Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

This guide provides you with 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.

 

LATEST PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL INFORMATION AND UPDATES: 

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.

 

HEALTH & MENTAL HEALTH:

COVID-19 Self-Assessment

  • 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.

Telehealth Ontario

  • 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 

  • 1-855-544-HEAL
  • A culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women, available in 14 languages all across Ontario.

Kids Help Phone 

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).

ConnexOntario

  • 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.

Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (iCBT) Program
The province of Ontario is promoting access to free online internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy supports. Through these programs, individuals can be guided through their client journey to find the appropriate supports they need. Two different programs are available:

  • Beacon Digital Therapy – a personalized, guided digital therapy that provides one-to-one supports from a registered therapist.
  • AbilitiCBT – an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program that you can access from any device, any time.

Bounce Back

  • 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.

Good2Talk

  • Good2Talk is a free, confidential service for post-secondary students in Ontario, available 24/7/365. By calling 1-866-925-5454, post-secondary students in Ontario can receive professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being.

University of Toronto free online class on mental health

  • A University of Toronto Psychology professor has created a free online course to manage mental health during COVID-19.

211 Ontario

  • 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

 

FRONTLINE COMMUNITY HEALTH RESOURCES: 

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

Public Health Ontario COVID-19 Resources: 

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.

Plain Language, Easy to Read COVID-19 Information Sheets

  • A number of posters about Coronavirus, social distancing, handwashing, and what to do if you get sick that are easy to read with visuals.

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

Indigenous Talk Tobacco Support Line

  • Talk Tobacco is a free, confidential telephone service offering culturally appropriate support and information about quitting smoking, vaping and commercial tobacco use. Call 1-833-998-8255 (TALK). Interpreter services are available in French and 14 Indigenous Languages.

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: 

 

ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN RESOURCES: 

World Health Organisation: COVID-19 and violence against women – what the health sector can do

  • Tips sheet on what can be done to address violence against women during the COVID-19 response

Staying Safe during COVID-19

  • Information on how COVID-19 could uniquely impact intimate partner violence survivors

Domestic Violence During a Pandemic

  • This episode of The Agenda explores the issue of domestic violence during a pandemic with Silvia Samsa, executive director of Women’s Habitat; Pamela Cross, legal director at Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre in Durham Region; and Katie Bortolin, program manager at Beendigen Anishinabe Women’s Crisis Home & Family Healing Agency.

Technology-Based Abuse

  • Information on how technology can be used by abusers to harass and harm individuals.

 

EMERGENCY CHILD CARE RESOURCES:

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 provider

 

ACCESSING BENEFITS: 

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.
  • Individuals can apply for these benefits starting in April via:

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.

  • The federal government has announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a taxable benefit providing individuals with income support payments of approximately $2,000 a month for four months.
    • The CERB is designed to support workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19 and are without paid sick leave; do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI); have recently exhausted their regular EI benefits; or are seasonal workers who cannot undertake their usual work and have exhausted their EI benefits.
    • Individuals are allowed to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
    • Individuals should apply for the CERB through either Service Canada or CRA, not both: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html
    • Individuals who applied for the CERB for the first four weeks it was available will need to reapply if they want to continue receiving payments.
  • 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.

Student Loans: 

  • A six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans and Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans has been instituted from March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020

Supports for Students and Recent Graduates: 

  • The federal government is introducing the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the CERB. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
  • Introducing the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities through volunteering, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
  • Creating up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills.

Emergency Community Support Fund:
The Government of Canada has announced a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to help community organizations adapt frontline services for vulnerable Canadians – such as seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth, LGBTQ2 people, Indigenous people and racialized people – to the challenges of COVID-19. Community organizations will be able to apply for funds through the websites of the United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and Community Foundations of Canada to learn more about how and when they will be able to apply.

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.

 

RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES:

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

 

HOUSING: 

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services

  • Toll Free: 1-866-391-1061
  • Email: info@oahssc.ca
  • 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.

Suspensions of Rental Evictions:
Tribunals Ontario will not issue any new eviction orders until further notice.

Guidance for homelessness service providers during COVID-19:

Information from Health Canada on how homelessness service providers can collaborate, share information, and plan with community leaders and Public Health Authorities to protect clients, staff, and the larger community during COVID-19. The guidance resource includes information on how to plan for, respond to, and recover from, a COVID-19 outbreak in your community.

