Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Volunteer Ottawa, in concert with the City of Ottawa Human Services Task Force, Ottawa Public Health and United Way Eastern Ontario has established a pool of pre-screened volunteers and is accepting new applicants here. They have finalized a detailed plan focused on volunteer recruitment and deployment specific to those affected by COVID-19. This plan targets the following volunteer needs:
- Virtual Volunteering: Volunteering that can be performed without any contact, such as telephone outreach to vulnerable communities/individuals, information dissemination, etc.
- Light Touch Volunteering: Volunteering that can be performed with minimal contact, such as pickup and delivery services for vulnerable individuals, such as Meals on Wheels, food delivery, etc.
- High Touch Volunteering: Volunteering that must be performed with increased contact, such as passenger transportation to medical appointments, volunteer support to essential services’ workers, etc.
As part of that plan, they will work with the City of Ottawa Human Services Task Force, Ottawa Public Health and United Way to ensure proper screening and training protocols to safeguard the health of those volunteering and those they are assisting.
Our office will, however, continue to track interest in volunteer through the form below. We will also begin tracking those whose needs are going unmet through a survey here, and may directly connect volunteers with those in need should the need arise. We will be in touch when we have community support activities that need to be carried out. In the meantime, please see this list of organizations that could use your support now. Finally, remember to read Ottawa Public Health's memo on volunteering here.
Will you volunteer?
Please note this page is in the process of being updated. New info will posted soon to reflect changes in government supports
Various orders of government and community organizations have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources and supports that have resulted can be difficult to keep track of, so we have compiled a list here that we will update regularly. Residents can also dial 2-1-1 Help Line, which offers referrals to local community, social, government and health services. Find a list of resources for small businesses here.
Updates on Ottawa Public Health’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.
Some important highlights:
The City of Ottawa’s Human Needs Task Force: A Human Needs Task Force has been implemented as part of the City’s Emergency Management Plan and emergency response to COVID-19 to ensure that we are responsive to the emerging needs of the community. Check out their page for support and assistance. The task force is currently focused on service coordination for immediate, medium and long-term response associated with five emerging needs:
- Outreach to isolated seniors
- Food security
- Volunteer coordination
- Housing and homeless needs
Human Needs Task Force contact information:
English: [email protected]
French: [email protected]
Phone number: 613-580-2424 ext. 26753
Employment and Social Services: Financial assistance may be available to help people meet their basic living expenses. Where no other financial resources are available, emergency financial assistance may be provided during a crisis. It is generally for health-related items, such as:
- Personal care items
- Diabetic, surgical, incontinence and ostomy supplies
- Mobility devices
- Housing-related arrears
For Emergency financial assistance call 3-1-1 and press 4 for social services. Individuals are asked to not visit any Employment and Social Service centre location in person. All requests are to be completed over the phone. Staff will assess which programs residents are eligible for. Existing clients can also call or email their case workers. In addition, Ontario Works has a service available to clients called MyBenefits. It is an online tool that allows clients to report changes or get information about their Ontario Works case. Individuals who have applied for Employment Insurance but are waiting for their first payment can apply for Ontario Works Assistance.
OCTranspo has asked that all passengers wear a mask at all times while onboard OCTranspo vehicles. They have also resumed the collection of cash fares, and increased sanitation measures. Transit riders with a Presto Card can change their auto-renew settings at www.prestocard.ca.
- Food Security: Several community partners – including the Ottawa Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, Montfort Renaissance and the Champlain Community Support Network of more than 20 local non-profit agencies – are working to deliver food hampers, hot meals and groceries to seniors and other at-risk residents across Ottawa, including in rural areas. By working with community partners to reach out to rural communities, the City is ensuring all residents have access to food. Anyone who needs food can contact any of these agencies through 2-1-1 or contact these services directly:
Starting February 23rd 2021 customers will return to the RPP prices set in December. Hydro Ottawa has taken several steps in order to help customers during this difficult time, including:
- Offering flexible payment plans in order to provide customers with more time to pay outstanding balances on their account if needed. Customers seeking financial assistance programs, including emergency relief, can find information on the Hydro Ottawa website.
