamilton Police and Hamilton Municipal Law Enforcement will be charging residents who do not abide by this law.

This law does not apply to private households with five of more people living in them.  

To report concerns:

  • Concern about a local business or public gatherings of 5+ people, without physical distancing: 905-546-2489 (546-CITY)
  • Business not following proper hygiene: 905-974-9848
  • Inquiring if a business is essential: 1-888-444-3659
  • Price-gouging reporting: 1-800-889-9768

Funding for social service providers and community organizations

The City will be allocating provincial funding to local social service providers and community organizations for COVID-19 services that support the ultimate goal of reducing community spread. The funding need has to have been generated by COVID-19 and would be needed by the requesting organization to continue to deliver critical services, hire additional staff and find ways to promote physical distancing and self-isolation to keep people safe and healthy. For more information about criteria and to access the application, visit and click on Learn more about Funding for Social Service Providers and Community Organizations.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donations

The City continues to accept donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). The equipment will be provided to essential service workers. The City is accepting surgical masks, N95 masks, impervious gowns, gloves, face shields, swabs and sanitizer. We are requesting these items from local healthcare providers, pest control, hospitality providers, nail salons and construction companies. Homemade equipment will not be accepted. To donate, please email [email protected] or call 905-546-2424 ext. 2257 and make an appointment for drop-off at a location in downtown Hamilton.

Transit reminders

The City is reminding residents that public transit is for essential travel only. Please do not take public transit to pass some time during the day, transit is for essential trips only, such as going to work or a medical appointment. The public is reminded to adhere to physical distancing measures, please do not sit in seats that have been blocked off to promote physical distancing.

We are also reminding customers that DARTS is now providing bus-stop to bus-stop service for HSR customers using wheelchairs, scooters and CNIB cardholders.

  • Call DARTS at 905-529-1717 at least one hour before the desired departure time, or up to two days in advance
  • Identify yourself as an HSR customer
  • Provide DARTS with a departure bus stop number and the desired time of pick-up
  • Provide DARTS with a final destination bus stop number (i.e.: exclude usual transfers)
  • Wait at the bus stop for a DARTS vehicle to arrive and provide your name, and show your CNIB card, if applicable, to the DARTS driver before you board


“Municipalities are facing a challenge unlike anything we have ever faced before. During this period of great uncertainty, discontinuing the scheduling of hours of part-time employees with positions deemed non-essential per the Provincial order was necessary to ensure critical City services remain in place throughout the pandemic. Affected employees will be provided with the resources and support required to help them through this difficult time. This was not an easy decision as all employees are valuable contributors to the work of the City.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger 

Additional Resources

Jasmine Graham
Senior Communications Officer
City of Hamilton
Phone 905-973-2829
Email [email protected]