Supportive commentary on the Guidance for homelessness service providers: 

The Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of People Experiencing Homelessness has prepared comments on Health Canada’s ‘Guidance for providers of services for people experiencing homelessness (in the context of COVID-19).’ The Commentary offers perspectives to guide the implementation of the Guidelines and future revisions.

Requesting Leadership and Support on Homelessness from Public Health Authorities

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness has prepared a resource that outlines actions that community leaders can ask or expect of their local Public Health Authorities in responding to COVID-19.

 

MUNICIPAL SERVICES:

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.

Emergency Funding

  • 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.

Emergency Funding

  • 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.

 

EMPLOYMENT & TRAINING:

Adult Education Online

  • Free Online Education for Adults in Ontario: Good Learning Anywhere offers online courses to help Ontario adults access job opportunities, develop life skills, and prepare for post-secondary: https://goodlearninganywhere.com/?cac=1587046833

Contact North

Temporary Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program

  • Employers who hire students via the Canada Summer Jobs Program will receive up to 100% of the provincial minimum hourly wage for each employee as a wage subsidy – this was previously 50%.
  • The end date for the Canada Summer Jobs Program has extended to February 28, 2021.

Supports for Students and Recent Graduates: 

  • The federal government is introducing the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities through volunteering, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
  • Creating up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

  • Interest free loans of up to $40,000 – loans paid back by December 31, 2022 to result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).

 

POLICY:

OHRC policy statement on COVID-19

The Ontario Human Rights Commission statement on COVID-19 with considerations specific to Indigenous communities and service provision.  

 

COMMUNITY PARTNERS:

Rotary Clubs 

  • Rotary Clubs are being encouraged to support Indigenous communities 

Supporting Vulnerable Seniors

  • The provincial government is investing $10 million to help community organisations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines, and other necessities to seniors.

 

POSTAL SERVICE:

 

Justice:

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

Correctional Service Updates on COVID-19:

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: https://www.legalaid.on.ca/news/covid-19-update-on-our-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

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.

Victim Services:

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

Human Trafficking:

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking’s National Hotline operates 24/7, please call 1-833-900-1010 or use the Hotline Web Chat:  https://www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca/chat/

 

EDUCATION RESOURCES:

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

Actua

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Resources at home (all ages)

TVO Math

  • TVO – Free 1-on-1 Online Math Tutoring with OCT Teachers (grades 6-10)

Prodigy Games

  • Fun resource for learning math (grade 1-8)

Math Knowledge Network

  • Indigenous Knowledge and Mathematics Community of Practice

Science World

  • Science World supports growing education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

Canada Learning Code

  • Lesson plans in coding (all ages)

Provincial Curriculum 

  • 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

Royal Ontario Museum 

  • Offering a series of online learning activities.

ARTS AND RECREATION: 

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

Colouring Books

  • Permission to use by artist Patrick Hunter

San Diego Zoo Butterfly Jungle

Kids National Geographic

  • Games, homework help resources, experiments, quizzes, and more.

Nomster Chef

  • Illustrated recipe picture books that get kid chefs excited about cooking

Storyline

  • Videos of adults reading stories for kids (high quality)

Mommypoppins

  • Fun and Educational Activities, Great database of high quality virtual events

Monterey Bay Aquarium Live Cameras

  • Including live feeds from their coral reef, moon jellies, sea otters, and penguins

Virtual Dives

  • An immersive 360° view of marine sanctuaries

Lunch Doodles with Mo Williams

  • 15 episodes focused on lunch doodling with Illustrator Mo Williams including downloadable activities.

Artists, Authors and Illustrators Online

  • List of artists and authors offering virtual readings, workshops, and fun activities.

Virtual Museum Tours

  • Virtual museum and art gallery tours

Art Gallery of Ontario

  • The Art Gallery of Ontario is offering a variety of their works online including sample exhibits and curated playlists.

Guggenheim Bilbao Museum

  • Offering weekly interviews, storytime for kids, and virtual tours of their collections.

Natural History Museum, London

  • Explore virtual tours of the galleries, an interactive experience about Hope the blue whale and audio guides.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

  • Provides virtual tours of all of the museum’s exhibits.

National Women’s History Museum, Virginia

  • Access museum exhibits online.

 

MEDIA:

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network – Kids

  • APTN Kids – Indigenous programming for children 

LibriVox

  • 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