- Ottawa Community Housing: Concerned about a neighbour in your OCH building? OCH is providing wellness checks. Phone contact: 613-731-1182. Ottawa Community Housing’s full response to COVID-19 can be monitored here.
- Households and landlords will get housing allowances and rent supplements one week early to assist with cash flow.
- There will be no evictions from social housing during this time.
- City staff have reached out to hotels and motels that provide temporary emergency accommodation to provide Ottawa Public Health resources for hotel management, staff and clients. Staff are providing ongoing communications to clients at the hotels.
- Ottawa Inner City Health is taking an active role in the shelter system and has a mobile assessment van in operation to visit the shelters on rotation, in addition to having a nurse on call for evenings and weekends.
- If you are at risk of housing loss due to shelter arrears, call your Ontario Works/ ODSP Caseworker OR call 311 and press 4 for social services and follow the instructions.
- Online Resources: The City of Ottawa’s Human Needs Task Force and Ottawa Public Health have prepared this document with information on Financial Resources, Community Resources, Mental Health Resources, and Online Educational Supports.
The City has compiled a list of services and facilities impacted by COVID-19 here.
The provincial government has announced several measures to help residents deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Get the most up to date information on the province’s response to the crisis here. Here are some of the highlights:
Education and Childcare:
Support for families: While schools and child care centres are closed, parents can apply for direct 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
This funding can help parents with the costs of work books, educational apps, educational subscription services, movies and other tools to support learning at home.
The state of emergency declaration for Ontario required all licensed childcare centres to be closed. The government has since announced that certain centres will be allowed to re-open for the purpose of providing childcare for essential service workers.
Provision of emergency childcare options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.
To assist parents, the province has launched a Learn At Home portal with resources.
- Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students. The details can be found here.
- Support for families: While schools and child care centres are closed, parents can apply for direct 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:
Social Service Funding:
- The government announced a $200 million fund for social services relief that will be directed towards agencies serving vulnerable Ontarians as well as individuals who do not qualify for emergency federal support, to be administered through Ontario Works. Individuals can apply for this at www.ontario.ca/community.
- It is also providing additional supports of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.
- DriveTest, and expiring Licenses / Health Cards: Ontario has closed DriveTest Centres and has introduced measures to ensure Ontarians will not be penalized as a result of this. Read more about that here. They have also extended the validation period of drivers’ licenses, health cards and more.
- Health Care: Ontario is waiving the three-month waiting period for OHIP coverage and has announced the province will cover the cost of COVID-19 services for people without health insurance or OHIP coverage.
- Seniors: The government is proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months. Details can be found here.
- Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21.
- Further supporting more affordable electricity bills by setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.
- Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Federal government is also responding to COVID-19 and has announced several measures to help residents deal with the crisis. Get the most up to date information on the federal government’s response to the crisis here. A Carleton University Professor, Jennifer Robson, has created a document with straightforward instructions on how to apply for things like Employment Insurance, Caregiver Benefits, rent subsidies and others that you can find here. Here are some of the highlights:
- Canada Child Benefit: The government is providing an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May. Those who already receive the Canada Child Benefit do not need to re-apply. Apply for the Canada Child Benefit here.
- Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment: The government is providing a one-time special payment by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.
- Employment Insurance: If you were recently laid off or have reduced hours and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request here. The federal government is waiving the one-week waiting period for individuals in imposed quarantine that claim EI sickness benefits and is waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access sickness benefits.
Long-Term Income Support for Workers: For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of the impacts of the pandemic, the government is:
- Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
- Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.
- Housing and Homelessness: To support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak the government is providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative. The funding could be used for a range of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelter. Learn more here.
- Indigenous Community Support Fund: The government will provide $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities. Learn more here.
- Support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres: The government is supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
Support for seniors:
- Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds. The government is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020. Learn more here.
- The government is also contributing $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports. Ottawa's local United Way can be contacted here.
- Support for students and recent graduates: A moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans. Effective March 30, the government is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required, and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause. Learn more about the moratorium on the repayment here.
