Resource List to Support the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) guide provides a list of resources to support community members to access: public health information; federal benefits; culture-based supports; education resources; and recreation, training, and entertainment.
Ontario News About COVID-19
● Direct link to news releases and statements from the Government of Ontario.
Ontario Ministry of Health: Information on COVID-19
● This resource provides updates on the status of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, information on the evolving situation and provincial responses to the pandemic.
Public Health Unit (PHU) and Assessment Centre on COVID-19
● Information provided by Ontario Medical Association and based on cases identified by the Ministry of Health.
Government of Canada: Updated COVID-19 outbreak information
● Information on COVID-19 cases across Canada and news releases from the Government of Canada.
Indigenous Services Canada and COVID-19
● Updated resources and information from Indigenous Services Canada. There are announcements also available in Indigenous languages.
● If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.
Ministry of Health – Guidance for the Health Sector
● Guidance documents on COVID-19 have been produced for a number of health and other sectors.
● Get free medical advice through Telehealth Ontario at: 1-866-797-0000 1-866-797-0007
● Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service available through phone and TTY to receive health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
● If you have questions about COVID-19, please take the self assessment to determine if further care is needed before calling Telehealth Ontario.
Talk 4 Healing
● A culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women, available in 14 languages all across Ontario.
Kids Help Phone
● 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT 68686
● Tip sheet on talking to kids about COVID-19 and its impacts
Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line
● LGBT Youth Line is a Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit youth led-organization that offers anonymous peer support, referrals and resources for youth (29 and under) across Ontario. Services are available through phone*, chat, and email. * Phone services only are suspended during COVID-19 crisis.
ONTX – Ontario’s Online Text and Crisis Service
● Live Chat and Text with a trained empathetic responder that is safe, confidential and one-on-one. Responders are available for all issues related to distress, crisis and suicidal thoughts, prevention and intervention (Hours: 2 PM to 2 AM).
● Free, confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with gambling, alcohol/drugs and mental health. Services are available through phone, chat and email.
Assaulted Women’s Helpline
● GTA: 416-863-0511
● Offers 24/7 telephone and TTY crisis line to all women who have experienced abuse. They provide counselling, emotional support, information and referrals.
Senior Safety Line
● Seniors Safety Line 1-866-299-1011
● Provides contact and referral information for local agencies across the province that can assist in cases of elder abuse. Trained counsellors provide safety planning and supportive counselling for older adults who are being abused or at-risk of abuse. Family members and service providers can call for information about community services.
● A free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Bounce Back is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness.
● Helpline and Online database for Ontario’s community and social services. 211 is answered and updated by trained specialists.
Oji-Cree Syllabics Information Sheets on COVID-19
● Links to information sheets in bottom right column
World Health Organisation: Helping kids cope with stress
● Tip sheet on how to help kids cope with stress during COVID-19
World Health Organization: Coping with stress
● Tip sheet on how to help individuals cope with stress during COVID-19
How to Self Isolate due to COVID-19
● Public Health Ontario two-page guide
Self-isolation: Guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts
● Public Health Ontario two-page guide
When and How to Wear a Mask
● Public Health Ontario Recommendations for the General Public
How to Self-Monitor for COVID-19
● Public Health Ontario one-page guide on how to self-monitor
How to Wash your Hands
● Public Health Ontario Guide
Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings
● Public Health Ontario guidance on cleaning and disinfection of public settings including schools, transit, universities, and other workplaces.
Physical Distancing Poster
● Stay home and practice social distancing poster
Protect Yourself and Others Poster
● Poster listing top tips for protecting yourself and others during COVID-19
Immune and Respiratory Herbs: A Resource for Tribal Communities During COVID19
● Resource on traditional medicines
COVID Ready Communication Playbook
● Practical advice on how to talk about difficult topics related to COVID-19.
Ontario Palliative Care Network resources to support frontline providers to be prepared, supported and empowered to provide primary level palliative care:
● Palliative Care Toolkit
● Person-Centred Decision-Making Guide
● Approaches to Goals of Care Discussions Guide
● Making Decisions About your Care: Patient Resource
● Advance Care Planning: Workbook and Goals of Care, and Treatment Decisions Guide
● Centre for Loss’ Guide on How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus Pandemic
COVID-19 Guidance: Emergency Childcare Centres
● Critical health information and tips for emergency child care providers
Ontario Child Care for Health Care and Frontline Staff
● General information about emergency child care provision and identification of local providers
Provincial COVID-19 Emergency Assistance:
● Funding administered through the Ontario Works program will assist individuals experiencing financial difficulty who do not qualify, or who are awaiting federal benefits, through an expanded Emergency Assistance program. This includes assistance for necessities such as food, rent, informal child care and transportation, among others. Individuals can apply here.
Canada’s Economic Response Plan
● Filing a tax return allows individuals and families to unlock access to new federal and provincial benefits that have been announced as part of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
○ The government will provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) to those who need it most.
