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FirstOntario & COVID-19

  • Covid-19

COVID-19: Message from our CEO, Lloyd Smith - Latest Update

For more than 80 years, FirstOntario has been helping Members get through the good times and the bad and now, we’re facing the challenges of COVID-19.

As the situation continues to evolve, FirstOntario is responding and adapting. We’re going to get through this together.

Branch hour changes

We have decided to further reduce branch hours at FirstOntario locations. Effective Monday, March 23, branch hours will be:

  • 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday

VIEW THE STATUS OF BRANCHES

We're here to help

If you need extra support during these uncertain times, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Federal Government’s New Small Business Relief Program - March 31, 2020

Small businesses are critical to the health of the Canadian economy. The Federal Government’s Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) offers support to businesses affected by the impact of COVID-19.


One of the supports that will become available as part of this relief package is interest-free loans of up to $40,000, to help cover operating costs for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.


FirstOntario is awaiting details from the government on how to implement this new small business relief program. Until we receive this information, we are unable to begin the loan application process with Members. We expect to have more information soon and are committed to making these funds available as quickly as we can.


FirstOntario is here to help our business Members through these unprecedented times. Check our website for the latest information. We will provide updates on this relief program to keep you informed.  

COVID-19 FAQs

​What is FirstOntario doing to protect against COVID-19?

FirstOntario is actively following developments of COVID-19 by closely monitoring updates from public health and government agencies. We've taken numerous precautions to keep our Members and employees safe, including deeper cleanings and additional sanitizer stations available at every branch. Branch hours have been reduced and some branches are closed temporarily. 

Click here to see status of branches.

​What role do Members play?

Members play a role in helping us keep our operations healthy and safe. Here’s what you can do to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19:

  • If you’re not feeling well, are experiencing any symptoms or if you have recently travelled internationally, please avoid coming into a branch.
  • Make use of online and mobile banking services and our Member Solutions Centre at 1-800-616-8878 or 905-685-5555.
  • If it is essential that you visit a branch, please be sure to use hand sanitizing stations, maintain good hygiene practices and keep a safe distance away from others.

​Where can I get the latest news regarding COVID-19 and FirstOntario?

Please stay tuned to our website for the most up-to-date news and information. You can also find updates on TwitterFacebook and Linkedin.

​What if branches close, how can I get my banking done?

Our Member Solutions Centre at 1-800-616-8878 or 905-685-5555, ​Personal Assisted Teller (PAT) and ATM machines are open for business. PAT machines offer virtual service representatives through extended hours and give you access to the same transactions and services you would receive in branches.  

You can also take advantage of our online and mobile banking services – available 24/7 – to bank from the comfort of home. Check account balances and transaction history, send money, pay bills, deposit cheques and more. Download our mobile app now or contact our Member Solutions Centre at 1-800-616-8878 during regular business hours to set up online banking.

Visit Ways to Bank for more details.

​I am worried about how COVID-19 will affect me financially, what can I do?

We understand some of our Members may experience financial impacts as a result of COVID-19. We’re here for you and ask that you contact your local branch or our Member Solutions Centre at 1-800-616-8878 or 905-685-5555 as soon as possible so we can discuss your situation and the possible ways we can assist you. 

You can also visit our website to confirm the type of financial support you need by completing and submitting a form to begin the process:

​Does my FirstOntario Visa card have trip cancellation insurance?

FirstOntario Travel, U.S. Dollar and Infinite Visa cards have travel insurance if you used the card to pay for your travel. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions of your agreement for details. If you have more questions, please contact Collabria at 1-855-341-4643 or email info@collabriacreditcards.ca.

​Why isn’t FirstOntario closing all branches to fight the spread of COVID-19?

The health and safety of our Members and employees is a top priority. We are monitoring advice from public health officials very closely, and are responding with extra caution. We will continue to monitor our day-to-day operations and will always consider safety first. We have a responsibility to serve our Members and support their financial needs the best way we can. If and when changes are needed, we will do what is best for our staff and our Members.

​Is my money safe with FirstOntario?

FirstOntario is strong and stable and your money is protected. Your eligible deposits – up to $250,000 – are automatically insured by the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO) if they are held outside a registered plan. That’s $150,000 more than the banks offer. Coverage is unlimited if the investment is registered (RRSP, RRIF, RESP or TFSA). 

​I’ve called the Member Solutions Centre, why are wait times longer than usual?

Members are following the direction of public health authorities and staying home and practicing self-isolation and social distancing. That means more Members are using our Member Solutions Centre and online channels rather than branches. We appreciate your patience when calling in and ask that you remember you have other options such as online and mobile banking.

​Is it wise for me to withdraw a large amount of cash in case of emergencies?

Having a large amount of cash with you or at your home exposes you to greater risk. Your protection is important to us. At FirstOntario, your eligible deposits up to $250,000 are automatically insured by the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO) if they are held outside a registered plan. That’s $150,000 more than the banks offer. Coverage is unlimited if the investment is registered (RRSP, RRIF, RESP or TFSA). 

FirstOntario offers Members many ways to access your money when you need it, while keeping it safe. In addition to our other branches, you can access your money when using ATMs and our Personal Assisted Teller (PAT) machines, your FirstOntario debit card and Visa card.  

Trusted COVID-19 Information Sources

Covers general updates and recommendations for protecting your heath.

Provides updates from the federal government, preparation and prevention advice, as well as the latest travel advisories. 

A new site from the Ontario government offering updates, information and tips for Ontarians.

Ways to Bank

We're here to accommodate your needs.

Additional Announcements

Keep focused on your savings plan and goals during uncertain times.

You may understandably be concerned during times of market volatility, like we’re experiencing now as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). At times like this, it can help to remember that market declines are nothing new. 


Over the years, the ups and downs of the markets have shown that volatility is a normal part of the natural cycle and tend to be limited in duration.


Correctly predicting the times when markets will go up and the times they will go down is an extremely difficult, if not, impossible task. So what can you do? 

  1. Remember that it’s normal for the market to have ups and downs – it’s all part of the business cycle. 
  2. Stay the course and ride out volatility.  Having patience with your investments following market declines can be difficult but sticking to your long term plan generally benefits investors in the long run.   
  3. Investing is a personal decision. We are here to answer your questions and help navigate you through these fluctuations. 

Mutual funds are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc.  Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Credential Securities, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.  Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc.

Beware of scams related to COVID-19

Cybercriminals have been using the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic to launch phishing attacks and various other scams. As the public continues to seek out information on the pandemic, cybercriminals will increasingly try to exploit public fears with targeted attacks.


Be cautious of suspicious emails that reference some of the following: legitimate organizations like government agencies or public health, medical advice, corporate policies and business communication. Do not click on any attachments and do not share any financial or personal information.


Only use trusted sources for information related to COVID-19 like the World Health Organization and Public Health Agency of Canada. For more information on recent scams, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.