National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign: The Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments to respond to COVID-19. They are seeking volunteers to help in the following areas:
1. Case tracking and contact tracing;
2. Health system surge capacity;
3. Case data collection and reporting.
They are building an inventory of volunteers from which provincial and territorial governments can draw upon as needed. They welcome ALL volunteers as they are looking for a wide variety of experiences and expertise. Visit here for more information.
Various non-governmental organizations and community groups are responding to the COVID-19 crisis by providing various new or enhanced resources and services. Here is a short list:
Resources for Seniors:
- Seniors Centre Without Walls (SCWW): Through the use of multi-person phone calls, SCWW provides the opportunity for participants to join in on health and wellness seminars, educational lectures, brain-stimulating activities, listen to live musical entertainment, join in on general conversations, and make new and meaningful friendships – all from the comfort of home! Call 613-236-0428.
Chatting to Wellness is hosting free Chatting Sessions for seniors to combat loneliness and isolation. Local university students are available by phone every weekday evening between 6pm – 9pm EST to chat with seniors for 45 minutes at a time. Sign up by visiting www.chattingtowellness.ca/phonechats.
Resources for Mental Health:
- Mental Health Crisis Line: If you are experiencing a mental health crisis yourself, or you know someone who is, please phone the 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line: 613-722-6914. Visit https://crisisline.ca/ for more information.
- Youth Services Bureau 24/7 Crisis Line: 613-260-2360 (or chat online).
- The Canadian Association for Mental Health also offers some great tips on coping with stress and anxiety about COVID-19. Their fact sheet on talking to children about COVID-19 is a great resource for families.
The Walk-in Counselling Clinic offers single-session counselling free of charge, only by trained mental health professionals (Social Workers, Registered Psychotherapist, Psychologists). There are no waiting lists, and no referrals are necessary. Counselling sessions are offered in English, French, Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish and Somali. Call 613-755-2277 or find more information at www.walkincounselling.com.
Community Legal Services of Ottawa has been operating full-time during the pandemic. Our offices are closed for in-person visits but our legal clinic staff members continue to work remotely. Residents of Ottawa can call any of our offices for assistance: Downtown Office: 613-241-7008; West Office: 613-596-1641; South Office: 613-733-0140. For more information about our legal clinic’s services, click here. For legal information factsheets about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and other government benefits, click here to visit the Connecting Ottawa website.
Steps to Justice, updated daily, gives answers to more than 80 legal questions, including questions about emergency benefits assistance, Employment Insurance, being evicted for non-payment of rent, and what to do about urgent family law problems with the courts.
You can find the legal information you need at https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19.
Pro Bono Ontario is still providing free legal assistance to low-income Ontarians for their everyday legal problems. They have pivoted all operations to the Free Legal Advice Hotline and have started developing specialized resources to help answer legal questions related to COVID-19 shut-downs. The Hotline is a safe, convenient way for Ontarians to get help with:
- Employment issues
- Housing issues
- Consumer debt and protection problems
- Corporate law for small businesses and non-profits
- Powers of Attorney &
- Civil litigation*
Dial 1-855-255-7256. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 9:30 am – 11:30 am and 1:00 – 3:30 pm. *PBO does not assist with criminal, family, immigration or estate administration issues.
Resources for Workers:
- The Workers Rights Action Project in Ottawa has launched a new Ottawa Workers Hotline: A hotline for Ottawa workers looking for information and support. Problems at work? Questions about your rights? Are you worried about health and safety or income support because of COVID-19? Call them at 613-981-3606. The hotline is open Mondays and Thursdays 6-9pm. Text or WhatsApp or leave a voicemail, they will respond to you during these hours. All calls are free and confidential. E-mail: [email protected]. They are offering support in English, French, Spanish, Punjabi, Somali and Tagalog.
- Ottawa Public Health has published a letter that employees can offer to employers in lieu of a sick note.
Resources for Tenants:
- Ottawa, Keep Your Rent, a coalition of tenants, are, amongst other things, currently offering organizing resources to tenants who want to organize in their building to collectively withhold rent payments. Contact them at [email protected] or at 343-883-5608.