○ The government will be increasing the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit – (CCB) payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year.
○ Individuals experiencing financial difficulty should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral, which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
● To access these funds, individuals must have an account and online banking (with direct deposit) set up. It will be helpful if Friendship Centres can support individuals to set up their accounts now so that money can be deposited without delay in April.
● For workers without paid sick leave or for those who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), the government has announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The benefit will provide individuals with income support payments amount to approximately $2,000 a month for four months.
○ The CERB will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
● Tax filing season has been extended from April 30 to June 1, 2020.
● Volunteer tax preparation clinics in your community are listed online here. At this time, clinics may be postponed, but Friendship Centres may be able to connect with volunteers to coordinate opportunities for virtual supports.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
For Employers – the federal government has announced the launch of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program – a 75 per cent wage subsidy open to businesses, charities, and non-profits (with the exception of non-taxable corporations and public sector entities like municipalities, public schools and hospitals) that demonstrate a 30 per cent drop in revenue in March, April, or May, when compared to the same month in 2019. The subsidy is aimed at helping employers to keep core staff on their payroll by re-hiring workers who were previously laid off and keeping current employees on payroll.
Financial Support for Families
● Parents, guardians, and caregivers can apply for direct one-time funding to offset the cost of buying materials to support their children’s learning, while they practice self-isolation and physical distancing.
● Eligible parents will receive a one-time per child payment of:
○ $200 for children aged 0 to 12
○ $250 for children or youth aged 0 to 21 with special needs
Talking to your anxious child about COVID-19
● Children’s Mental Health Ontario
Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19
● Resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
● Canadian Paediatric Society’s Caring for Kids website
How to talk with children about COVID-19? Be “realistically reassuring”
● Canadian Paediatric Society: Blog post
COVID-19 and Indigenous Communities: Family Conversations
● A Social Policy Brief from the Yellowhead Institute – Indigenous Policy Thinktank
Traditional Indigenous Kinship Practices at Home: Child-Centred During the Pandemic
● Indigenous Motherhood Blog Post
Healthy Parenting: COVID-19 advice for the public
● Resource guide from the World Health Organization (WHO)
Tips and tricks to help adolescents cope during the COVID-19 pandemic
● Adolescent medicine team of CHU Ste-Justine, Montreal, Quebec
Anxiety in Youth
● Resources for youth by Anxiety Canada
Mindfulness for Teens
● Resources for teenagers from Mindfulness for Teens
How to help youth tackle the blues during COVID-19 and #physicaldistancing
● Erin Romanchych, clinical psychologist; Dr. Daphne Korczak, Chair, Mental Health Task Force
COVID-19: Info for parents of immunocompromised children and children with chronic medical conditions
● Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
Children with immune suppression
● BC Centre for Disease Control
Asthma and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Q&A
● Asthma Canada
Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services
● Housing for Indigenous people across Ontario (excludes GTA) – Rentals, Homeownership, Home Repair
● Website: https://www.ontarioaboriginalhousing.ca
● Toll Free: 1-866-391-1061
● Email: email@example.com
● Maintenance Line for existing tenants: 1-866-391-1061 ext. 115
● Rental Applications: 1-866-391-1061 ext. 219 or ext. 225
CMHC Loan Deferral:
Effective March 16, CMHC has begun providing up to six months of loan payment deferral (principal and interest) for borrowers that have a CMHC financed loan in good standing. For housing providers, CMHC expects that borrowers exercising this option will extend support to renters and households so that their housing needs continue to be met. For more information on this measure, contact your local CMHC specialist.
Association of Municipalities of Ontario – COVID-19 Resources
● Resources and news developed by AMO to keep member municipalities up to date during this fluid situation.
Ontario Municipal Social Services Association – COVID-19 Updates and Resources
● OMSSA is proactively sharing information and ensuring their member service managers are connected to information and resources around COVID-19.
● Ontario is providing $148M to municipalities and service managers in social services relief funding to protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable populations, including the homeless, low-income individuals and others who use social services. Service managers administer the funding to local service providers by determining local needs, as well as purchase necessary goods and services, through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHPI).
Special Priority Policy: Emergency Housing for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking
● All service managers and District Social Service Administration Boards are required to enact a Special Priority Policy for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. This is an application-based process, either available online or by contacting the local service manager directly.
● Approved applications are moved to the top of the social housing waitlist.
● If someone is unable to fill out the paperwork due to violence and social isolation, call and write to the service manager in order to find a work around, emphasizing the threat to immediate safety.
● NOTE: Application requirements should be reviewed in advance of filling out the application with someone who is at risk as there are limitations to the policy.
To inquire about funding and the SPP application, reach out to your local service manager. The OFIFC can support Friendship Centres to inquire about these resources.