- Ottawa Laundromats: Our colleagues in Jeff Leiper's office have put together a map of laundromats that are still open during the pandemic.
Ottawa ACORN, a community union of low-income tenants, has established the ACORN Support Network in response to COVID-19 which:
- Engages with people on a regular basis
- Gives up to date info on unfolding crisis
- Connects people with services available in their community
- Gets folks active in ACORN COVID-19 Campaigns
- Hosts digital literacy workshops so they can be connected to family and friends
Get in touch with ACORN through email: [email protected], or by phone: 613-746-5999
Our office has also compiled a list of local organizations that could use support or are advocating for a more robust response from governments, which can be found here. We are also tracking interest in volunteering here.
If your needs at this time are not adequately met by any of the resources below, let us know here, and we will try to connect you with local volunteers or other supports that may be able to help you.
With the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa, many residents are looking for accurate, up-to-date information on what they should be doing and how the city is responding. With new information coming out multiple times a day, it can be difficult to keep up. We have created this web page to give you the essential key messages during this pandemic, and direct you to where you need to go to get further information.
You can stay up-to-date the novel coronavirus and how Ottawa is handling it by visiting Ottawa Public Health’s website.
What Should You Do?
If you have respiratory symptoms (such as fever, cough), please follow these directives:
- You must self-isolate for 14 days from when your symptoms started, or until 24 hours after symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer.
- You must not leave your home if you have respiratory symptoms. Call your doctor or TeleHealth at 1-866-797-0000 if you have questions.
- If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department.
- If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, a self assessment tool is available to help determine how to seek further care.
For individuals who are returning from travel, by federal law, you must immediately self-isolate for 14 days.
- The federal Minister of Health announced an Emergency Order requiring any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.
- This also means not stopping at the grocery store or the pharmacy on the way home from the airport or the border.
- If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour do the shopping for you and leave items at the door.
- If you have respiratory symptoms, follow the guidance in the section above.
For all residents (except those listed above)
- Practice physical (social) distancing—avoid all non-essential trips in the community.
- Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick, or have returned from travel within the past 14 days.
- Ensure that you're wearing a mask whenever physical distancing is not possible and when going on essential trips.
- Cancel all group gatherings, including group/team play on sports fields.
- Connect via phone, video chat, or social media instead of in-person.
- Talk to your employer about working from home (if possible).
- Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
- Keep windows down for essential community trips via taxi or rideshares.
And some special reminders for parents with children, as well as all of us as we practice physical (social) distancing:
You can go outside. It’s healthy. You can still take a walk, play with your dog outside, or kick a ball with members of your household who are already close contacts.
When outside, maintain a two-metre distance. Avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step-aside, mask up, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks.
Need Financial Support?
We have compiled a list of financial resources and support services offered by all three levels of government. You can access it here.
Looking to Volunteer?
If you would like to find ways to help out in your community, we are compiling a list of volunteers, which we will then share with the organizations in the city looking for help. You can sign up here.
On April 1 2020, it was announced that the Province of Quebec would be shutting its borders for all non-essential travel between Quebec and Ontario. This has acute implications for the city's of Ottawa and Gatineau, and many residents on both sides of the river are worried about what this means.
The full implications of this travel ban are not yet known. We understand that those working in essential services will be allowed to cross, as will parents on either side of the river who share custody of their children. We will keep this updated as we learn more.
In addition, travel times across the inter-provincial will greatly increase as Quebec police officers set up checkpoints.
The Quebec Government announced that as of Saturday, January 9, 2021, a curfew will be in effect between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Quebecers cannot leave their houses during this time unless for essential reasons. To find out what is considered an essential reason to leave home during this time, and the fines associated with breaking curfew, click here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Update
Information on the City's vaccination distribution plan is available here
February 24 Vaccine Update is here
Ottawa Provincial Public Health Status
On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, Ottawa moved back to the Orange-Restrict zone of the province's COVID-19 response framework.
Please note this page is in the process of being updated. New info will posted soon to reflect changes in government supports
- The City has prepared a support resource page on Ottawa.ca to provide information to businesses and workers on all supports, from various levels of government available to them. For a full list of government-offered relief options, please visit COVID-19 Support for Businesses and Workers.