Adult Education Online
● Free Online Education for Adults in Ontario:
● Online learning and training opportunities offered through Contact North:
● Course: Surviving and thriving at home during COVID-19: https://studyonline.ca/course/surviving-and-thriving-home-during-covid-19
Community Legal Education Ontario
● COVID-19: Updates on the law and legal services – as well as answers to questions about changes to government programs and court services: https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19
Ontario Court of Justice
● COVID-19 Notices and Updates: https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/covid-19/
Correctional Service Updates on COVID-19:
● Provincially: https://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Corrections/CorrectionalServicesUpdat eCOVID19.html
● Federally: https://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/001/006/001006-1003-en.shtml
Legal Aid Ontario COVID-19 Updates:
● Toll-free number remains open to provide legal assistance 1-800-668-8258 (Monday to Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm)
● Updates to client services:
● For the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, some of LAO’s policies regarding legal and financial eligibility (excluding appellate matters) will be temporarily changed to allow for LAO to quickly help people at heightened risk. As of March 24, 2020, you can speak to Duty Counsel about your criminal matter over the phone without having to qualify.
● Legal and financial eligibility testing will be waived for the following:
○ Criminal defence certificates for in-custody accused (excluding homicide)
○ Summary legal advice
○ Child, Youth, and Family Services Act matters
○ Psychiatric patients seeking assistance for CCB and ORB matters
○ Victims of domestic abuse who are seeking family court assistance including initial motion to change proceedings
● For ongoing updates please review LAO’s website:
Law Society of Ontario’s Emergency Family Law Referral Telephone Line:
This telephone line provides assistance to people who are self-represented and who are trying to determine whether or not their family court matter meets the criteria to be heard by the court on an ‘urgent’ basis. The emergency service will connect self-represented individuals with family lawyers, working on a pro bono basis, who will provide 30 minutes of legal advice specific to determining whether or not their family court matter is urgent and provide referrals to other available legal services.
● Please call 1-855-947-5255, Monday to Friday, between 9am to 5pm or visit https://lso.ca/news-events/news/corporate-statement-re-covid-19
The Victim Quick Response Program Plus (VQRP+) will respond to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and enhance access to immediate support for victims, including extended hotels stays, transportation and meal vouchers available through designated victim service providers. If you would like to talk with an information and referral counsellor, please call the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888 or visit:http://services.findhelp.ca/eng/#results:m=TOPICS&q=P9
The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking’s National Hotline will have temporary operational hours from Monday to Friday, 11:00am to 7:00pm EST.
● Call 911 in an emergency situation. To find local services, please access the online Referral Directory:https://www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca/referral-directory/
Learn-At-Home Program Ontario
● Information about Ontario’s Learn-At-Home program including supplementary resources for teachers and students to practice math and literacy skills
● Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Resources at home (all ages)
● TVO – Free 1-on-1 Online Math Tutoring with OCT Teachers (grades 6-10)
● Fun resource for learning math (grade 1-8)
Math Knowledge Network
● Indigenous Knowledge and Mathematics Community of Practice
● Science World supports growing education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
Canada Learning Code
● Lesson plans in coding (all ages)
● curriculum documents spanning Kindergarten to Grade 12. The achievement charts provide guidelines for assessing students’ work.
Indigenous Studies Curriculum
● Government of Ontario Indigenous Studies Curriculum
Standing Rock Syllabus
● This syllabus brings together the work of Indigenous and allied activists and scholars: anthropologists, historians, environmental scientists, and legal scholars
Idle No More Webinars
● Access Idle No More webinars online
National Museum of the American Indian
● Native Knowledge 360° provides educators and students with information on Indigenous history and contemporary culture.
Indigenous Language Learning Online Resources
● Extensive list of Indigenous language learning and teaching resources
National Film Board: Indigenous Cinema
● Over 200 films by Indigenous creators are available for free streaming on NFB’s Indigenous Cinema page:
Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists
● Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists explores the artistic achievements of Native women and establishes their rightful place in the art world
Urban Indigenous Proud
● OFIFC and the National Film Board of Canada Film Series
● Permission to use by artist Patrick Hunter
Virtual Museum Tours
● Virtual museum and art gallery tours
Kids National Geographic
● Games, homework help resources, experiments, quizzes, and more.
● Illustrated recipe picture books that get kid chefs excited about cooking
● Videos of adults reading stories for kids (high quality)
● Fun and Educational Activities, Great database of high quality virtual events
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network – Kids
● APTN Kids – Indigenous programming for children
● Free Audiobooks
Harry Potter at Home Online Platform
● An online platform for younger children to explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – independently or reading and listening together with their families
Additional Community Information and Practical Resources
COVID-19 Toronto Resource Map
Washrooms, Showers, Take Away Meals, Assessment Centres and more.
Reduce the spread of COVID-19
WASH YOUR HANDS
This children’s storybook is a re-telling of My Hero is You, developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG). An intertribal workgroup convened to re-write this story and create illustrations that represent Indigenous peoples, values, and communities. The adapted story seeks to reach Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island and portray a sense of communal efficacy, strength and hope in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to the Johns Hopkins University Alliance for a Healthier World.