- Our office has set up a Buy Local resource page, directing residents to websites and information that can help them to continue supporting our local small businesses. Our office is also highlighting individual local businesses in the Ward in all of our e-mail bulletins moving forward, to bolster support for them during this difficult time.
- In the months ahead, the gradual easing of pandemic restrictions will bring new challenges for our community and for our businesses. For example, when our local shops start to re-open, it likely won’t be business as usual, but your ideas can help our economy bounce back while keeping people safe. The Innovation Pilot Program - Recovery Stream is seeking innovative project ideas to support public health efforts or stimulate economic recovery. We are accepting proposals in many sectors, including health, tourism, festivals and events, restaurants, retail, construction, transportation, and food supply. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to test and quickly deploy their technology innovations in real-life testing environments with the City or one of its economic development partners. The program provides companies with valuable feedback on their innovations prior to scaling and production.
As Ontario begins to reopen the economy, the city is encouraging all Ottawa businesses and organizations to ensure they are prepared to go back to work safely. Members of the Ottawa business community can access the Business Reopening Toolkit online. It provides guidance on preparing your workplace, employees and operations to resume while ensuring physical distancing, and also provides links to official resources such as public health signage, sector-specific guidelines and government financial assistance programs.
- The Federal Government has recently launched the Canada Emergency Business Account to support small and medium-sized businesses during this unprecedented time of crisis. Small business owners can apply for support through their banks and credit unions, wherever they have a pre-existing relationship. Eligible small business and non-profit organizations can get interest-free loans of up to $40,000. If the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, 25% of it will be forgiven, up to $10,000. These loans are fully funded by the Government of Canada. Further details and information are available from the Department of Finance Canada by phone at 613-369-3710 or by e-mail at [email protected], or by visiting the Canada Emergency Business Account webpage on Canada.ca.
If you are a Canadian employer and your business has lost revenue because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The CEWS provides up to 75% of employee wages for struggling businesses, retroactive to March 15, 2020.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a detrimental impact on small local businesses, while many of their large corporate competitors have seen an increase in sales (e.g. Amazon and other corporations that offer well-known delivery services). Making an effort to buy local during this pandemic, then, not only protects many beloved small businesses in Ottawa, it also helps stem growing economic inequality that results when consumption increasingly favours large corporations over local small businesses.
In an effort to support local businesses, Ottawa has initiated a buy local campaign that encourages residents to support their favourite small businesses by taking immediate and concrete steps now:
- Buy from local businesses online.
- Purchase gift cards from local businesses to use later.
- Order delivery or takeout from area restaurants.
- Send local businesses messages of support on social media.
These actions will help local shops, restaurants and services by providing them with critical income during this challenging period. The campaign website is ottawa.ca/buylocal. There, residents will find links to sites listing businesses serving customers virtually or providing takeout and meal delivery.
- If you want to help support our business community in the ward click on the following lists to find businesses that are doing delivery orders or selling gift certificates:
Ottawa Farmers’ Market Association
Unfortunately, we can't enjoy our local farmers' markets the way we did before the pandemic. The Ottawa Farmers' Market Association, however, has published a list of vendors that residents can still order from!:
- adambakes.com | Online Store
All About the Soup
- allaboutthesoup.com | Online store
- Almanacgrain.ca | Online store
- backyardedibles.ca | In stores, online coming soon
Burrell Farm- Beans and hot sauce
- [email protected] | $50 minimum orders
- farmgatecider.ca | Online store
Haico's Hot Sauce
- Haicoshotsauce.com | Online store
Kelly's Gourmet Mushrooms
- thefungiconnection.com | Kingston only
- merrifieldfarms.ca | Website
Needhams Market Garden (wine only for now)
- www.needhamsmarketgarden.com | Online store
Pascales Ice Cream
- pascalesicecream.com | Online store
- poppabean.ca | Online store, local delivery
The Great British Pastry and Pie co.
- 613-222-5121 | $75 minimum orders
- [email protected] | Local delivery